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Trio Of Youngsters Helping Propel The Rangers To First Place In The American League

Keith Allison / Creative Commons
Second baseman Rougned Odor tries to turn a double play against the Baltimore Orioles.

The Texas Rangers are on fire. They’ve won six-of-their-last-seven games, and they’ve got the second best record in Major League Baseball. The fuel for that fire, is a trio of precocious kids.  

In three-of-the-last-four years, the Rangers have had the youngest player in the American League. First came JuricksonProfar who’s just back after two years off for an injury.

Then came Rougned Odor, who’s punched his way into the hearts of Rangers fans. And this year, it’s 21-year-old NomarMazara.

Waiting in a ballpark concession stand, Oscar Munoz likes what he sees.

“They’re one of the reasons why I think we’re in first place right now,” Munoz says. “Because they’re pretty much producing a bunch and it’s helping out a lot. Since they’re young I think we have a bright future, so it’s pretty fun knowing we’re going to have a pretty good future hopefully.”

Since being called up in April, Mazara’s been a revelation. He’s won back-to-back Rookie of the Month awards. No wonder his nickname is “The Big Chill.”

Mazara’s tied for the most home runs on the team (10), and he’s No. 2  in batting average.

It’s not hard for Oscar Munoz to pick his favorite player.

“Probably Mazara because, man, he’s just a great hitter so far,” Munoz gushes. “Nothing has slowed him down.”

At second base, Odor has almost earned cult status for his fiery play, and his dust up with Toronto’s Jose Bautista.

April Self loves every minute of it. She’s even sporting a t-shirt that says, “The Punch.”

“It’s Rougned Odor punching Jose Bautista,” Self says describing her shirt.

Self says Odor was just standing up for his team.

“Because Bautista deserved it,” she adds. “The bat flip and sliding into Rougie. He plays all out.”

“The punch” earned Odor a seven-game suspension, and opened the door for the third member of this trio.

For years, Profar was known as the best prospect in baseball. Then came the shoulder injury; this is the first year he’s been healthy since 2013.

His 12-game hitting streak has given manager Jeff Bannister a welcome headache.

Profar’s played second base, third, designated hitter, and even first. A position he’d never played before last Tuesday. After the game, Bannister cracked wise.

“It looked pretty athletic, looked like a short stop playing first base,” Bannister said. “Nice strecth, looked calm, looked like he’d been over there before.”

Which is how you could describe any of these three stars in the making.