Rangers: Nomar Mazara and Cautious Optimism Heading Into 2017

Nomar Mazara had a tremendous rookie season for the Rangers last season. But, should fantasy owners be banking on continued improvement or more of the same next season?

Rookie breakouts are always some of the best storylines of each MLB season. Last season there were multiple rookies who had great debuts including, Nomar Mazara. He was great for the Rangers and showed why he was hyped as one of the top prospects in baseball. But, should fantasy owners be expecting more from him next or more of the same?

Nomar Mazara will be an interesting player to value in drafts this spring as his skill set is nearly too enticing to pass up. He ended the 2016 season with a .266/20 HR/64 RBI/.739 OPS line over 145 games. This line was undoubtedly solid, especially from a 21-year-old.

He got off to a hot start once he joined the team in April, and exploded for a .283/7 HR/17 RBI line in May. The power was on full display and he was one of the most feared hitters for nearly two months of the season. According to the ESPN Home Run Tracker, Mazara’s 415.8 ft. average per HR ranked fifth best in all of MLB last season.

The light tower power and bat skill are what fantasy owners are intrigued by and the ceiling is sky-high. But, should it be wise for fantasy owners to chase last season’s debut with the hope for a breakout?

Even though there are plenty of things to like in Mazara’s game, there are some red flags as well. The first glaring issue is that like most young hitters, he could not handle LHP. He posted a .234/1 HR/6 RBI/.548 OPS against lefties, which eventually caused him to be forced into a platoon by season’s end.

Struggles against LHP are common, but the struggles do not stop there. He cooled off majorly in the second half, .242/9 HR/28 RBI/.723 OPS, after his hot start. While some point to fatigue, it also has to be deduced that major league pitching adjusted to Mazara’s swing. Making his 26% K rate over the second half all the more concerning.

Then there is his 49% GB rate. For a guy that has light tower power like Mazara does, that rate is alarmingly high. Playing in Arlington, Mazara has to turn his 30% FB rate around before owners can bank on a breakout season. He is never going to be an SB producer, so the jump in FB would do him wonders,

This is not to say that Nomar Mazara is going to suck next season for the Rangers, it is just a warning to those owners lusting for more out of him next season. He is still ridiculously young and there is no doubt will be a star, but owners have to target him as more of an OF4 instead of an OF3 type of starter.

Nomar Mazara will hold value next season but it is safer to stay on the safer side of things in order to not over invest. He should still flirt with a .260/20 HR/60 RBI type of line, so still a valuable fantasy piece. But it does not seem that he will be that fantasy stud owners covet just yet. Be cautious in drafts this spring.