Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
To whom much is given, much is expected. This old adage applies well to the baseball career of young Nomar Mazara. Signing out of the Dominican Republic in July of 2011, Mazara recorded a signing bonus of a whopping $5 million. Mazara hits and throws left handed. Listed at 6’5″ and 200 pounds, Mazara is projected to be a prototypical power hitting right fielder when all is said and done.
Last year in Hickory, Nomar was the youngest player at the budding age of 18. He put up a slash line at low A Hickory of .236/.310/.382 (batting average/on base percentage/slugging percentage). At first take his slash line does not wow you, but when you compare it to some of his teammates and then take in to account the fact that he was younger than all of them, it looks much more impressive. Mazara is what scouts like to call a very “toolsy” player. That is to say that he has a great deal of raw baseball potential but lacks in experience and baseball acumen.
Many of the top prospects in the Rangers’ farm system are toolsy high-risk high reward type of players like Mazara. In an interview on the Ben and Skin show on DFW radio station 105.3 The Fan, general manager Jon Daniels talked about how this current group of prospects is being developed to be Texas Rangers, rather than just for the sake of trade value. In the interview, Daniels spoke of the potential for stardom of these young prospects. Also, Daniels commented on how many scouts were unfairly harsh in their assessment and criticism of Nomar Mazara.
When it comes to his speed and fielding ability, there is nothing to write home about. Nomar had only 1 steal in 126 games last year, but he will be an average right fielder defensively due to his impressive arm strength. Some scouts are concerned about his ability to hit for average, which would make sense for someone who won’t turn 19 until the end of April. If his hit tool doesn’t improve, it will severely limit his one legitimate plus tool: his raw power.
When it comes to power, this kid already has plenty. In 126 games last year at Hickory, Mazara had 38 extra base hits: 23 doubles, 2 triples, and 13 homers. When he grows into his lanky frame, some of those doubles will start flying over the fences. Mazra uses his quick hands to generate most of his power rather than an exaggerated loading mechanism like his teammate Joey Gallo. His swing is fundamentally solid, he also doesn’t produce a great deal of quick strike outs. Nomar already has a fundamental ability to work counts. Unfortunately, more often than not those long at bats end in strike outs rather than walks. In 497 plate appearances, Nomar Mazara walked just 44 times and stuck out 131 times. With his plate discipline and pitch recognition skills rapidly increasing, those trends should start to reverse themselves and lead to noticeable progress this coming year.
Due to his youthfulness, the Rangers might send Mazara back to Hickory to start off the year, or if they are feeling aggressive they will push him to the advanced A Myrtle Beach to start off the season. The Rangers are known for being aggressive with their development of prospects, but since Mazara is still so raw, I wouldn’t be surprised either way. No matter where he starts, I expect him to finish the season in Myrtle Beach with his core of teammates from last year.
Scouting Grades: Hit: 50 Power: 65 Run: 40 Arm: 60 Field: 50