Trades the past four seasons have left the Texas Rangers’ minor league cupboard without some pieces they would love to have back in a season that has been marked by the worst run on injuries in franchise history.
Mike Olt, who could provide pop at the infield corners, comes to mind. So do right-handers Tanner Roark, Justin Grimm and Kyle Hendricks.
But the cupboard wasn’t left completely bare.
Look past Triple A Round Rock, where the prospects can be counted on one hand. Double A Frisco is where the next wave resides.
There, and, thanks to all those injuries, Comerica Park.
Rookies Rougned Odor and Nick Martinez were the stars Saturday in a 12-2 victory over Detroit in a game that felt as close to perfect as the beleaguered Rangers can currently muster.
“Everyone played great,” Martinez said. “The offense came out and really attacked the starting pitcher, and we played great defense. It was just a great all-around game.”
Credit Martinez with another strike on his description of the victory.
Odor, called up from Double A earlier this month, went 4 for 5 with two triples, a double and five RBIs, and Martinez, with the Rangers for all but two weeks in April, allowed one run in six innings for his first career win.
The hits and RBIs were career highs for Odor.
Adrian Beltre and Donnie Murphy collected homers as the Rangers tallied a season-high 19 hits, and every player who recorded an at-bat collected at least one hit. The bottom three in the order — Leonys Martin, Murphy and Odor — went 8 for 12 with eight RBIs and six runs.
“They were outstanding,” manager Ron Washington said.
Other teams tried to pry away Odor, who entered the season as the Rangers’ top prospect, and Martinez last summer at the trade deadline. Jurickson Profar, whose injury allowed Odor to make his major league debut, was the only position player sought after more than Odor, and Martinez’s availability ranked behind C.J. Edwards and Luke Jackson.
The Rangers are thrilled to have kept them, along with another Double A call-up, infielder Luis Sardinas. More are closing in on big-league service time.
“There’s a lot of great players down there that are just scratching at the door,” Martinez said.
The Rangers hope they can stay away from Jackson, though the right-hander is probably only a couple of injuries away from his big-league debut. Hitters like third baseman Joey Gallo, catcher Jorge Alfaro and outfielder Nick Williams, all at Class A Myrtle Beach, still need more work before they should come up.
Odor and Martinez, though, have shown polish and confidence in their first big-league seasons. As Washington likes to say, they aren’t scared.
Odor made some history with his triples, the first of his career. He became the first player in Rangers history with two triples and at least two RBIs in the same game and is the first 20-year-old since Alan Trammel in 1978 with two triples in a game.
Odor posted the gaudy numbers, but Washington said the road to the Rangers’ third victory in four games started with Martinez. The right-hander showed poise as he found a way to escape two tight spots in the fifth and sixth innings to give the Rangers a chance to pull away.
The Tigers took a 1-0 lead in the second on a two-out double by Rajai Davis, but the Rangers struck for four two-out runs in the fourth. Odor provided the final two with a liner that rattled around in the right-field corner.
Beltre added his fifth homer of the season in the fifth, a towering two-out shot down the left-field line.
By that time, Martinez had recorded seven straight outs. But his biggest out came with two outs in the fifth with runners at first and second. Martinez threw three straight balls to Torii Hunter but got the veteran to bounce into an inning-ending forceout with Miguel Cabrera waiting on deck.
“ ‘Don’t walk him’ is what I was thinking,” Martinez said.
Martinez (1-1) pulled another escape act in the sixth after the Tigers collected three straight singles to left to load the bases with one out. Nick Castellanos followed with another liner, but Odor caught it and flipped to first for an inning-ending double play that kept the Rangers out front 8-1.
Odor tacked on a bases-loaded triple in the seventh and added a double and a run scored in the ninth.
“It’s obvious what Odor did,” Washington said. “The kid swung the bat well today. He didn’t miss his pitches, and he played great defense.”
In a perfect world, Odor and Martinez would be at Double A Frisco. Circumstances have dictated otherwise, and the Rangers’ next wave of prospects has started to arrive.