There's a new Nomar in town, and he didn't waste any time making a dominant first impression
Nomar (or, more accurately, "Nom-ah") has been a name echoing throughout the baseball world since a young man named Garciaparra belted 30 homers and legged out 11 triples en route to winning AL Rookie of the Year for the Red Sox in 1997. After 14 MLB seasons and six All-Star selections, Garciaparra hung 'em up and left a Nomar-sized void in baseball.
Enter: Nomar Mazara.
Mazara -- an outfielder in the Rangers system -- was ranked as the second-best outfield prospect in baseball by MLB Pipeline (17th overall) heading into the 2016 season. With All-Star Shin-Soo Choo slated to miss 4-6 weeks with a strained calf, the Rangers promoted Mazara to the big league club on Saturday:
Rangers will recall OF Nomar Mazara and purchase C Brett Nicholas from Round Rock before today's game. Chirinos on 60 day DL; Choo on 15 day- John Blake (@RangerBlake) April 10, 2016
Mazara is the first of MLB.com's Top 100 prospects to get a callup this season, though Corey Seager (Dodgers) and Steven Matz (Mets) made their teams' rosters straight out of Spring Training. So, before you start getting push alerts about Mazara doing Trevor Story things, here's everything you need to know about the Rangers' newest outfielder:
- At 20 years and 350 days old, Mazara is now the youngest player in MLB.
- When he was signed as an amateur out of the Dominican Republic, Mazara's contract set a record (since broken) for the largest signing bonus given to an international free agent ... when he was only 16.
- Though he was assigned to Triple-A out of Spring Training, Mazara wasted no time starting his season. Through three games for the Round Rock Express, Mazara was 6-for-12 with a home run and four RBIs.
- Mazara's call-up might signal the beginning of the future for the Rangers. Even though he's the second best outfield prospect in baseball, and the 17th overall, the outfielder ranked above him is fellow Ranger Lewis Brinson. And one of the guys ahead of him on the Top 100 list is super prospect Joey Gallo.
- The dude has a cannon. Through three pro seasons, Mazara has accumulated 41 outfield assists, so consider this your friendly reminder not to run on him.
- Oh, and he can flash the leather, too.
In the words of the immortal Semisonic, "every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end," but somehow we think that the excitement of Mazara's debut and inevitable production will more than neutralize the April injuries that might have had Rangers fans eyeing up that panic button.
Update: Mazara lined a single to right-center field in his first career MLB at-bat
And then singled again in the third inning before really announcing his presence in the Majors with a 443-foot home run (which you can check out in the main clip) in the fifth.
Not a bad debut ...