The 2014 season didn't go as planned for Texas Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor, and that's in a good way.
The 20-year-old wasn't supposed to sniff anywhere near Arlington in 2014, but instead was planning on marinating for another year in the Rangers' minor league system, probably most of all at Double-A Frisco.
Injuries and ineffectiveness led to the Rangers turning to Odor far sooner than anyone expected, and the results were better than anyone could've expected. Sure, was Odor's .259 batting average spectacular? Absolutely not, but for a 20-year-old still learning the game, it was a nice surprise. So were his 30 extra-base hits, which included seven triples and nine homers. He did strike out way too much and walk far too little, which he's hoping to help remedy some this winter by playing in the Dominican winter league.
Not only is he playing winter ball, he's owning it, so far.
The second baseman will turn 21 just before spring training begins and figures to be the leading candidate for the starting job ahead of fellow prospect Jurickson Profar, who missed all of 2014 with injury. He's showing in winter ball that he'll be up for the fight.
Odor is batting .361 in his first 24 at-bats and turned in his third straight multi-hit game on Thursday night. If he can keep up even somewhat on that pace, it'll make for an interesting spring training.