Gil LeBreton

Rangers prospects come and go, but Odor always hits pay dirt

Rougned Odor on key double play and five-run fifth

Rougned Odor started an inning-ending double play with a nifty flip in the hole in the eighth and had a two-run double in the sixth as the Rangers beat the Orioles 6-3 (Video by Stefan Stevenson/Star-Telegram).
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Rougned Odor started an inning-ending double play with a nifty flip in the hole in the eighth and had a two-run double in the sixth as the Rangers beat the Orioles 6-3 (Video by Stefan Stevenson/Star-Telegram).

If the last 10 years have taught the Texas Rangers anything, it’s that prospects come and prospects go.

Some arrive with a bang. Rookie Nomar Mazara’s first game was worthy enough to get its own commemorative baseball card.

Some leave with a whimper.

Baltimore’s Chris Davis was quietly traded from the Rangers organization in 2011, when the team gave up on him after 28 games.

The front office preferred his competition, Mitch Moreland.

In a little more than four full seasons, Davis has since hit 165 homers.

Prospects come and prospects go.

Whenever the Orioles arrive in town, it’s easy to second-guess the hasty decision to pull the plug on Davis.

165 Homers that Chris Davis has hit for the Orioles since being traded by the Rangers on July 30, 2011

The Rangers had the consensus No. 1 prospect in baseball, second baseman Jurickson Profar, just four seasons ago. Now Profar, his splash delayed by injuries, is a shortstop, because the Rangers have found another second baseman in Rougned Odor.

No, the Rangers are not the darlings of baseball. Not yet.

The Chicago Cubs have staked the early claim on that title and all the April fascination that goes with it.

The Rangers, in the meantime, are going to be an acquired taste, it seems.

Good pitching. Sporadically efficient hitting. And the occasional cameo home run.

But night after night, it’s going to be fun to watch Odor, who had two more doubles and drove in two runs in Thursday night’s 6-3 victory over the Orioles.

The book on the Rangers so far: Good pitching. Sporadically efficient hitting. And the occasional cameo home run.

As he often does, too, Odor contributed the defensive play of the night, turning Matt Wieters’ grounder in the eighth into an inning-ending double play with a blind, over-the-shoulder flip to shortstop Elvis Andrus.

Manager Jeff Banister’s lineup has been inconsistent through the first 11 games of the season. There are key people who have yet to hit a lick — Moreland and newcomer Ian Desmond among them.

But the lineup is built for scratching, as Thursday’s sixth inning showed. Baltimore’s Chris Tillman had a 3-1 lead and had scattered four hits before Mazara started the Texas sixth with a double.

Mitch Moreland’s run-scoring double was an opposite-field bloop. Moreland was kept by the Rangers; Chris Davis and Nelson Cruz were not.

As has become their custom, the Rangers didn’t rattle the fence or make the bullpen run for cover. Moreland’s run-scoring double was an opposite-field bloop down the left-field line. Desmond’s RBI single was gloved between the mound and first base.

And then Odor, the one with the perpetually dirty uniform, doubled in his two runs and the Rangers were ahead to stay.

Playing at Round Rock, Profar remains a highly valued prospect. Don’t let yourself think otherwise. All he has to do is hit Triple-A pitching and remain healthy, and his value will be restored.

He can forget about second base, though. Odor has his dirty hands all over it, with no signs of giving it up.

The club’s infatuation with Moreland, meanwhile, factored into the decision to trade Davis, as well as the eventual decision not to retain Nelson Cruz.

And how did those decisions turn out?

Prospects come and prospects go.

When the Orioles come to town, Chris Davis always reminds me of that.

As does Rougned Odor, the Ranger with the dirty uniform.

Left-hander Cole Hamels allowed three runs in 5 1/3 innings and said that the defense behind him helped keep the Rangers in a game they eventually won 6-3 (video by Jeff Wilson).

Left fielder Ian Desmond had an infield hit for an RBI in the Rangers' five-run fifth Thursday, but saw other more encouraging signs that he is about to break out of his season-opening slump (video by Jeff Wilson).

Yu Darvish threw to hitters for the first time on Wednesday. He spoke to reporters for the first time since spring training before Thursday (Video by Stefan Stevenson/Star-Telegram).

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