With Major League Baseball getting underway this week, we know that the Minor League Baseball season can’t be far behind. Your very own Frisco RoughRiders kick off their 2014 season this Thursday night at Dr. Pepper Ballpark, and this year they are loaded with some of the Texas Rangers‘ top prospects.
Player Spotlight(s): 2B Rougned Odor and RHP Matt West
The Texas Rangers have been ravaged with injuries over the final few weeks of Spring Training. If there is an unseen benefit to losing a player to surgery, it’s that it creates an opportunity for someone else to fill those shoes.
Current Frisco RoughRiders, 2B Rougned Odor and RHP Matt West are two key prospects high on the Rangers’ radar, and just a phone call and short commute from making the jump to the big leagues.
Matt West was originally drafted by the Texas Rangers in the second round of the 2007 MLB Draft. At the time, he was a power hitting third base prospect with an exceptionally strong-arm out of Houston’s Bellaire High School. The power potential was there from the start—as was his plus arm—but West’s swing-from-the-heels approach yielded poor contact and tons of strikeouts.
Prior to the 2011 season, West switched from position player to full-time relief pitcher. The results were staggering. He used his mid-90s fastball and pinpoint control to average 11.7 K/9 while walking just one batter over 27 innings in 2011.
It appeared as though West was on the fast track to the big leagues, but injuries, followed by Tommy John surgery, wiped out most of 2012 and 2013 seasons. Although his fastball velocity hasn’t fully recovered post-surgery, he is still missing bats and may be in the Rangers’ bullpen sooner rather than later.
Rougned Odor (pronounced ROOG-ned o-DOOR), a native of Puerto Rico, has languished in the shadows of uber-prospect Jurickson Profar. However, with Profar’s recent shoulder injury, you have to wonder how long Odor will remain in Double-A. Ranked by Baseball Prospectus as the 39th prospect in all of baseball, Odor is a natural second baseman with plus speed and an excellent glove.
Last season Odor, at just 19 years of age, absolutely raked, putting up a .303/.362/.472 slash line with 11 HRs, 78 RBI and 31 stolen bases. After starting 2013 in High-A Myrtle Beach, Odor was promoted to the Frisco RoughRiders and didn’t miss a beat, actually hitting for a higher batting average and more power in Double-A than in High-A—which is one impressive feat.
Upcoming Frisco RoughRiders Games
The 2014 RoughRiders season is here. This Thursday, April 3rd, at Frisco’s Dr. Pepper Ballpark, the Northwest Arkansas Naturals come to town for MiLB’s Opening Day. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM, and you can purchase tickets online or at the box office. Be sure to buy your tickets quickly, as this is sure to be a sellout.