The Reds got decent production from their catchers in 2010 with their trio of Ryan Hanigan, Ramon Hernandez and Corky Miller posting the following numbers:

  • Hanigan—.300, 5 HR, 40 RBI, 25 R, 0 SB
  • Hernandez—.297, 7 HR, 48 RBI, 30 R, 0 SB
  • Miller—.243, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 5 R, 0 SB

Hanigan and Hernandez were the primary options, combining for 516 AB.  The average was good and, yes, they did get nearly 100 RBI, but there was little true punch, and when they got on base, there was a good chance that they weren’t going to score.

However, the Reds have an option in their minor leagues who has the potential to significantly improve the production the Reds get from behind the plate.  Devin Mesoraco, the team’s 2007 first-round draft pick, quickly rose through the team’s farm system in 2010.

Playing across three levels he posted the following line:

397 At Bats
.302 Batting Average (120 Hits)
26 Home Runs
75 RBI
71 Runs
3 Stolen Bases
.377 On Base Percentage
.587 Slugging Percentage
.323 Batting Average on Balls in Play

The BABIP is slightly deceiving, as he struggled in his brief stint at Triple-A (52 AB) to the tune of a .257 mark.  Obviously, he was cold at that point and hotter during his time at Single and Double-A.  While it’s nice to have numbers against upper-level competition, it’s too small of a sample size to draw any conclusions.

Like his BABIP, his strikeout rate rose to 26.9 percent during his time at Triple-A, but was 20.2 percent for the entire season.  Yes, you expect him to struggle a little more as he moves up the ladder, especially initially, but I wouldn’t conclude that he’s going to continue to strikeout at that type of rate.

In the Arizona Fall League, he has struck out four times in 18 AB, a strikeout rate of 22.2 percent.  Even while he struggled through his first three seasons, he made good contact with a strikeout rate of 22.0 percent (755 AB). 

That’s not terrible and should allow him to hit for a solid average.  Is he a .300 hitter?  Not likely, but with this type of ability to make contact and the power he’s shown, .260 is very realistic.

The power was there, and present at each and every stop he made (including three at Triple-A).  He hit 10 home runs at Single-A and 13 at Double-A before his cup of coffee at the highest level.  He’s also added a long ball in the AFL, just continuing to show that maybe he has finally come into his own.

It’s not like we haven’t seen this type of development from a catcher in the past.  Look no further then Geovany Soto as proof, and look what he has now been able to accomplish.

At the time that he was drafted said of him: “Mesoraco has plus power. Right now, it’s more pull power, but eventually he’ll develop power to all fields.”

His power was something people liked back then, when he was drafted at age 19.  Now that he’s 22 years old, the fact that he’s finally showing it off should not be a surprise.

There are concerns about his ability to catch, having double-digit pass balls each of the past three years.  Obviously, that’s something that needs to be straightened out, so look for the Reds to work hard on him in the spring.  If he can get that fixed, there’s a very real possibility that he reaches the majors before the end of the 2011 season.

With his power potential and the ballpark he’d play in, he should be on the radar of all owners in two-catcher formats immediately.  He also has the potential to be usable in shallower formats, so he’s certainly worth tracking in all leagues.

What are your thoughts on Mesoraco?  Could he be viable in 2011?


Make sure to check out our other Prospect Reports as we wrap up 2010 and head towards 2011:


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