Nomar Mazara is among the Texas Rangers gearing to launch into MLB stardom. 2019 will be the year he makes it happen… just wait and see.
The Texas Rangers no longer have Adrian Beltre to lean on. The man who held a spot in the heart of the lineup for eight years has begun the retired part of his life. That means it’s time for someone else to step up! Who is that someone? 23-year-old, fourth year big leaguer, Nomar Mazara.
Maz is one of those young studs that is teetering with MLB legitimacy. He’s a nice talent at the moment, but he’s still a breakout season away from becoming a true force to be reckoned with. Will 2019 be his breakout season?
It’s tough to say with certainty that it will be. After all, I haven’t been training with him all offseason and I’m not inside his head. I just feel like it’s time.
Mazara was on his way to an outstanding 2018 season before he was slowed by a nagging thumb injury. He posted a first half slash line of .272/.332./.450, hit 15 home runs and drove in 58 runners. After playing 91 games in the first half, he played in only 37 games in the second half. Over those 37 games he slashed .221/.277/.397 with five homers and 19 RBI.
Basically, Mazara was the best hitter on the team when he was at full health. Perhaps a healthy season will pave way for that emergence we’ve all been waiting for.
There is not much holding him back. He has the plate discipline, the gap-to-gap power, the over the fence power and the contact ability. Strikeouts were a bit of an issue for him a season ago, but that attributed more so to seeing too many pitches per plate appearance than it did swinging and missing.
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“The Big Chill” is 23 years old and he’s already spent two years hitting at the top of the Texas Rangers lineup. That’s a lot of pressure on a youngling, yet Mazara has handled his roles quite well.
I could’ve sworn the organizational turnaround was ready to launch when he and Joey Gallo combined for 28 long balls in the first two months of the 2018 season. It turns out that was a tease, though, that’s what Rangers fans can come to expect once the lethal duo finds consistency.
In fact, consistency is Mazara’s tallest hurdle to jump. Again, he has the talent and he has the approach. He just needs to let experience take over and start to perform on a nearly nightly basis.
I’m no hitting coach, but there doesn’t appear to be any scary mechanical issue with his swing. He does have long arms which do force somewhat of a long swing. That’s why he has had difficulty catching up to high velocities.
Mazara actually saw more fastballs a season ago than Joey Gallo and Rougned Odor. That may not come as much of a surprise considering the latter two have difficulties with breaking balls; however, it’s uncommon for a third or fourth place hitter to see over 52% fastballs. Mazara hit third or fourth in all but 15 of his starts in 2018.
So, there is room for improvement. But the same can be said for every player in MLB history. The good news is the gap between good and great is much thinner for Nomar Mazara than it is for most players around the league. I strongly believe this is the year he will become great.
The Texas Rangers need him to become great. He and Gallo are the offensive centerpieces to the rebuild. Odor has the potential, but he’s been far too unpredictable thus far in his career to warrant a ton of faith.
Spread the word! 2019 is the year of Nomar Mazara! He will be the springboard to a successful season for the Rangers’ offense. This may even be the year he makes the American League All-Star team. Mazara will earn that desired contract extension and he’ll be a force to be reckoned with for many seasons to come.