The White Sox announced Monday that they’ve activated right fielder Nomar Mazara for his season debut. In a pair of corresponding moves, catcher Yermin Mercedes was optioned to their alternate training site and right-hander Jimmy Lambert was placed on the 45-day injured list.
Mazara has yet to live up to the top prospect hype that surrounded his MLB debut with the Rangers, but he’s been a steady 20-homer producer with slightly above-average offense against right-handed pitching (career 103 wRC+). And while he’a already a four-year MLB veteran by virtue of his early call to the bigs in Arlington, his youth leaves the hope for some yet untapped upside at the dish.
As MLBTR’s George Miller explored a few months back, Mazara is quite impactful when hitting to the opposite field, by virtue of the fact that he elevates the ball with much greater regularity than when pulling the ball. Mazara’s number of pulled grounders are alarming and indeed have limited his output to this point in his career. However, he generally ranks above the league average in terms of average exit velocity, barrel rate, expected slugging percentage and a number of other Statcast metrics that portend some remaining upside. Mazara will likely be platooned with righty-hitting Adam Engel early in the season, per Daryl Van Schouwen of the Chicago Sun-Times, but there’s obvious potential for Mazara to work his way into a larger role.
Even if Mazara simply maintains the status quo, though, that’s not an entirely bad thing for the Sox. Granted, plugging in a slightly above-average bat to the lineup doesn’t sound like a huge boost, but in nine games this season, White Sox right fielders have turned in a putrid .167/.211/.333 slash. Mazara’s lifetime .271/.337/.462 line against right-handed opponents looks all the better when juxtaposed with that to-date production (or lack thereof) from Chicago right fielders. Engel’s career .253/.299/.390 slash against lefties isn’t great — though it is better than Mazara’s career levels — but that platoon arrangement should lead to some improvement for what has already been a strong White Sox lineup.
The White Sox acquired Mazara in December trade that sent minor league outfielder Steele Walker to the Rangers. Mazara is playing out the 2020 season on a one-year, $5.56MM contract (prorated to about $1.97MM) and is controllable through the 2021 season via the arbitration process.
why did they think Lambert was healthy enough to play?
The team has a very, very bad track record with players coming back from TJS. It’s probably a reason Kopech decided, combined with COVID, to opt out this season.
I don’t buy that Kopech wasn’t ready to come back from TJS. He was hitting 100 with no problem. COVID-19 was more likely the case. There’s also that rumor out there it had to do with his divorce. I’d actually buy that excuse before I’d buy the excuse he wasn’t ready to come back from TJS.
Now Lambert on the other hand, I’ll buy that he came back too early. I want to say he’s been barely back a year, whereas Kopech was a good year-and-a-half, if not longer.
I”m personal issues were also a factor. But Kopech was also on hand to witness how the team mismanaged Burdi, Adolfo (and Dunning, if you consider he should have had surgery much earlier), so with everything else going on, sitting out to clear his head, stay away from Covid, and make sure his arm is 100 percent ready were likely all factors.
I’d be willing to bet that none of those are reasons why Kopech opted out.
Kopech is just a head case. The Red Sox knew what they were doing when they included him, in the trade.
I am amazed the moderators let you come on virtually every Sox thread and troll with every post. I thought MLBTR was trying to clean this up. Yet, almost every article, here you are, trolling at will. And this is a tame post for you. I went on some Cubs articles just to see if you were capable of a legit take. You don’t even bother posting on Cub threads anymore, just Sox threads. That’s hilarious, you’re not even hiding it.
I’m not sure if I should find this appalling or impressive. I can’t even blame you, they should be the ones policing this. I thought I had some questionable posts recently, but it’s nothing like your body of work. I got blocked back in Sept or Oct (and I admit I deserved it), which makes it more amazing how untouchable you seem to be, because I had nothing on the swath of trolling you call posts.
If your posts weren’t so lame, I would ask to shake your hand for getting over on MLBTR and doing it so often. So in some very strange and warped way, congratulations, I guess.
Good post. Trolls are disgusting and not needed.
Add Carlos Rodon to the list.
Hopefully they platoon Mazara with Engel, as both have poor splits.
Might not be a bad idea, though I think they’ll see how Mazara starts out before thinking about the platoon.
