After a brutal stretch in which his batting average dropped below .200, Texas Rangers’ outfielder Nomar Mazara seems to have turned the corner.
Just when he had fans scratching their heads, Nomar Mazara had a heck of a week on the baseball field. The Texas Rangers right fielder saw his batting average dip below the Mendoza Line after an 0-for-4 night against the Athletics last Monday. Since then, his average climbed 67 points to .255. He went 12-for-30 over the next six games with six extra-base hits and eight RBI.
Mazara started driving the ball up the middle or to the opposite field. During his six-game hot streak, he hit 68% of balls to either center field or left field. His previous six games resulted in 35% of balls being hit in either direction.
He’s simplified his approach by allowing the ball to get deep and focusing on center/left center of the field. He has not been fouling off fastballs or rolling over on off-speed pitches nearly as often. The substantial statistical improvements are proof that his adjustments are working.
He’s never had much of a problem barreling the baseball. Even in an up and down April, he’s managed a 48% hard hit percentage. The issue is he hits too many hard ground balls into the shift on the right side of the infield.
The Rangers’ primary focus this past offseason was for Mazara to lift the ball more. In other words, lower his ground ball percentage. So far he has improved in that area, as his ground ball rate is down nine points from a season ago.
Baseball is a tedious sport. A player can put forth non-stop work into tweaking one part of his game, but the results may not show in competition for weeks, if not months. It’s immensely difficult to transfer practice to the game when a pitcher is throwing four different pitches and hurling a fastball at 93+ mph.
The good news is Nomar Mazara’s work is beginning to payoff when it truly counts. He enjoys hitting at home as much as any Ranger, so look for his stellar play to continue in the upcoming week. Perhaps he’s turned the corner for good and is ready to prove all of us 2019 optimists correct.