Mazara famously received a record $4.95 million signing bonus as part of the Rangers’ huge J-2 class of 2011, which also included Ronald Guzman and Yohander Mendez. Mazara scuffled early on in his pro career, but had a breakout 2014 season as a 19 year old repeating Hickory, earning a late-season promotion to AA Frisco. After spending most of 2015 at AA, with a brief late stint at AAA Round Rock, Mazara was a consensus top 25 prospect in the game, and an injury to Shin-Soo Choo the first week of the regular season in 2016 opened the door for Mazara to become a major league regular in his age 21 season.
Mazara held his own as a rookie, slashing .266/.329/.419 with 20 home runs, and there was much optimism about his future. Mazara essentially stagnated, however — his 93 OPS+ rookie season was followed by a 90 OPS+ in 2017, then 96 OPS+ in both 2018 and 2019. While he flashed incredible raw power, his was unable to consistently hit the ball in the air enough to capitalize on that, and his poor defense and baserunning meant that, if he didn’t hit, he was essentially a replacement level player.
The Rangers decided to move on from Mazara after the 2019 season, dealing him to the Chicago White Sox for outfield prospect Steele Walker. Mazara regressed in Chicago, slashing .228/.295/.294, and with only one year of team control remaining, Chicago apparently decided there were better ways to spend the roughly $7-8 million he was likely to get in arbitration. Mazara is now a free agent, though I do not expect the Rangers to look to bring him back.
The ChiSox also non-tendered lefthanded pitcher Carlos Rodon, who was the #3 overall pick in the 2014 MLB Draft. Rodon has struggled with injuries and was not good last year, and like Mazara, was going to get a big raise in his final year of arbitration.
The top part of the 2014 draft has not worked out real well. Brady Aiken and Tyler Kolek, the top two picks of the draft, have not reached the majors, nor has shortstop Nick Gordon, who went #5 overall. Kyle Schwarber, who went one pick after Rodon, is expected to be non-tendered today. Alex Jackson, the #6 pick, and Jeff Hoffman, the #9 pick, have negative bWARs for their careers, and Max Pentecost and Kodi Medeiros, who went #11 and #12, have not made the majors. Aaron Nola, Kyle Freeland and Michael Conforto went #7, #8 and #10, and have been very solid, as has Trea Turner, who went #13, and Matt Chapman, who went #25. The rest of the first round has been pretty underwhelming (unless you include the supplemental first round, which adds Jack Flaherty to the mix).