SURPRISE, Ariz. – The rookie Surprise Rangers currently sit atop the Arizona League's West Division…
Lone Star Dugout Video: Nomar Mazara (6/27)
Outfielder Nomar Mazara is beginning the official portion of his professional career with the rookie-level Surprise Rangers this summer.
After signing with the Rangers for a reported $4.95 million bonus on July 2 of last year, Mazara finished the season by playing in unofficial games in the Dominican Republic. He then attended instructs in the U.S., instructs in the D.R., spring training in the U.S., and then extended spring training. He finally began his pro career––the part where the stats are kept, at least––last week.
Through his first six games, the 17-year-old outfielder is 3-for-22 with a double, four walks, and eight strikeouts. His timing against live pitching has been a bit off through the first week, but he's no-doubt made significant strides since spring training.
In fact, Surprise Rangers manager Corey Ragsdale said Mazara was the prospect who showed the most improvement––both offensively and defensively––during extended spring.
Ragsdale spoke in-depth about Mazara during a Q&A feature in May.
"The first thing is just the work that he has put into it with the hitting guys here," Ragsdale said in May. "He has put in extra work every day. But yes, he has made some big strides to kind of figure out that leg kick that he's got––to get the timing down. They've really been working on that."
When the Rangers signed Mazara last summer, he was known for two things––his excellent raw power and the massive leg kick.
The leg kick is something the Rangers' development staff has worked to tone down, getting it under control to where he's able to keep his timing and balance at the plate. As a result, Mazara has been able to see the ball better in game action, and his pitch recognition (while still somewhat raw) has improved.
The Dominican Republic native, who's listed at 6-foot-4, 195 pounds, has also progressed in the outfield. He had trouble tracking and catching routine fly balls during instructs last year. While he's still prone to the occasional lapse, he looks far more comfortable in the field.
"It's a complete credit to him. He's much-improved defensively," Ragsdale said in May. "Don't get me wrong––he's not out there running around like Ichiro in right field or anything. But he has come a long way defensively in the outfield.
"I'm very proud of him for getting out there. He is one of the harder working guys in the outfield during BP. We had a talk. That's the time he gets better. That's the time he figures out when he can run full-speed and catch the ball and those things."
Make no mistake, Mazara is still quite raw overall––as should be expected for a prospect who won't turn 18 until April 26 of next year. But his swing mechanics (and overall game in general) are certainly developing.
He put on an impressive display in batting practice on Wednesday, showing good balance and consistently squaring the ball––two things he wasn't doing consistently in spring training. Mazara stood out in a BP group that included talented prospects like Joey Gallo, Lewis Brinson, and Ronald Guzman.
The following video has all of Mazara's rounds from the Surprise Rangers' batting practice on June 27.
For a closer look at the progress Mazara has made with his swing since spring training, also check out this video of Mazara taking BP in March.
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