SDI Prospect Rankings: #3 Nomar Mazara

As we continue to countdown the Texas Rangers minor league prospects, we’ve reached the third highest ranked prospect, Nomar Mazara. Mazara is a left-handed, power-hitting, right-field playing stud.

SDI Prospect Rankings: #10 Ryan Rua
SDI Prospect Rankings: #9 Luke Jackson
SDI Prospect Rankings: #8 Lewis Brinson
SDI Prospect Rankings: #7 Luis Ortiz
SDI Prospect Rankings: #6 Nick Williams
SDI Prospect Rankings: #5 Jake Thompson
SDI Prospect Rankings: #4 Alex “Chi Chi” Gonzalez

“Frighteningly talented” – Keith Law, ESPN MLB Insider

Mazara was born in Santo Domingo D.R. to a general in the Dominican Navy. Growing up with a father in the military instilled discipline and a work ethic that paved the way for a blossoming baseball career. In a 2013 interview with Mark Parker of the Hickory Daily Record, Mazara talks about his upbringing, strong makeup, and his ability to learn English quickly.

“My first year in the United States I just hung around American people and just heard English, English, English. No Spanish. I just kept learning and tried to speak it.” – Nomar Mazara

Sure, Mazara was born the same year that Dumb and Dumber was released (1995) but his maturity is well beyond his years.  Physically he’s 6’4 and listed at 195 lbs. If you catch him out of the corner of your eye you might mistake his long lean frame for Alex Rios. His body type and raw tools were a big reason the Rangers signed him to a $4.95 million dollar signing bonus in 2011.

In his first few seasons in the Rangers organization, the minor league coaches had the enviable task of molding a very impressive and talented piece of clay. One of the things that stood out mechanically was a very pronounced leg kick ala Juan Gonzalez. There isn’t a rock solid convention amongst baseball people but it’s not hard to find a scout that would tell you that they’re uncomfortable with a high leg kick. Are there players out there that are successful with one? Absolutely but generally a big leg kick can disrupt timing, cause head movement and make it harder to create solid contact.  The Rangers immediately worked with Mazara to turn the leg kick into a toe tap and saw significant results.

In 2013, his first full year in professional baseball, he struggled with the Hickory Crawdads. In 506 plate appearances he hit .236/.310/.382. He struck out 131 times and had 44 bases on balls while hitting 13 home runs. Rather than shrink into himself and refuse to adjust, he used the season as a learning opportunity and dedicated himself to getting better.

“A special kid, just as far as the maturity and the way that he carries himself and the way that he handles himself,” said Ragsdale. “He doesn’t get too high and too low…” – Crawdads manager Corey Ragsdale

In 2014 showed that he was able to make the adjustments to be successful and while in Hickory had 461 plate appearances where he was able to hit .264/.358/.470 walking 57 times and only striking out 99 times. His raw power was starting to shine through as well, he hit 19 home runs. Along with his progression at the plate, he was beginning to make strides in the outfield. He’s still not a top-notch defender but he’s become very serviceable making good reads on balls to the outfield and showcasing better than average arm strength. That progress was noticed by the Rangers brass and led to a call up straight to AA Frisco where he continued to impress in 85 at-bats leaving Myrtle Beach residents green with envy.

Evan Grant reported that during the offseason, teams were including Mazara as a “must-have” in deals with the Rangers and Jon Daniels didn’t find a deal where they were willing to part with the young outfielder.  While this makes me uncomfortably happy, the expectation now is that Mazara continues to develop and turns into the player that the Rangers feel like they have.

Most expect Mazara to start the season where he left off in Frisco and ideally he’ll get a full year facing AA pitching and continue to make adjustments. He’ll get the benefit of working with new Frisco skipper Joe Mikulik who spent 2014 with Myrtle Beach (now the Chicago Cubs A affiliate) and hitting coach Jason Hart. Hart is a former RoughRiders player and the luckiest man in the world getting to help getting to teach guys like Nomar Mazara and Joey Gallo how to hit. I don’t expect Nomar to make an appearance in Arlington this year but with injuries and trades and the baseball gods, anything is possible. Prospects are fun because they provide so much anticipation and there is plenty to be excited about for Nomar Mazara.

Jasen Southward
Jasen is a self described Rangers homer who lives in the valley of the lows and the crests of the highs. Tons of knee-jerk with a side of heart. Covering the minor leagues.

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