Texas Rangers: 5 Sleeper Players To Watch In 2017

4 of 5
MLB: Texas Rangers at Tampa Bay Rays
MLB: Texas Rangers at Tampa Bay Rays /

In 2016 the Rangers had Ryan Rua play six different positions. This season his role could be even larger than that. Rua has an opportunity in Spring Training to obtain the full-time first base role for the Rangers.

Last season was a solid showing for Rua as he hit .258/.331/.400 with eight homers and 22 RBI in 99 games. Rua stole nine bases along the way and put himself in the everyday first base conversation in 2017.

Rua had two previous stints in the Major Leagues, but both were much shorter than 2017. His performance in 2013 is what put him on the Rangers radar. During the 2013 season Rua hit 36 homers with 106 RBI in 144 games in the minors.

Heading into his age 27 season Rua has a chance to become a big-time slugger with the Rangers. Rua only hit eight homers in 2016, but he did not see everyday playing time. An everyday role could mean a potential breakout season for Rua.

Rua was drafted in the 17th round of the 2011 amateur draft. Besides his incredible performance in 2013 Rua has not been looked at as an everyday player for the Rangers. This could be his opportunity to breakout and be a superstar with first base wide open this upcoming season.