ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Rangers announced the signing of Dominican outfielder Nomar Mazara to a 2012 contract. ESPNDeportes.com had the record bonus at a little more than $5 million.
Mazara took some swings in batting practice as a large contingent of club officials looked on, including general manager Jon Daniels, CEO Nolan Ryan, manager Ron Washington and even slugger Josh Hamilton. Rangers hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh threw BP to Mazara, who hit balls to all fields and showed some power.
A couple of scouts shared their thoughts on Mazara. He projects as a left-handed, power corner outfielder with a good arm (he throws left-handed) and average speed. He's 6-foot-4 and around 195 pounds and when the Rangers first saw him as a 14-year-old, he was 6-1 and 180. So he's growing at a pretty fast rate.
Since Mazara signed a 2012 contract, he's not eligible to compete in the Dominican Summer League now. So he'll go back to the Rangers' Dominican Republic academy in Boca Chica and participate in some non-sanctioned games, sort of like instructional league. He'll return in September to Instructional League in the states and begin his professional career in the Rangers' pipeline. Mazara will come to spring training next year and then be sent out, probably to either Class A Hickory or Spokane.
"You can see him growing, might even be a left-handed Juan Gonzalez," Washington said. "He showed some bat speed for a 16-year-old kid. He attacks the baseball. He showed the ability to hit it to all fields. What was impressive is when he took a bad swing, he'd make an adjustment the next swing. That shows he has a feel but he's only 16."
Mazara played for the Dominican in the RBI World Series in Florida last August and his club won the Junior Division. He was signed by Rangers scout Rodolfo Rosario.
"We're looking for corner bats and we feel like he's very projectable with a body that will only grow," said Mike Daly, Rangers director of international scouting.
A.J. Preller, the senior director of player personnel, was quick to bring up Mazara's makeup as one reason the club believes he can mature quickly into an impact player.
"He loves the game and works extremely hard," Preller said. "The day after we signed him, he was up a long time and it was pretty tiring and he was back out there hitting balls. He can't get enough. He's got great work ethic. He's just a good kid and has an appreciation for the game."