Profar Injured: Does Odor Or Sardinas Receive A Shot?
With Jurickson Profar injured, the Rangers find themselves in need of second base help with just days left to opening day. In recent years, Texas has been aggressive in the trade market, dealing infielders including Leury Garcia and Ian Kinsler to fill holes at other positions. The organization is a factory for middle infielders and boasts a pair of top-100 prospects in Rougned Odor and Luis Sardinas. With journeyman Adam Rosales listed as the primary backup at second base, third base and shortstop, will the Rangers leverage minor league talent to secure an upgrade from outside the organization? Or, will they promote from within?
Luis Sardinas, SS
Already on the 40-man, promoting Sardinas would not require waiving a player to free up a spot. On a perennial contender with a deep minor league system, the Rangers have few assets who’d pass through waivers unclaimed.
In 2012, a trip to Greenville resulted in a multi-game look at Sardinas, but Odor was a DNP in both games. On the field, he’s an above average-to-plus defender at shortstop meaning Sardinas should handle the transition to second base with ease. ZIPS and Oliver projections have Sardinas as a one-win player with everyday plate appearances. His speed is also an asset, so inserting Sardinas into the nine hole would be the equivalent of a second lead off hitter with Profar injured.
Sardinas’ bat is in question as projections have him producing at 30% below MLB average. A late season promotion to Double-A yielded a .259/.286/.311 triple slash line with a 2.8% walk rate. This spring, Sardinas’ OPS is .600. Overexposure to MLB pitching may damage his future trade value and leave him a utility man in the eyes of other organizations. Just 20, Sardinas has the hit tool and frame to suggest his hit tool will continue to develop, resulting in gap power. With hitting having a strong mental component, would moving Sardinas too quickly stunt his offensive growth?
Rougned Odor, 2B
Odor is a pure hitter who has succeeded against any and all competition. His combined .305/.365/.474 line in High-A and Double-A in 2013 is considered a breakout campaign by many, and his slugging percentage surged after being promoted. This spring, his OPS is .721 in limited playing time. ZIPS and Oliver projections have Odor producing at 15% below league average offensively with double-digit home runs and enough speed to push 20 steals. His WAR projections vary due to defense with ZIPS projecting 0.9 wins and Oliver projecting 2.0 wins.
A natural second baseman, Odor would have no learning curve at the position. Eventually, Sardinas’ defensive tools would allow him to become a plus-plus defender at the keystone, but Odor’s experience gives him an edge today with Profar injured.
An Odor promotion has 40-man roster implications. As of today, the Rangers have a full roster with two additional players stashed due to injury. Adding Odor means waiving somebody else. If that player is claimed, the end result leaves the organization weaker on the whole. Admittedly, Profar can be placed on the 60-day disabled list opening up a spot without losing a player, but the end result is still a 40-man cut in two-to-three months as players can’t be added and removed at will.
As a defender, Odor is capable of handling second base, but the profile is offense first. If the bat isn’t there immediately, then what’s the point of having him in the show? Worst case scenario, Odor begins the year in Texas, bombs, and the Rangers are left with Odor taking up a 40-man spot and a player lost to waivers.
Who Steps Up With Profar Injured?
Discussing Luis Sardinas and Rougned Odor as temporary heirs to the Jurickson Profar throne is a fun, but potentially fruitless endeavor. With Adam Rosales and Andy Parrino in the fold, the Rangers may decide to roll with a gaping hole at second base. After all, the 2013 division winning Oakland Athletics will limp into the regular season with a thin rotation after losing Jarrod Parker to Tommy John and A.J. Griffin for several weeks.
It’s also possible the Rangers look to add second base help from outside the organization via trade. With Miles Mikolas, Roman Mendez, Wilmer Font and Shawn Tolleson on the 40-man, the Rangers have four minor league arms whom I’ve clocked at 94-plus. Maybe that depth can be leveraged for an upgrade?
If forced to find a replacement from within, Luis Sardinas would be the choice. With a place on the 40-man, plus defensive profile and speed, he’s the perfect high floor option to weather this storm. Bat him ninth and let the glove save runs. This way, Rosales remains a utility player and Parrino provides depth at the Triple-A level should he remain in the organization. Plus, leaving Odor and Parrino off the 40-man protects another player already in the organization. With Profar injured, it’s the best way for the Rangers to move forward.
24 Mar 2014 / Mike Newman / 2
Categories: MLB Analysis
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