The Position Player: Nomar Mazara
I have to admit, I expected this decision to be a bit more clear cut. I liked Joey Gallo at first glance, but a guy who has struck out 57 times in 123 at bats should not be too much of an issue. Elvis Andrus is another player I have always liked, and he leads the Rangers in hits at this point, but there is a player in Texas who is heating up right now. And I love Jonathan Lucroy but feel like the Phils have always had a good feel for how to get him out during his time in Milwaukee.
Nomar Mazara is a player we were all hoping would come as part of the Cole Hamels return, but Texas fans are probably thrilled they kept the now 22-year-old. This season, he is currently slashing .250/.313/.412 in the first couple of months. However, I am choosing him because of what he has done over the last week.
He is 7-19 (.368) with four doubles, 5 RBI, and a walk over the last seven games. He does not have any of his five homers over that time, but he is obviously seeing the ball well right now. As of now, he is sitting right around last year’s final season stats, so for a 22-year-old, that is a pretty good sign.
Mazara will strike out and does not take a ton of walks. Right now, he has 26 strikeouts to only 11 walks. The strikeouts are probably a result of just not being familiar with Major League pitching quite yet. Once he becomes more comfortable, look out. Watch him this week when he gets fooled. He will still find a way to make contact.
Do not miss with a fastball anywhere near the middle of the plate or forget it. He will launch it somewhere. Right now, he is hitting a ton of groundballs, but the potential is there for more. At this point in the early stages of his career, the way to beat him is with offspeed and breaking stuff. If Phils’ pitching can do that, he may become a non-factor in the middle of the Texas order.