by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Nomar Mazara has long been viewed as a high upside option, and coming off a 100+ RBI season the expectations were raised a little more. However no one could anticipated this type of start (through Thursday):
.292 (42-143), 10 HR, 26 RBI, 22 R, 0 SB
Obviously the big number is his power and that will be the center of the debate. Is there any chance he can reasonably maintain this pace after back-to-back 20 HR years? The easy answer is no, but the real question is what to expect and how to value him.
The idea that the power is unsustainable is easy, at least to an extent. It’s interesting that Mazara’s fly ball rate has plummeted, from 34.2% to 23.9%, yet the power has exploded. Sure he’s hitting the ball harder (40.4%), but a 38.5% HR/FB isn’t sustainable. Just as a point of reference, Giancarlo Stanton carried a 34.3% HR/FB last season en route to 59 HR, and we all know Mazara is not Stanton.
More fly balls would help to offset a regression, but what is really interesting is that his fly ball rate has decreased in May:
- April – 25.3%
- May – 19.2%
If he maintains the lower fly ball rate and regressed in his HR/FB? That’s not a great combination for those looking for power. Granted he won’t suddenly become void of it, but seeing 15 HR the rest of the way wouldn’t be a complete shock.
The increased Hard% does speak to his ability to maintain an improved average, and a .323 BABIP doesn’t raise any red flags. Neither does a 10.8% SwStr% or his “worst” Whiff% being 17.61% against breaking balls, all of which supports his ability to at least maintain his 21.7% strikeout rate (and potentially improve upon it).
That upside in his average should mean RBI/R for a player locked into the middle of the order. In other words even when the power does start to regress, it’s clear Mazara should continue to be a productive option in the mold of a .280/25/100 player. There’s nothing wrong with that, and while it may not be a Top 10 option at his position it’s valuable all the same.
He’s not untradeable if someone believes his current run to be the real thing, but also don’t feel like you have to go out and cash in either. There’s going to be value regardless, it’s just a matter of the form.
Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball
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