The Texas Rangers have announced that they have added Nomar Mazara, Yohander Mendez, Connor Sadzeck and Jose Leclerc to the 40 man roster today, protecting them from potential selection in next month's Rule 5 draft.
Mazara, 20, is one of the top prospects in the game. The outfielder split the 2015 season between AA Frisco and AAA Round Rock, putting up a .296/.366/.443 line. Mazara was controversially signed to a record $4.95M bonus in the summer of 2011, with critics saying that he was a limited player who didn't warrant such a large bonus; however, Mazara had a breakout 2014 campaign that saw him jump from low-A to AA, and built on that with a solid 2015 season.
Mendez, 20, is a 6'4" lefthanded pitcher who, like Mazara, was part of the Rangers' 2011 J-2 class. Mendez has struggled to stay healthy, but when he has been on the mound he has excelled, showing a terrific feel for pitching as well as a very good changeup. Mendez struck out 74 batters in 66.1 IP in low-A Hickory in 2015, with a 2.44 ERA and just 2 home runs allowed. Mendez was on the bubble as far as bring protected because he hasn't pitched above low-A, but his potential made the Rangers fearful that someone would snatch him up.
Sadzeck, 24, was an 11th round pick of the Rangers in the 2011 draft, and missed all of the 2014 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in the spring of 2014. His return from surgery was bumpy, as he put up a 5.82 ERA in 60.1 IP between high-A and AA this year, but he was impressive in the Arizona Fall League, touching triple digits with his fastball. The velocity is impressive enough that, despite his command issues, he was a prime candidate to get picked in the Rule 5 draft had he not been protected.
Leclerc, 21, is a hard-throwing righthander who was tried out as a starter in AA Frisco in 2015 after spending his entire career prior to that as a reliever. Leclerc put up a 5.77 ERA in 103 IP, with 98 Ks against 73 walks, but like Sadzeck, he throws hard enough that he could contribute quickly as a reliever.
The 40 man roster now stands at 38.