Full truthiness: my deep league posts from 2014 weren’t very deep.  I mean, yeah, talking about Yan Gomes was a good call and probably deeper than many were willing to talk about at catcher.  But I looked myself in the mirror a few times.  Khris Davis?  Yeah, he wasn’t a top 100 pick anywhere but that doesn’t make him a deep league shot.  So I took a vow to leave the ‘Under The Greydar’ calls for just that and to really refocus these Deep League calls, especially in the outfield where much like Busta Rhymes, I make sure everything remains raw.  So welcome to an overhaul of my DLT calls.  Really, I just want to get as many ‘who?’ questions in the comments section this year as possible.  They’re way easier to answer!  The answer to the ‘who’ today is Ryan Rua.  But of course, that doesn’t tell you much because now you want to know what he can do for you this year so let’s trudge on.  Here’s my dig down deep look at Ryan and how he can help you deep leaguers for the 2015 Fantasy Baseball season…

Who is Ryan Rua?  No, this isn’t Jeopardy, this is an honest question.  His minor league stats are, for lack of a better word, ‘diverse’.  If this were 2011, we wouldn’t even be talking about him.  That was the year he was playing low-A ball and hitting .192 before being sent to the rookie league where he hit .321.  Yeah, .321 is great in rookie league…if you’re really rookie league age.  He was 21 playing against high schoolers.  So how did he go from looking like organizational depth to a player who hit .295 with the Rangers in August/September of 2014?  It’s hard to say, really, but something changed between 2012 and 2014 and the progression at the minor league level shows someone who grew up quickly.  Rua put on a power show in 2013, hitting 36 HRs across Rookie, A and AA.  The downside is he gave up contact for power, hitting well below .250 across those levels and started being given Dan Uggla as his only comp of possibly being MLB worthy.  Sure, that’s great and all but, uh, ya ever watched Bull Durham?  Yeah, sounds like Crash Davis to me.  Minor league superstar who’d never attain big league status.  But then came 2014.  Rua showed some adjustments at the plate, striking out less than 20% of the time while upping his walk-rate to a healthy 9%+ clip across AA/AAA.  The best part?  The power didn’t totally dissipate as he still hit 18 HRs over 529 plate appearances in the minors.  When he finally reached the majors late in 2014, Ryan kept the low k-rate – 16.5% at the major league level – which, for me, is usually a telling sign that someone can stick for a longer haul than many.  Though the walk rate didn’t follow him up, we are also dealing with a level move that didn’t see an increase in strikeouts which I view as a bigger sign of someone not ready to handle major league pitching than I do a diminished walk rate.  As it is, Rua is currently in the battle for left field duties with Jake Smolinski who is himself a converted middle infielder but whose minor league track record does not speak of someone who can offensively hang in a corner outfield spot.  If I were projecting for Rua giving him a full season of at-bats, I’d put him around 18 HRs, 5 steals and a .270 average; basically Torii Hunter with less average.  I heard you just yawn.  That’s fine.  Hunter was the 33rd best OF last year.  Christian Yelich was 31st.  Marcell Ozuna was 28th.  When you’re deep league stepping, you best step correct.  RUA!  Has got you all in check.

 
  1. El Famous Burrito says:
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    Holy underlines!

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      @El Famous Burrito: is that like Holy Underwear? I’m not Mormon, just askin…

  2. Bill says:
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    Thanks Sky, Great read.
    I got him in a 20 team 32 rounder as my 5th OF and got SMOLINSKI even later as a backup plan. I read that Texas has as many as 7 guys in spring training that will be vying for that coveted left field spot. Hope RUA has the juice to nail down that spot.

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      @Bill: Yeah, I think he’s a very intriguing option for them. It’s a really deep call but I think Rua stands out amongst the competition.

  3. CMUTIMMAH says:
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    Very deep look, but I think Rua’s value is truly based on where he slots in the lineup. If he’s 7/8, I don’t care what his projected HR total is, he’s not likely to have any real value. And with more intriguing guys to slot in the 2 spot if Choo or Andrus gets hurt, I don’t see him hitting anywhere but 6,7,8.

    IF somehow he gets the 6th spot, I have some interest. Without the chance of him breaching top 5, I have a hard time loving this guy. He’s a 5th OF at best, so if you’re in a deep league, I could see some late round flyer potential, but even then the ceiling is low, and many sites are pining for Smolinski to get the opening day nod. Beltre is still a stud and Mitch Moreland got himself on base at a pretty good clip last year (.364) so at least that 6th spot will have some ducks to hunt.

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      @CMUTIMMAH: In a deep league, you have to focus on what the player can do, not what the lineup provides. I’ve seen the same sites post Smolinski but I wonder if they’ve seen the disparity between his K% and his BB%. It was pretty nasty last year and he’s not a power hitter based on his minor league numbers. Overall, I think Rua is gonna be one of those ‘surprise’ guys this year. I could see him sliding up to 5th or 6th for good RBI production. If he can keep his K% low like he did last year, there’s value there.

  4. J_FOH says:
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    when i first saw this I thought you did a deep league thought on Ryu

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      @J_FOH: Which would just be weird

      • J_FOH says:
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        @Sky: I thought it was Aprils fool and I missed drafting all my teams

        • Sky

          Sky says:
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          It is and you did. You’re experiencing your very own Total Recall.

          • J_FOH says:
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            @Sky: so where are my three boobs moment?

            • Sky

              Sky says:
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              It’ll be in Phoenix when you hang with, Jay, Magoo, and I.

              • J_FOH says:
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                @Sky: magoo?

                • Sky

                  Sky says:
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                  Did you just start the movie Memento 2?

                  • J_FOH says:
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                    @Sky: there is a momento 1?

                    • Sky

                      Sky says:
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                      No but there was a Memento (1).

                  • J_FOH says:
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                    @Sky: never got the momento memo

                    • Sky

                      Sky says:
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                      You probably got it confused with pimiento.

                    • J_FOH says:
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                      we need an olive branch here

  5. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    nice,ive had him on my radar

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Yeah, not an RCL kinda guy for sure but he’s shown success at every level of the minors and the ability to make adjustments. He’s a very intriguing guy to me for 2015.

  6. Yescheese says:
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    He’s got to be top 3B on the depth chart after Beltre now right? Nice deep league call, totally unsexy second division regular who has the power potential to be deep league relevant. I like him to out produce Cody Asche, another 3B competing for LF

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Yeah and he also has experience at 2B and played some 1st in a pinch. The power potential is real, hopefully we get to see it

  7. Montezuma's Revenge... right now says:
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    good call, as last year’s guys were often quite ownable in standard sized leagues for sure.

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Yeah, wanted to see how far down the rabbit hole I could go this year.

  8. NCPhilly says:
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    This scoop on Rua is well-received since I was just contemplating Rua’s positioning on my minor league pre-draft list (yes, still minor league eligible in this league). I’m keeping my fingers crossed for some middle infield deep league thought provokers. In particular, I have one such player in mind as my own deep league flyer even though he doesn’t have a major league job as of yet (but should by some point this season).

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      @NCPhilly: Yeah, Rua’s move up through the minors is abnormal but I think overall he could become a solid major league starter. I think the ceiling is low but for 2015, I’m intrigued.

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