SDI Prospect Rankings: #3 Nomar Mazara
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
“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
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
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.