by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
The Rangers’ Nomar Mazara was thrust into an everyday role in 2016 and backed up the hype that preceded him. That’s not to say that there weren’t some bumps or concerns, but at the end of the day posting the following rookie line has left a positive taste in the mouths of fantasy owners:
516 At Bats
.266 Batting Average (137 Hits)
20 Home Runs
0 Stolen Bases
.320 On Base Percentage
.419 Slugging Percentage
.299 Batting Average on Balls in Play
Now we must ask ourselves what type of sophomore campaign we should expect. Will he suffer from a sophomore slump and struggle through 2017? Will he back up his rookie campaign by taking another step forward and truly emerge as one of the better outfielders in the league? Let’s take a look:
While there were strong signs in his approach at the plate, there is an adjustment that is needed if he wants to continue thriving. There was a clear split in his numbers, and the second half marks bring some concerns:
Line Drive Rate
The second half marks led to a .242 average (.282 in the first half), and while it may be a bit extreme we have to remember that he held a 19.6% strikeout rate at Double-A in ’15 (470 PA). Couple that with Whiff% of 14.52% against breaking balls and 14.20% against offspeed pitches and there’s a good chance that the second half strikeout rate is closer to the truth. His line drive rate should improve, which will help him maintain a decent average, but a regression is coming.
There’s also the risk of a platoon, as there was a distinct split in his production:
That would put him on the favorable side, but any platoon is going to impact a players value due to the loss of AB.
Without much speed we need to ask about his power potential. It’s fair to wonder if there will be much, if any, growth considering his lack of additional extra base hits (13 doubles and 3 triples) and inflated groundball rate (48.9% overall, 53.6% in the second half). A regression in his average, with stagnation in his power, alone would cap his value as a back-end option. The potential for a regression in his power as well just further makes him a sophomore that is tougher to trust.
That’s not to say that he’s unusable, as the numbers come together for the following 2017 projection:
.267 (140-525), 21 HR, 75 RBI, 65 R, 2 SB, .316 BABIP, .327 OBP, .438 SLG
There’s some upside in the line, but it’s more of an OF4 or OF5 than someone you want to trust as anything more on draft day. While the name may persuade some, don’t make the mistake of overvaluing him and reaching.
Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball
*** Order Rotoprofessor’s 2017 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide for Just $7.00 By Clicking Here!! Not only will you get all the help you need to dominate your fantasy draft, but you will also be entered to win a Noah Syndergaard autographed baseball, complete with “Thor” inscription! ***
Make sure to check out our other Early 2017 Rankings: