If Randolph Oduber can make it to the big leagues, he will truly be that diamond-in-the-rough that all scouts are looking for every time they sit down to watch a prospect. Hailing from the island of Aruba, Oduber was a 32nd-round selection by the Washington Nationals in the 2010 amateur draft.
“It was a great draft,” Nationals director of player development Doug Harris said. “Our scouts did a tremendous job. Oduber is a very athletic kid with a strong makeup.”
Oduber quickly signed and tore through the rookie-level Gulf Coast League, batting a scorching .366 with four homers and 30 RBI in 39 games. He was named Most Valuable Player of the GCL, marking the third consecutive year a Nationals prospect corralled the honor.
Fast forward to 2011 and Oduber is off to another good start for the Single-A Hagerstown Suns.
“I like the groovin’ Aruban,” Hagerstown Suns play-by-play announcer Bryan Holland said. “I like Randolph Oduber. He is such a great guy to work with in the clubhouse. Oduber is multi-faceted, he speaks five different languages. He beat up on the Gulf Coast League last season. He then came up and struggled last year at the end of the season.”
But Holland says through a strong offseason, the 22-year-old Oduber has improved and is now ready to attack South Atlantic League pitching. The 6-foot-3, 186 lb., Oduber is batting .293 with three homers, seven RBI and seven stolen bases in his first 15 games.
“He comes out early here in 2011 season and he is mashing the baseball,” Holland said. “In one of the games of the doubleheader, he was 4-for-4. He has three home runs in the home stand. He still needs to work, as do a lot of these young players, on recognizing the breaking ball, because he is still little bit out in front. He really gets the meaty part of the bat on the baseball. He knows how to go down and get it. He can spray it to all fields. Oduber can fly, he is leading the club right now in stolen bases.”
Hagerstown Suns manager Brian Daubach first saw Oduber at spring training and knew the youngster had potential to be a good player. Daubach has Oduber as the team’s designated hitter, although he can play the outfield.
“He had a really good year in the GCL,” Daubach said. “Sometimes it is hard to make the jump here but he has all the tools. Down the road he can hit in the middle of the line up but right now we got him leading off. He is a really good base stealer, too. He has (7 stolen bases) this year. He was 19-for-20 last season. When he gets on and our No. 2 Adrian Sanchez gets on in front of Bryce (Harper), it is fun to watch.”