Pittsburgh Pirates: Four Low Cost High Reward Free Agent Targets

HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 29: Sean Doolittle #63 of the Washington Nationals prepares to deliver the pitch against the Houston Astros during the ninth inning in Game Six of the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 29, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 29: Sean Doolittle #63 of the Washington Nationals prepares to deliver the pitch against the Houston Astros during the ninth inning in Game Six of the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 29, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /
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Sep 27, 2020; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago White Sox right fielder Nomar Mazara (30) hits an RBI double during the eighth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Guaranteed Rate Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 27, 2020; Chicago, Illinois, USA; Chicago White Sox right fielder Nomar Mazara (30) hits an RBI double during the eighth inning against the Chicago Cubs at Guaranteed Rate Field. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports /

Nomar Mazara

Nomar Mazara was acquired by the Chicago White Sox last season to serve as their primary right fielder, but things didn’t go according to plan. Mazara collected 149 plate appearances and batted just .228/.295/.294, including just seven extra base hits. Mazara’s 68 wRC+, .267 wOBA and 0.1 fWAR led the Sox to non-tender the outfielder. While this ended his time with the Sox on a sour note, not all is lost for the young outfielder.

For one, Mazara was a consistent contributor with the Texas Rangers from his 2016 rookie season up through 2019. In these four seasons Mazara batted .261/.320/.435 with a.321 wOBA while showing quality power. Mazara hit exactly 20 home runs in 2016, 2017 and 2018, and missed continuing his streak by just one in 2019. He also had an above average .174 isolated slugging percentage during this time. While he did have a 92 wRC+, Mazara usually put up a pretty similar wRC+ year after year.

Mazara also showed improvement in some areas during the 2020 season. For one, he had a 91 MPH exit velocity, the highest of his career. This was in the top 82nd percentile of hitters. His 48.9% hard hit rate was another career high that ranked in the top 90th percentile.

Mazara also showed some improved defense. During his time in Texas, Mazara was a below average corner outfielder with -24 DRS, -1.0 UZR/150, -9.9 range runs above average albeit with a strong arm saving 6.5 outfield arm runs. This past season, Mazara had +2 DRS, a 10.4 UZR/150, 1.3 range runs above average and +1 Outs Above Average.

Mazara is still pretty young as he will turn 26 in late April. He was also once considered one of the best prospects in all of baseball, ranking as high as the 5th best prospect before the start of the 2016 season by MLB Pipeline. The Pittsburgh Pirates could use another outfielder capable of playing the corners and bringing in Mazara wouldn’t cost much and might turn into a solid return at the deadline. It would also give them some pop to their line up. Last season, they ranked in the bottom three of home run total, slugging percentage and isolated slugging percentage.

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