Monday, July 4, 2011

Texas j2 step: BAM!

If you have been under a rock, Texas has likely signed the following players per multiple sources:

Nomar Mazara (DO), COF, 4.95m
Reportedly flies out Tuesday with family for Wed PC.
Ronald Guzman (DO), LF/1B, 3.45m
DPL PC Monday. In Texas for PC on Thursday.
Yohander Mendez (VZ), LHP, 1.5m
Pedro Payano (DO) RHP, 650k
Signing confirmed; Bonus confirmed.
Eduar Pinto (VZ) CF, 300k

Texas also has reported interest in IF/OF Gustavo Perinan (CO) and RHP Roberto Osuna (MX) that we know of.
I have a few notes on these confirmed and purported signings on this historical j2 day for Texas in the "Draft/j2" workbook in the sidebar. I'll post some the main parts about Mazara and Guzman here. Any notes about tools comes from secondary sources like BA's Badler unless otherwise noted. I will add to his section (or pin it) and revise it as I gather more information, until I lose interest...

First, I should note that I came across an article on Mexican RHP Roberto Osuna, that noted he touched 95 (91-95) at his last showcase/workout on 6/24 with 2 Texas scouts ( John Booher y Gil Kim) attendance. Now, while his body is not dreamy - a Vicente Padilla meets Warner Madrigal via Vicente "Edwin" Escobar type - he offers now stuff, as long as his secs are as advanced as they appear to be. Texas usually doesn't go for this type of dude but I thought I'd throw that info out there.

Nomar Mazara (DO) LH, LF/RF, 6.4/195
School: Jesus in Action, Ivan Noboa (~2009)

Teams: MLB RBI (DO)
Shows elite power in BP, an elite leg kick and elite whiffs. Average arm - enough arm for RF? Has anyone seen him play over the last few years in varied and truly competitive settings? Has he played in national, regional or international tournies, youth leagues, travel teams, etc? Does he have a good feel for the game? He has indeed played in youth leagues at least since 13 as well as in the RBI program alongside Guzman last yr but has not played in any of the DO leagues during his age 15 year and appears to have only been showcased, with limited exposure to live pitching (maybe as far back as September). Texas might have given him a general promise in February that took him off the circuit a bit but it still doesn't xplain why he skipped the first half of any league, Nov-Jan. Texas must know him very well and better than most (though it isn't clear why); it's a signing that makes or breaks careers.

Various sources: well educated religious (military-political) family; played in La Liga Javilla (Little League I guess, possibly private given his family's station) in Santo Domingo) from young age through the age 13_14 division then switched to Noboa at age 14. Noboa's academy is called "Jesus in Action", so, Mazara should fit in with very well with all of the other little Ranger evangelists. Has played on travel teams and regional and intl tournies, showcases, etc. though the timeline is unclear. Source: Dad a former admiral who seems to have some ties to PRD's 2012 candidate. Was 6.1/140 at 13, 6.1/180 at 14, now 6.3-6.5/185-200. My guess is that Texas has followed him right around the time he turned 13, when he sprouted to 6.1 and started hitting HR to 365 in his little league park, so, say 2-3 years. I don't think there is any doubt that TX has done their homework on this kid, and that the competition with other big market teams was very real, as were the money rumors, and Texas won out. This is no Esdras Abreu (and who knows if TX even has the same scouts there that they had in 2007- I bet they do not.)

Quotes:
Hoy, por Soldevila
ESPN Deportes, Rojas
ListinDiario, por Briceno
Noboa Interview (w/cult-figure pic), por B4ses
Rangers' Presser
BP at the Ballpark
ESPN Dallas Quotes
Jon Daniels interveiw
Daniels Interview II

UPDATE:
According to at least one local report, Texas did not start following him until he was around 14 and 6.1/180, about the time he switched to Noboa, so that is not more than 2 years and maybe less than 1 year of truly competitive ball; is not uncommon for teams to follow a player for 3 or more years. The last time he played competitively seems to have been in the PG showcase last August before being limited to the workout/tryout/BP/academy scene for the 10 months prior to j2 2011. I find this a little unnerving, not playing in any of the multiple leagues during his age 15_16 year, but he could've stayed with any one academy for up to 30 consecutive days during that time so it is likely that he did a little of this for those few (~10-12) teams willing to drop 7 figures on LA kids. Clearly, as a signing stratagem, it didn't hurt him a bit, but as a fan, it doesn't give you as much to hang your hat on as, say, Guzman, for example.


Ronald Guzman (DO) LH, LF/1B, 6.5/205(!!!!)
Agency: La Academia, Eddy Robles (~2006)
Teams: DPL, MLB RBI (DO), Under Amour

Very advanced hitter; doesn't even seem to be an average athlete - looks a little goofy/gangly (long arms, legs, loping long-strider) but good def. instincts apparently, LF arm. Hopefully the same scouts who questioned his bat speed aren't the same ones who also noted the same thing about another Texas power hitter turned bust, Esdras Abreu. Given the prominent stage he has been on, I would suspect that such criticism is unlikely to be true. HS grad, an uncommon merit for any DO teen along this "career" trajectory. As (if) he fills out (more), will a move to 1B be in order? Given the athleticism and plus bat speed carried by Elio Hernandez, and Texas' general inclination to toolsy OF, TX must really believe in his bat (and his future power?). Was listed at 6.4/170 at age 15, now variously reported in the 6.4-6.5/ 185-200 range. I don't know, if he puts on another 25 pounds, he'll probably end up at 1B. With Robles/LA since age 11.

DPL Profile
Presser
DPL Elite (PG)
DPL Elite (DPL)
Brief Interview (ENG)


Yohander Méndez, LHP, VZ, ~6.2-6.5/170-175
I've heard two figures on him: 1.2m and 1.5m. I'm thinking like Texas on this kid: he is the most projectable lefty on Badler's list so I don't mind missing on a Sanchez or Osuna if we got him. A few snippets about this kid, some months old, indicated that he really impressed during his April showcases/workouts with his command in addition to the late velo jump reported by Ben badler (high 80's +90). However, there was another report that he didn't look all that great at the MLB showcase held in San Jaoquin on 4/9 but may have looked good in a showcase in Valencia earlier in that week. As in the previous reports, the changeup appears to be his second best pitch and he can spin a curve. One report from gringo scouts said that he sat 86 early in the spring but was RAW (contrary to Badler's profile). He is from Luis Blasini's Academy in Valencia.

Here is a note from El Nacional, 4/9/11:
“Entre los pitchers zurdos, Méndez es el mejor”, sentenció un scout de la Liga Nacional. “Mide 1,90 (metros de estatura) y la recta puede tirarla, consistentemente, entre 85 y 88 millas por hora, pero la han medido en 89. Puede soltar la pelota en varios ángulos y la curva tiene un gran radio, mientras que posee una buena opción con el cambio. Cuando lo entrene un pitching coach de un equipo profesional, mejorará su mecánica y por consiguiente el comando-control. Cuando proyectas sus habilidades a cinco o seis años, te encuentras con un muy buen lanzador”.




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