Mazara is so much better with the bat but Engel is one of the best defensive outfielders in baseball
I agree. He’s the best center fielder the Sox have had since Jim Landis, and he’s started to hit, and to hit with some power. Frankly I’m not sure why they don’t play him in center and shift Robert to right. Maybe they fear that’s too much pressure on the rookie, but more likely it’s because they want to give playing time to Mazara and value Engel as an excellent fourth outfielder.
“I’m not sure why they don’t play him in center and shift Robert to right.”
Because Robert looks like a potential gold glover in CF, and that’s his position…
Engel has been a league average hitter since the break last year, and has absolutely murdered LHP, so I think it would just be smart to place each player in the best chance to succeed, especially since I don’t think either is seen as a long-term solution in RF. But seeing of they can platoon effectively would give the team a fail-safe for next season.
Mazara has never shown he can hit LHP, so I don’t see the point of wasting more at bats to answer something you already know. He has an OPS+ of 68 against LHP in more than 550 plate appearances.
Engel’s murdering of LHP was in a pretty small sample size, so not sure you can rely on that too much.
I suspect the White Sox will want to see if Mazara can be a long-term solution in RF (or at least for next year) and will give him starts against LHP — probably not all of them, but it won’t be a strict platoon.
1) It absolutely should be until (if) Engel craps the bed
2) Engel is starting tonight vs a LHP, for what it’s worth – and it’s a quick commute from Schaumburg, so Mazara needing time to get to Milwaukee likely isn’t the cause
Anybody with common sense would see this as a clear platoon situation. Let’s see if Ricky does.
I came here to read the word juxtaposed. I wasn’t disappointed. Indubitably.
They don’t want Mercedes to get too many ABs, as it will expose signing washed up EE was a waste. It’s a shame b/c EE k’s a ton and kills big innings right in middle of the order. They love old sluggers/BB profile guys too late like him, Yonder, Dunn, etc. Delmonico would have been better to option and let Yermin (and/or Collins) earn the DH plate appearances.
Maybe so, but it is not like they cannot call Yermin back or replace EE at DH as the sample size gets larger. As of now, they have scored runs almost at will, reminiscent of the Big Red Machine from the 70s, putting the ball in play and creating many opportunities beyond HRs. I know this is out of fashion nowadays, but it is working.
What they need is another Don Cooper miracle with the pitching staff, or to go to a 2-man starting rotation.
I think he’s probably just off to a slow start. Though I agree they would’ve been better off just letting Collins and Mercedes earn the DH appearances this year with sending Delmonico down (and not signing EE in the first place). But since they have EE for that nice chunk of change, they’ll ride him all year, unless he puts up Dunn numbers all year. They already ate some dough booting Herrera.
At least Mercedes got to wear a Sox uniform, that’s about all I can say about his cup of coffee. Hopefully he will make it back up this year. I’d like to see what he’s capable of.
EE has a slower bat now like many 37yo that aren’t getting undetected help to defy age. He may go deep on a mop-up reliever (guys the likes of Fulmer or Herrera I said they should let loose…where you said nah high draft pick/too many $), but anyone can do that. Not saying cut EE loose, but he should be losing ABs at least 2-3 games per week….and be moved down to about 7th in the order. They can overcome him against KC, but counting on him for a big hit against decent competition is tough when Sox starters are inconsistent.
EE could be toast. His bat speed is clearly diminished. It’s why it was always a meh signing.
They should at least start platooning Collins and EE.
they must be really in love with Delmonico
I know. I don’t understand how he’s still on the team. They’d be better off trying Basabe or Adolfo, to see what they have in either of those two. Even if they both bomb, at least you could see the logic why they went with those two. I certainly don’t understand the logic of still putting Delmonico in the lineup.
i dont think either of those two are ready.
And call up a position from their own system? That’s not the White Sox way.
“In love with Delmonico”? It’s an abusive relationship. Cut it off.
Without a doubt Rangers prospects have been some of the most overrated in the game for the past decade or more; Mazara, Jurickson Profar, the DVD boys (Diamond, Volquez, John Danks), Olt, Tate, Teagarden, Lewis Brinson, Martin Perez.
For the love of God, PLEASE stop playing Delmonico.
Agreed. Engel not hitting RHPs/batting 8th everyday would have been fine while Mazara was out. He and Robert can cover 80% of the OF….and say Eloy please don’t get hurt in your small OF wedge of space.
No MLB team should be subjected to Nicky Delmonico.. But putting Delmonico and Danny Mendick in the same starting lineup (as has happened at least twice already) is just cruel and unusual punishment for Sox fans.. The sooner we can punt both of them, the better.