Texas Rangers: 5 Sleeper Players To Watch In 2017

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Mar 2, 2016; Surprise, AZ, USA; Texas Rangers pitcher Andrew Faulkner throws against the Kansas City Royals during a Spring Training game at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 2, 2016; Surprise, AZ, USA; Texas Rangers pitcher Andrew Faulkner throws against the Kansas City Royals during a Spring Training game at Surprise Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /

The Rangers are going to rely heavily on the left-handed arm of Andrew Faulkner this season. Left-handed reliever Jake Diekman has been sidelined until mid-season most likely and the Rangers are going to need the rest of the bullpen to step up in his place.

Faulkner has experienced a couple stints with the Rangers the last few seasons. Most recently in 2016 Faulkner saw nine Major League games and allowed three homers in just 6.2 innings of work.

Spent most of the season in Triple-A going 5-3 3.97 ERA in 41 games (one start) with four saves. In the minors during 2016 Faulkner only gave up three homers in over 45 innings pitched. He just has been unable to translate his success from the minors to the Majors.

On a good note Faulkner is only 24-years-old and could see much more MLB action in 2017. The Rangers recently signed Wesley Wright to a minor-league deal. They also have Alex Claudio who experienced success in the Majors last season. All three should compete for bullpen roles in Spring Training.

If Faulkner is unable to grab a lefty specialist role he could obtain the long relief role. Faulkner has plenty of experience as a starter in the minor leagues. In recent years the Rangers have attempted to convert Faulkner into more of a relief pitcher, but he could pitch in long relief if needed.

Faulkner has competition heading into Spring Training, but could be a huge asset to the Rangers bullpen. Especially with Diekman sidelined the Rangers are going to need a big contribution from Faulkner in 2017.

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