Rangers reportedly sign Latin American teenager Nomar Mazara for record $5 million bonus

ARLINGTON TX - NOVEMBER 01: General Manager Jon Daniels of the Texas Rangers looks on during batting practice against the San Francisco Giants in Game Five of the 2010 MLB World Series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on November 1 2010 in Arlington Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

According to ESPN Deportes the Texas Rangers have signed outfielder Nomar Mazara to a $5 million bonus, a record for a July 2 international signee.

Today is, of course, the first day that the year's crop of 15 and 16 year olds from Latin America can be signed, and the announcements are coming fast and furious.  The Mazara signing, though, seems to be the bombshell.

Yesterday, Ben Badler at Baseball America ranked the prospects expected to get the biggest signing bonuses, with Mazara checking in at 10th on the list.  So either there are quite a few more really big deals coming, or Mazara's appeal was underrated coming into this year's signing period.

Mazara is a 16 year old, 6'5" lefthanded hitting and throwing outfielder from the Dominican Republic.  BA's scouting report on Mazara says that he's been the source of the most "outrageous" bonus rumors, and that he has incredible raw power, an equally incredible propensity for strikeouts, and a hit tool that isn't very advanced.  BA says that he's been "showcased judiciously," putting on impressive batting practice displays in workouts but not facing live pitching.

He sounds like a future left fielder who will advance as far as his bat carries him.  

UPDATE -- Enrique Rojas says the Rangers are "close" to signing outfielder Ronald Guzman, #2 on BA's expected bonus list.  BA says that Guzman is one of the two highest-profile international prospects this season (along with Eliar Hernandez, who has already signed a $3.05 million deal with the Royals today).  Guzman has below-average speed and a below-average arm, meaning that, like Mazara, he's expected to be limited to left field.  BA also says there are questions about Guzman's bat speed, but like Mazara, he's considered someone with impressive raw power potential.  Guzman also, per BA, gets strong marks for makeup and instincts.

UPDATE II -- MLB Daily Dish has a post up about the signing, and has this comment:

Mazara, 16, is considered to be one of the best power-hitting prospects to come out of Latin America in years, with some noting that they haven't seen a better one since Miguel Cabrera or Wily Mo Pena.

That's a pretty wide range of potential outcomes, of course...Cabrera is one of the best hitters in baseball, and Pena was an all-world talent who couldn't convert his potential into actual game performance (although he was also hurt by the fact that he was signed to a major league deal, which meant that he was out of options and forced to stay on a major league roster well before he was major league ready, stunting his development).

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