Height: 6’1″ Weight: 220
Devin Mesoraco was drafted by the Reds in the 1st round of the 2007 draft out of Punxsutawney Area High School in PA. He was the #15 overall pick in the draft and signed for $1.4mm. After signing he was sent straight to the GCL to get his pro career started and despite raking in High School on his way to school records galore, he showed little production in his debut.
In 2008, Mesoraco moved on to the Midwest League where he flashed a little of the power that the Reds drafted him for, hitting 13 doubles and 9 HR in 303 AB. But he still hit just .261. So moving the young developing catcher to the FSL in 2009 where pitchers rule was a difficult assignment to put in front of him. Injuries and the power sapping league led to another disappointing half of a season where he went .228 with 22 doubles and 8 HR. More difficulties with the bat, but the IsoP of .153 was another step forward.
It was Mesoraco’s 2010 season that flashed what the Reds drafted for. He played over three levels going from High-A where he hit .335 to Double-A and then Triple-A. All told, he hit .302 with 25 doubles, 5 triples and 26 HR. His IsoP jumped to more than .250 overall and he had just 80 strikeouts to 43 walks in 397 ABs.
The season put him into our preseason Top 100 Prospect List at #35 overall:
Devin Mesoraco C CIN – After a couple of years of inconsistent performance showing flashes of plus power, Mesoraco seemingly put it all together in 2010. His plus power is now evident as a tool he’ll carry to the majors and his defense has come along to be well more than adequate. Whether he gets the chance in 2011 will depend on health in Cincy and if the Reds stay in the Central race. He might be the spark they need mid season.
Being blocked in Cincinnati by Ramon Hernandez in 2011, Mesoraco spent most of the season at Triple-A Louisville with the Bats. But let’s take a look at The Bat and The Glove to see what made him the Reds top position prospect in 2011.
In 2011 at Triple-A, Mesoraco, hit .289 with 36 doubles, 2 triples and 15 HR good for a .180 IsoP. His K rate of 18.9% is good for a power hitter but his walk rate of 5.7% will need to be improved upon if he’s going to get good pitches to hit at the next level. But overall he has excellent hand eye coordination and should hit for a good average.
He has above average raw power and shows signs of it translating full time in the near future.
Mesoraco still gets mixed reviews behind the plate, but he has an abovea verage arm and his athleticism gives him sub 2.00 pop times. He was able to throw out 41% or base-stealers last season and the only thing that he has left to work on in his game, is handling a pitching staff.
Overall, Mesoraco, isn’t a bat first catcher that will be a stretch for success as a catcher. He’s an overall package with all of the physical tools needed to be a successful full time catcher. How good he’ll be with the bat is going to be determined by how patient of a hitter he can grow into.
His K rates through his career have been good, but when he makes jumps to new levels that rate tends to rise into dangerous territory. He’ll need to work deeper counts and take more walks, getting his walk rate into the 8%+ range, in order to get enough pitches to display his power.
If he can do that he has the ability to hit .285+ with 25 HR power. If not, his K rate will rise and he’ll end up a secondary catcher with power and just a decent ability to hit for average. As close as he is to the majors, there is still a wide range in possibilities here.
Ramon Hernandez should be out of the way in 2012, so Mesoraco should tandem with Ryan Hannigan and if he can avoid any prolonged slumps he may be able to endear himself to Dusty Baker. If not, expect the shot end of the workload with Hannigan. But in the long run, Mesoraco is the Reds catcher of the future.
Check back soon as we profile many more Top MLB Prospects and also get our baseball geek on and take a look at some of the later draft picks from the 2011 draft that we think could be big names on the prospect radars in the near future. While you’re here, take a look at our on going series Touch’em All | Appalachian League and be a step ahead of the game. Thanks for checking Baseball Instinct. We’re working hard to bring you the best of the minor leagues and make the site the best experience it can be. So don’t hesitate to tell us what you would like to read about. Email us now at firstname.lastname@example.org.