It turned out to be a mostly unforgettable season. But there were some special moments.
This is the first in a series of the Top Ten moments in 2017 Texas Rangers baseball.
TOP TEN MOMENT #10: Rougned Odor hits two home runs on opening day.
It was great while it lasted. For about five innings on opening day, it looked like the Rangers having the best record in the American League in 2016 might carry over into 2017.
The Rangers took a 5-1 lead after three innings against the American League champion Cleveland Indians. Yu Darvish was on the mound. Things looked promising.
So much so that on the seventh pitch that Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor saw in the 2017 season, he hit a home run to put the Rangers up 1-0.
Beginning his fourth big league season at the ripe age of 23, coming off a season in which he hit 33 home runs and drove in 88, and coming off an off-season in which he was gifted a nice contract extension that included two prize racing horses, Odor seemed ready to take his game to the All-Star level.
That he started off his season with a home run in his first at-bat off Indians ace Corey Kluber was just signing the paperwork.
The next time Odor faced Kluber, he didn’t wait. On the very first pitch to Odor in the bottom of the third, with two on and one out, Rougned Odor homered again. Putting the Rangers up 5-1.
Two at-bats. Two home runs. Four RBIs. 2017 was going to be the year of Rougned Odor.
“First night out, pretty impressive,” manager Jeff Banister said. “I don’t think we have to worry about Rougie. He is turning into a star player before our own eyes.”
Unfortunately for Rougie, the rest of the season happened. From that point on, he would have one of the worst offensive seasons in baseball.
How horrible was Rougned Odor in 2017?
About all he did on the asset side of the ledger was hit 30 home runs. But in a season which shattered the record for home runs, 30 home runs in 2017 wasn’t all that special. In fact, 33 other players had more home runs than Odor. And six had 30.
Home runs were cheap. Odor’s 30 home runs were like having a million pesos. Sounds like a lot, but the exchange rate is about five dollars.
Along with that home run total came embarrassing numbers everywhere else: Odor batted .204, ending up with the 143rd worst average among 144 qualifying players. Ironically, only Jose Bautista was worse, at .203. Seems Odor beat Bautista once again.
In the 114 years of major league history, only one other player ever to hit 30 or more home runs had a worse batting average than Odor’s .204. That was Mark Reynolds in 2010, who that year hit .198.
Odor ended the season with a .252 on-base percentage. Worst of all qualifiers. Fifty-seven pitchers ended the season with a higher OBP than Odor. A goat holding a bat in its mouth would have a better chance to get on base than Odor.
In the 144-year history of MLB, no player with 30 home runs or more had a lower on-base percentage. Ever. Dave Kingman was next worse, with a .285 OBP in 1982.
And in the quintessential stat that defines offensive performance, OPS (on-base plus slugging), Rougned Odor ended the year at .649. Surprisingly not the worst in the league.
But in the 114 years of major league baseball, nobody with 30 or more home runs had a worse OPS than Odor’s .649 this season. The next worse was that Dave Kingman year of 1982, when his OPS was, by comparison, gaudy at .717.
Odor was all-time horrible.
The one statistic that anyone can use to defend Odor was that he hit 30 home runs. Yet, historically, he had the worst 30-home run season of all time.
This bad: 24 percent of the 124 hits he accumulated this year were home runs. And 53 of the 75 runs he drove in this year came from those 30 home run at-bats. Which means, taking away his home runs, Rougned Odor would have batted .163 with 22 RBIs.
Read that again. In 577 at-bats, Rougned Odor drove in just 22 runs.
When he didn’t homer, he was worthless.
Yet, Rangers manager Jeff Banister insisted that Odor play every game. And, well past the middle of the season, he insisted on batting Odor in the critical fifth spot in the lineup.
All because he hit two opening day home runs.