Who Is Ryan Rua?

RUa
If you are a fan of the Texas Rangers then you may have heard of the name Ryan Rua. That name should be somewhat familiar, since he is the 2013 leader in home runs in all of Minor League Baseball with 28. Rua has been battling teammate Joey Gallo for the Minor League home run crown this season, in a Mantle versus Maris type of onslaught. We all know Joey Gallo. We know the tremendous raw power after seeing him blast a moonshot home run in Spring Training that just landed in Reykjavik, Iceland moments ago. But who is this Ryan Rua?
Ryan Rua is a 23 year old 2nd baseman from Amherst, Ohio, who is currently playing for the Class A Hickory Crawdads in the South Atlantic League. Rua was the Rangers 17th round pick in the 2011 MLB first year player draft out of Lake Erie College, which is small university in Painesville, Ohio. At Division II Lake Erie, Ryan hit .374 with 27 HR’s and 131 RBI’s in three seasons, and holds several school records. Rua was a 2011 Division II honorable mention All-American and the first player drafted in school history.

Rua played 2011 for the Rangers Arizona Fall League team and in Spokane of the Northwest League, and hit .303 with 4 HR’s and 37 RBI’s. In 2012, Rua played the entire season at Spokane and hit .293 with 7 HR’s and 43 RBI’s. While he hit for a solid average coming into 2013, his on base percentage was impressive with .376 and .368, respectively.

In 2013 the power has started to show. That could be from maturity, from the Hickory workout program, or Rua has simply started channeling the power of Castle Greyskull. Whatever the case, it sure is fun to watch when Hickory is on MILB.tv. When the ‘Dads aren’t streamed on the internet I closely follow the tweets of @TepidP or Mark Parker (@CrawdadsBeat), the Crawdads beat writer for the Hickory Daily Record.

If you ask the scouts or experts in the industry of minor league prospects, they’ll tell you that Ryan Rua is not considered a Major League prospect. Our own Bob Bland asked Jason Parks yesterday about Rua’s trade value. The Professor responded with:

“Perhaps as a throw in piece, but not a Major League prospect for me”

I wholeheartedly trust Jason Parks and his opinion. When he says a player isn’t a Major League level player, I believe him. However, in this case I truly hope he is wrong. I have not personally talked to Ryan Rua, but I get the feeling he doesn’t care about what people say about him. The Hickory middle infielder keeps hitting home runs, he keeps getting on base at .366 clip. And Ryan Rua, with his .998 OPS, keeps trying to prove the experts wrong, and he’s doing a bang up job.

 

While 23 is considered a little old for the level that he is currently playing at, a quick jump through the system is possible. I’m not a scout, I can’t tell you how quick he should see Frisco or even Round Rock. But his rise through the system is something that should be followed.

As far as expert analysis, Nathaniel Stoltz wrote an intriguing article on the Minor League Home Run leader on FanGraphs, which is definitely worth your time. What I can tell you is that I am a fan of Ryan Rua, and I hope he makes the next level and then the next and then the next. I hope all of that occurs in the Rangers farm system. Ryan Rua may never see Arlington, Texas as an employee of the Rangers, but it won’t be for the lack of effort.

Keep squaring them up, kid.

Patrick Despain is the CEO and Co-Founder of ShutDown Inning. He can be reached at Patrick.Despain@ShutDownInning.com or on Twitter @ShutDownInning
Patrick Despain
Patrick is a member of the IBWAA and creator of Shutdown Inning. He was raised him Arlington, Texas and grew up watching games on HSE and listening to Eric Nadel and Mark Holtz on the radio. He is a long time Rangers fan and never achieved his dream of being a bat boy. He know lives in Georgia with dreams of a Texas return.

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