Devin Mesoraco was supposed to be a star catcher in Cincinnati after being selected with the 15th pick in the first round of the 2007 draft. When prospect rankings came out each year, his name was constantly among the top minor league catchers in the game, but early on he struggled to succeed while splitting time behind the plate. This season he has been handed the catching duties, and has taken off. Here is a look at how he has developed from a prospect, to a part-timer, and finally to a star.
After being drafted at 19 years old, Mesoraco initially faltered. He batted just .219 in rookie ball and was not much better during his next two minor league seasons. But in 2010, Mesoraco exploded at the plate. At the age of 22 he had his best minor league season, where he not only batted .302 for the season, but he was also able to advance from high A level all the way to AAA Louisville. During this season, he also showcased his power by driving 26 homeruns out of the park.
Because of this monster season, Mesoraco began receiving notice nationally. For the next two seasons, MLB.com, Baseball America, and Baseball Prospectus ranked him as one of the top 100 prospects in baseball and among the game’s best young catchers.
During 2011, he continued to excel as he worked toward a promotion. While playing a full season in AAA, Mesoraco put up excellent offensive numbers as a catcher. He batted .289 in 120 games while launching 15 homeruns.
Entering 2012, Mesoraco was given a chance to play in the major leagues by splitting time with catcher, Ryan Hanigan. Playing in this role was a great struggle for Mesoraco as he seemed to never get going at the plate. During the 2012 season, Mesoraco appeared in just 54 games and he was only able to have 165 at-bats. This limited play virtually amounted to a wasted season, as he batted just .212. The next season he was still not able to get into a rhythm at the plate due to the platoon.
This season while much of the Reds offense has struggled, Mesoraco has been a force. Through his first 43 games, he is already off to career highs in homeruns and close to his highest RBI totals. With a .320 batting average to begin the year, Mesoraco has eclipsed his career batting numbers by nearly 80 points. He has fully lived up to the player that he was expected to be.
Devin Mesoraco was always expected to be a star, and now that he has gotten a chance to play full-time he has lived up to his potential. He could have easily given up after two years of struggle, but by persevering through hard times he has potential to be viewed among one of the best backstops in the league by season’s end.
Statistics Provided by Baseball Reference