Nomar Mazara endured familiar rookie drawbacks (late-season slump and battles with strikeouts included) but impressed at age 21. His plus-plus power and steady contact skills survived his call-up. Mazara's second season, however, will test his value. Can he sustain or add pop if he keeps knocking almost half his batted balls into the ground? Will Mazara reclaim his once excellent batting eye in the majors? Will he earn enough chances to correct issues against left-handed pitching? Bank the most on him confirming the first question. Thirteen of his 20 home runs came on the road, and he's shown excellent power for his youth. As for the other questions, have patience with the blue-chipper in dynasty leagues, where he owns tantalizing upside (40 homers? Four-category stud?). Those owning him for only 2017, however, must consider those immediate pitfalls, including uncertainty with stolen bases and a possibly crowded outfield. Don't depend on a major step forward, but he'll deliver when priced as a complementary power-first bat, especially if he settles somewhere in the middle of Texas' order.
Mazara's opportunities to face left-handed pitching will hinge on his performance against southpaws in 2017, the Dallas Morning News reports. After sitting out the Rangers' final 13 games against left-handed starters in 2016, there is reason to be concerned about Mazara's role for the upcoming season. With a platoon expected in left field featuring Jurickson Profar on the large side and Delino DeShields Jr. or Ryan Rua on the small side, the Rangers could feature one of DeShields or Rua as a platoon partner with Mazara in right field if desired. Rangers manager Jeff Banister said he expects Mazara to hit against lefties in the long run, but the short-term plan may hinge entirely on how Mazara fares in those situations in April.
Mazara is not in the lineup for Friday's game against the Rays. Mazara will come off the bench Friday while Shin-Soo Choo starts in right field, which is how the two figure to be utilized most often over the final weekend of the regular season and into the playoffs.
Mazara finished 3-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored in Wednesday's 5-4 loss to the Angels. The multi-hit performance -- his fourth in seven games -- capped an incredible three-game homestand for the young left fielder, as he collected six hits, five RBI and three runs scored across 10 at-bats, lifting his line to a solid .277/.329/.436 on the season.
Mazara went 2-for-3 with a two-run homer in Tuesday's victory against the Angels. Mazara's fourth-inning blast, his 20th home run of the season, gave his team a lead it would never surrender. He is the fourth Rangers rookie to hit 20-plus home runs, and the first since Mark Texeira in 2003. Although Mazara's second-half batting average (.258) is down from prior to the Mid-Summer Classic (.282), the 21-year-old's .457 slugging percentage since the break is a solid increase from the .420 mark he posted in the first half of 2016.
Mazara went 2-for-4 with his 18th homer in Wednesday's loss to Houston. The highly regarded Domincan's rookie season has been less impactful than expected, especially considering that he was hitting .324 with 10 homers on June 10. Since then, he's hit only .230 with eight homers over 78 games; this was his first multi-hit effort since Aug. 26.