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Throughout the positional coverage on Baseball Prospectus, the Tale of the Tape feature has pitted two closely ranked players in a head-to-head brawl to see which is superior. We’ve offered some big-league, as well as minor-league, bouts. This will be the latter variety, as we compare Raimel Tapia vs. Nomar Mazara to see which one should be valued higher (in a vacuum) in standard dynasty leagues.

Batting Average

Tapia possesses one of the best pure hit tools in the minors, as he hit .326/.382/.453 for Low-A Asheville a year ago, and the BP scouting report suggests he has 6+ potential on the hit tool. You’re looking at a true .300 hitter in his prime with a small strikeout rate. After all, he only struck out 6.5 percent of the time in Low-A and was even better than that in 2013. Mazara is certainly no slouch. The young outfielder took a healthy step forward last year, compiling a .264/.358/.470 slash line in A-ball before demolishing Double-A pitchers with a .306 average in a very brief cameo at the end of the season. Mazara has some upside in the bat, as he’s only 19 years old, but the hit tool isn’t likely to rise to Tapia’s level. The latter is the clear winner.

Advantage: Raimel Tapia

On-Base Percentage

This is where Mazara’s improvement in 2014 becomes interesting. He cut his strikeout rate to just 21.5 percent in 461 PA in Hickory and it didn’t balloon when he dipped his toes into the Double-A water. The approach improvements allowed his walk-rate to soar. Mazara posted a 12.4 percent walk rate in A-ball. If he continues that patient approach up the ladder and the hit tool progresses as we’ve seen recently, the on-base percentage could approach .360-.375 in his better years. Despite Tapia’s dynamite batting average, it’s unclear whether it will be anything more than 4-5 percent in the bigs. He’s an instinctual hitter who relies on a bat-to-ball approach. That’s more than workable, given the overall package, but it’s reasonable to assume Mazara will post higher on-base percentages in most seasons.

Advantage: Nomar Mazara

Home Runs

Ain’t close, folks. Mazara is a 6-foot-4 power hitter who clubbed 22 homers a year ago and could threaten 25-plus in the bigs. Tapia almost eclipsed the double-digit mark in 2014 and will benefit from Coors Field; however, his power threat is nowhere close to Mazara’s .200-plus ISO power. Then again, that’s why the Rangers dropped $4.95 million on him as a teenager. Legit power to all fields.

Advantage: Nomar Mazara

Runs Batted In

When comparing two different types of hitters, certain categories can be landslide victories, as it was with the previous one. Tapia is a top-of-the-order bat and is currently in the National League. That won’t offer too many opportunities to drive in runs, no matter how sweet the swing is. Mazara, on the other hand, could develop into a middle-of-the-order threat and rake in the RBI totals. Both hitters project to be integral cogs in their respective lineups. They’re just different, and this category favors those who bat third-to-fifth. The nod goes to Mazara.

Advantage: Nomar Mazara

Runs

When projecting run totals, fantasy owners target hitters with a high batting average, a spot at the top of a lineup, and speed. Tapia should check all three boxes. He scored 93 runs a year ago. It’s tantalizing to consider what those totals could become in Coors. Again, Mazara is no slouch in the runs category. He crossed the plate 78 times in 2014, but he doesn’t have the overall toolkit that Tapia possesses. While fantasy owners shouldn’t avoid Mazara because of his projected run totals, the current Rockies prospect tallies another point in the win column.

Advantage: Raimel Tapia

Stolen Bases

One guy is an above-average runner who swiped 33 bags in 2014. The other is more of a plodder—though not Miguel Montero kinda slow—who only stole four. This discrepancy isn’t going to change at the major-league level. For stolen bases, fantasy owners should clearly target Tapia. Easy win to the 21-year-old to level the contest at three apiece.

Advantage: Raimel Tapia

Injury Risk

No major concerns exist for either player. Tapia appeared in 60-plus games in each of his three seasons in rookie ball, while doubling that upon reaching full-season Asheville. Mazara has similarly been a workhorse, appearing in 120-plus games each of the past two years. I consulted the Google Machine to find a small, insignificant injury in an attempt to separate the two, but it was all for naught.

