Dan Szymborski’s ZiPS projections are a good measure of what to expect from players in the upcoming baseball season. We'll take a look at the Rangers' projections on a position-by-position basis. Szymborski can be found on Twitter at @DSzymborski.
Today we'll look at the projections for the Rangers in left field, which is the most wide-open spot on the Rangers roster and has a few guys vying for the starting job with two young rookies as the frontrunners. Those two, Jake Smolinski and Ryan Rua, each had small, yet productive sample sizes in 2014.
Rua: 555 plate appearances, 24 doubles, 13 home runs, 53 RBIs, .237 batting average, .292 on-base percentage, .368 slugging percentage
Smolinski:468 plate appearances, 21 doubles, 9 home runs, 40 RBIs, .236 batting average, .308 on-base percentage, .360 slugging percentage
While Szymborski and FanGraphs projects Smolinski as the starting left fielder, it appears Rua is the slight frontrunner to win the job, and that's OK considering Rua put together a really solid year in the minors last season before coming up and having a nice run in September. He's also put on a ton of muscle in the offseason and looks to be the guy the Rangers hope can seize the job. Smolinski also fared well in his small audition last year and also showed a really nice glove in left field, while Rua has played a lot of infield in his career.