FRISCO—Nomar Mazara considers himself blessed. In a season where the Texas Rangers’ top two prospects, slugging third baseman Joey Gallo and starting pitcher Chi Chi Gonzalez, have already made their Major League debuts, Mazara, the Rangers’ No. 3 prospect per mlb.com, knows he’s next man up.
And being viewed as the Rangers’ big thing is a role he relishes.
“Yeah, it’s a cool thing. You hear people talking about you that makes me proud. You just want to keep working harder and harder so when the time comes, you’ll be ready for it,” Mazara, 20, said.
He has spent 2015 with Double-A Frisco, also where the Dominican-born right fielder finished 2014. In 89 games this season, he is hitting .285 with 11 home runs and 47 RBI. This is Mazara’s first year playing for Roughriders manager Joe Mikulik, but the career baseball man knows 20-year-olds like him that are so ahead of the curve don’t often come along.
“When you’re around him every day, you have a tendency to understand his professional approach. I think that’s the biggest thing, how he goes about his business,” Mikulik said. “He understands what he has to do. At a young age, he’s got a good feel for how he has to prepare himself to hit.”
This season has already been notable for the young outfielder for several reasons. For one, he played in the Texas League All-Star Game, a nice honor considering how prospect-laden the TL is. And in mid-July, Mazara played for the World Team in the 2015 Futures Game, part of the festivities surrounding the 2015 MLB All-Star Game in Cincinnati.
“Yeah, it was nice to get that opportunity to be able to go to the Futures Game and share some good moments with good people and good players too, especially to play on a big-league field with a big crowd,” he said.
Originally signed in 2011 at 16, he didn’t make his professional debut until 2012 with the rookie-level Arizona League Rangers. It was his first taste of life in America and of pro ball, which meant there was an acclimation period.
“When I got here, I wasn’t used to this food. It doesn’t matter if I don’t like it or not, if I don’t eat it, I’m going to have hunger,” Mazara said. “It was hard like the first year, it was hard to get used to the food, the rules here, everything. But now I don’t care. I eat whatever.”
Something else that’s changed since coming to the States is his approach at the plate.
“When I was a kid, before I signed, I would just go out there and swing my ass off. When I got the opportunity to play pro baseball, I learned that it’s not like that, go out there and swing as hard as you can. You have to get a routine,” Mazara said. “I’m going to hit the middle of the field. You can use the whole field and when I started learning that, I became a better hitter.”