By: Noah Wright
Nomar Mazara has been speculated to start next season on another team that isn’t The Texas Rangers, and for a few good reasons. One, they’re current line-up isn’t a very strong one, two, they don’t have a very good farm system, and three, they don’t really have that young star, or prospect that you can look at and thing “this guy is gonna be a super star”. On the other end, you have The Atlanta Braves, where nearly every player you could look at and think “this guy is going to be a super star”. So that made me question if The Braves pursue Nomar Mazara? They have the pieces to do so, and have an open spot in the grass, so let’s delve deeper into that.
Well let’s first look at the most obvious thing: The Braves probably have a top 3 farm system in The MLB. This could really work in The Rangers favor. Rangers’ best prospect is a 20 year old in high A that isn’t even a top 50 prospect (ranks #54 according to mlb.com). Plus he’s expected to make the majors until 2020. Recent prospect graduate Willie Calhoun hasn’t looked great either since coming to the majors, and had a so-so season in Triple-A in 2018. In all, The Rangers have a total of 3 prospects in the top 100. In contrast to The Braves, they have 5 prospects in the top 50, and 10 in the top 100.
This trade could also be a good way for The Braves to save some money, instead of going after Nick Markakis, or a higher priced outfielder. Anyway, Markakis’ numbers are a bit inflated this year, for he got off to a blistering start to the season, but then cooled off to his normal numbers he’s had for the past few year, in the last few months of the season. But not only is Nomar Mazara controlled through 2021, but he would probably be an affordable outfielder overall. Right now, his best value comes from his age. Mazara is only 23, and he’s shown flashes of potential in the majors, but has never sustained it. Since his debut season in 2016, Mazara has been a consistent 20 home run hitter (no literally, he’s hit exactly 20 every season since 2016, his rookie season). But Mazara doesn’t really excel in anything in particular. He’s not super fast, but his base running isn’t going to significantly make a difference. His fielding, while overall isn’t super great (career -3.1 dWAR, but only a -.8 dWAR in 2018, his lowest in a season), but he’s been worth 6.3 arm outs above average throughout his career. I think that this is the right time for The Braves to make a trade to acquire him. He’ll fit in nicely in either corner outfield spot, with Ronald Acuna in the other spot, and Ender Inciarte in center.
If a trade like this went down, The Braves could probably sacrifice one of Mike Soroka, Kolby Allard, and Ian Anderson. The Braves do have a plethora of young starting pitchers who are prospects, or graduated from prospect status. That includes Sean Newcomb, Max Fried, Soraka, Anderson, Touki Toussaint, Luiz Gohara, Allard, and Bryse Wilson. So with Fried, and Newcomb likely being set for a larger role in 2019, and with The Braves payroll likely to become larger with Adrian Gonzalez’s, Scott Kazmir’s, and Brandon McCarthy’s contract coming off the books, they may opt to sign a larger scale free agent starter like Dallas Keuchel. So in the end, I think a prospect package of either Soraka or Allard, along with a mid level piece, like Ricardo Lopez and a depth player could be enough to get the trade done with The Rangers, and add another young outfielder with potential to a young Atlanta Braves team.