ESPN - On Saturday, Texas Rangers right fielder Shin-Soo Choo suffered a strained right calf while running the outfield prior to a game against the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim. As it turns out, the injury is serious enough that it has landed him on the DL, and he'll miss 4-6 weeks.
In his stead, Texas called up Nomar Mazara, a member of the pool of talented prospects the Rangers have in their system. Mazara, still 16 days shy of his 21st birthday, is a player Keith Law ranked No. 9 on his top 100 prospects list and Baseball Prospectus ranked as the fifth-best prospect in baseball.
As far as major-league debuts go, Mazara was nothing short of sensational. He singled in his first two at-bats, then hit a 443-foot home run to center field in his third at-bat. On a day in which Jered Weaver baffled many of the Texas hitters, Mazara never really appeared to be fooled. Instead, he stayed back on the ball and drove it, finishing 3-for-4 on the day. In short, it was the kind of hitting performance that many coaches would love to use to show proper swing mechanics.
Well it didn't take long for the first major call up of the MLB season. While most of the fantasy community is busy marveling at Trevor Story's historic start, the Texas Rangers quietly called up top prospect Nomar Mazara Sunday morning. The 20 year old burst on to the scene today by collecting hits in his first three at bats, including a towering solo home run. Entering the 2016 season the plan for Mazara was to get some more seasoning in the minors and if he did well than Texas would call him up for the playoff push. Due to Choo's injury however the Rangers felt they needed to make a move and fantasy owners should do the same.
The first reason is Mazara's potential. In 131 games last season between AA-AAA the young outfielder hit 14 home runs with an impressive .296/.366/.463 triple slash line. 111 of these games came at the AA level, where Mazara was the second youngest player in his league. The Rangers showed their confidence in him today by not only calling him up but by batting him in the fantasy friendly number two spot in their batting order. During Choo's absence fantasy owners can count on a respectable batting average with a little bit of power and plenty of run scoring opportunities hitting in front of Adrian Beltre and Prince Fielder. If all goes well the left handed slugger could force his way into regular playing time even when Choo returns.
The other reason Mazara needs to be owned is his marketability. Fantasy players love to have the next big thing and are often willing to overpay for it. Scouts were bullish on him coming into the season with Baseball America ranking him as their 21st top prospect and ESPN ranking him 9th. If you own Mazara already there are probably owners in your league willing to give you a king's ransom for him. While I wouldn't be aggressively shopping this kid I would certainly entrain offers for him if a league mate offered a top 25 outfielder. And if Nomar stays hot this coming week owners can make the price to acquire him even higher.
Basically the worst case scenario for owners picking up Mazara is he appears severely overmatched the next couple of weeks, the Rangers send him down, and you send him back to the waiver wire. However the best case scenario of a rookie of the year type season makes the 20 year old worthy of a pickup in all fantasy formats.