Advantage: Push

Risk/Upside

While all prospects carry inherent risk, some types of hitters carry a bit more. Tapia has great hand-eye coordination and has few questions regarding his ability to hit for average. It won’t take much for that average/speed combination to translate to the majors, even if the power or patience doesn’t develop as much as it could. Mazara, though, has significant platoon issues and could fall victim to high strikeout rates as he progresses to Triple-A and the majors. Furthermore, power occasionally takes a couple years to translate in the bigs—nor does he have the Coors Field crutch to improve his offensive output. Again, both guys have question marks. The risk profile is smaller for Tapia, however, and the upside is to be a first-division player for both. Context of one’s league always matters, but in a vacuum, I prefer Tapia’s prospect profile.

Advantage: Raimel Tapia

Estimated Time to Impact

One may look at Mazara in Double-A and Tapia in Low-A and assume the former has the shorter timeframe to impact production. However, that’s not guaranteed. Tapia is 21 and poised to shoot up the Rockies’ system, much in the same way Mazara did in 2014. The latter is just 19 years old and has holes in his offensive profile. Furthermore, for the reasons mentioned in the previous blurb, Tapia isn’t likely to need as long to adjust at the major-league level. I think you could see both players end the year in Double-A—and I like Tapia’s game to translate to the majors in a quicker fashion.

Advantage: Raimel Tapia

Overall

Neither of these options are poor. Team roster construction also matters, though admittedly not as much when looking at deep dynasty leagues. However, when counting the victories, Raimel Tapia emerges victorious. Mazara could develop into a power-hitting, middle-of-the-order bat for the Rangers. There’s significant risk, though, and he’ll never be a stolen-base threat. Tapia could be truly elite in average, runs, and stolen bases—awhile not being a black hole in RBI or homers. As such, the Rockies’ young outfield star takes home the trophy.

Winner: Raimel Tapia (5-3-1)

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hyprvypr
2/13
Just a curiosity, what is an '8' hitting tool? Roughly a .350 average? Wade Boggs an example? Thanks guys.
lewist
2/13
Ive always assumed ratings are intended to be generationally-agnostic... that is to say, we may never see many 8s in our lifetime. If instead ratings are just relative to the current pool of baseball talent, maybe that's different. BP?
turbo7773
2/14
As an example, BP gave Victor Martinez an 8 hit tool: http://www.baseballprospectus.com/scouting/hotstove_bat.php?reportid=185
kcheaden
2/14
I would take it as a guy that can contend for batting titles like an Ichiro, Boggs, Mauer, Gwynn, Ted Williams type. I wonder what Altuve's hit tool was rated when he was a prospect and what it'd be rated now.
TheArtfulDodger
2/15
putting an 8 on a hit tool equates to a .330 or so average to me.
CraigB
2/14
Mazara is in the Rangers' system, so he is going to be playing in a fine HR park, too. If you think he will hit 25 in a neutral environment, he'll probably at least be in the low 30's in Arlington.
will1331
2/14
I've got one issue with this comp, and the series in general in that it awards category "wins" as if all fantasy were a series of head to head matchups. In reality, owners looking at these two would need to compare the magnitude of those differences to get a sense of the overall value to their team. In this case, it seems to me that Mazara's chance to provide high-end power with a plus average would win out every time over an empy avg with speed/runs. Potential .300/30/100 hitters don't exactly grow on trees.
TheArtfulDodger
2/15
I don't think many project Mazara to be a .300 hitter, so I think that's a bit aggressive, as is anticipating 30 home runs (though either could come with a season of high end variance). I'd agree that the magnitude to which someone wins a category matters - which is why it's worth reading the comments before looking at the winner of the category - usually there's a breakdown in there. By the same token though, Tapia should outproduce Mazara substantially in runs and stolen bases, and potentially in average. That might not be what you're looking for, or more abundant, but it matters just the same.
TwinsfanTravis
2/15
Double digit HRs with a substantial amount of SBs and possible runs does not fit the definition of empty avg.