Sounds like a good pick.
Most Vottomatic Player
Reds go with catcher in first round
Power-hitting Mesoraco selected as 15th overall pick
By Mark Sheldon / MLB.com
ST. LOUIS -- Still playing in the Pennsylvania high school baseball playoffs, catcher Devin Mesoraco had Thursday's postgame activity all planned.
Mesoraco and Punxsutawney High School won their quarterfinals game and repaired to Zach's Sports and Spirits restaurant in Altoona, Pa. It didn't take long for the 18-year-old to learn he was the Reds' first-round pick in the 2007 First-Year Player Draft.
"We finished the game and hurried over here, so we could watch the Draft," said Mesoraco, who was selected 15th overall. "It was awesome. The whole team and half the town were here, watching the game. We knew a little bit before. But as soon as the pick went on, it was pure joy. I couldn't ask for anything else."
Mesoraco, who was 0-for-1 with three walks in the 7-0 win over Lewistown, was the first catcher taken in the first round by Cincinnati since Dan Wilson in 1990. He was only the third first-round catcher taken in the organization's history.
There was only one pro scout on hand in Altoona to watch Mesoraco during Thursday's game. It was Jeff Brookens from the Reds.
"It gave us a little indication there. It's a dream come true," Mesoraco said. "Cincinnati, you can't ask for anything else."
A 6-foot-1, 195-pound player who bats right-handed, Mesoraco had his 2006 season partially derailed because of Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery. He blew out his elbow pitching during his sophomore year and had a ligament replaced during the Aug. 31, 2005, procedure.
Mesoraco said he was 100 percent by the start of the season. He estimated 15-20 scouts were watching him play in the early games and when he showed superb arm strength, his stock shot up.
"That's when I realized, 'Hey, we can go pretty far with this thing, and, hopefully, be a first-round pick.' It worked out," said Mesoraco, who was batting .467 with four home runs and 21 RBIs in 2007.
Draft 2007 | Complete Coverage
The Gatorade Pennsylvania High School Player of the Year, Mesoraco already has a scholarship to play baseball for the University of Virginia. But on the heels of his selection, he had no intention of matriculating in Charlottesville.
"Right now, that's in the background," said Mesoraco, who will turn 19 on June 19. "Being a Cincinnati Red is definitely in the foreground. I just want to get out and play. Hopefully, as soon as we can do it, that's when it will be done."
If and when that happens, Mesoraco will become instantly wealthy. The Reds' 2006 top pick and eighth-overall selection, outfielder Drew Stubbs, received a $2 million bonus last summer. The 2005 first-round pick, outfielder Jay Bruce, received a $1.8 million bonus after being taken at No. 12.
Mesoraco grew up a Pirates fan and counted former Pittsburgh catcher Jason Kendall as someone he modeled his game after. But knowing he had a chance to play for the team where Johnny Bench had a Hall of Fame career had Mesoraco aiming high.
"He's what everyone else tries to be," Mesoraco said. "Everybody tries to be Johnny Bench. He's the best catcher all-time. It's just a great honor coming to an organization that had a great catcher like that."
With its first-round sandwich pick, No. 34 overall, Cincinnati selected shortstop Todd Frazier out of Rutgers University. The pick was compensation for the Giants signing Rich Aurilia as a free agent.
Frazier, who was a member of the 1998 Little League World Series championship team from Toms River, N.J., batted .347 with 42 homers and 128 RBIs in his three-year career at Rutgers. He was a National Player of the Year finalist and a member of the 2007 USA national team.
"I was just anxious to see where I'd go," said Frazier, who watched the Draft on television at home with 25-30 friends and family. "It's been a great day so far. When I got the call that I was the 34th pick, it was great. Everyone was excited and going crazy."
Another article on Devin Mesoraco:
Punxsy star has scouts flocking to BCB
By Philip Cmor, firstname.lastname@example.org
Major surgery is never a good thing. For Punxsutawney’s Devin Mesoraco, though, “Tommy John” rotator cuff surgery might have actually worked to his advantage in the long run.
Mesoraco was a promising multi-sport athlete for the Chucks when he sustained the injury while pitching in the playoffs at the end of his sophomore season. The operation that followed on Aug. 31, 2005 limited his athletic activities for the next 10 months to being a designated hitter in baseball.
That sport has turned out to be his calling, however, and the injury just might have made him focus even more on the diamond than he had been before. Now Mesoraco has baseball scouts flocking to Jefferson County in droves, and it looks like he’ll be picked in the first five rounds of the Major League Baseball draft in June.
It’s possible he could go as high as the first round.
“It’s pretty hectic,’’ Mesoraco, who has seen more than 20 scouts at some of his games, said, “but I’m still going out there and playing my game.’’
A large number of scouts are expected to be on hand today at Blair County Ballpark to watch Mesoraco and Punxsy take on 2005 tourney champion Hollidaysburg in the first round of the Dean Patterson Curve Classic. The game is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. as the fourth and final opening-round contest. The tournament will run through Sunday.
Hollidaysburg has its own prospect attracting scouts in third baseman Brett Weibley. But Golden Tiger coach Jon Szynal has a healthy respect when in comes to Mesoraco.
“We haven’t gotten him out in three years. We’ve beaten them twice, but we haven’t gotten him out,’’ Szynal said.
Szynal’s not alone. Despite being pitched around for much of this spring for the 4-3 Chucks, Mesoraco, a 6-foot-1, 200-pound catcher, is batting .550 in the leadoff spot with two home runs and nine runs scored. He’s been walked nine times.
That doesn’t even take into account Mesoraco’s defense.
“The most impressive thing is the distances he throws guys out by,’’ Punxsy coach Paul Hetrick said. “I can only remember one runner trying to steal on him this year, and he was thrown out by so much.’’
Mesoraco is already being compared to former major leaguer John Mizerock as the best baseball player Punxsutawney has produced. The attention he’s getting isn’t just in-state, either: Baseball America had Mesoraco on its preseason All-America third team this year — that list is based on polling of major league scouting directors.
Currently, Baseball America rates Mesoraco as the fourth-best high school catching prospect and the 10th-best catching prospect overall for this draft. Associate editor Alan Matthews brought up the name of the Altoona Curve’s Neil Walker when discussing Mesoraco’s tools and potential.
“He’s showed an ability to catch and throw that’s at least average. But, he’s not your typical catcher,’’ Matthew said. “He has quick twitch muscle movement and is very athletic. He has a chance at the pro level.
“You don’t find guys like him very often.’’
Mesoraco seems to have been born to play baseball. His father, Doug, was a catcher at IUP and coached the American Legion team in Punxsutawney.
“I’ve been playing as long as I can remember. My father would bring me to the field, and I’d be the batboy,’’ Mesoraco said.
Even then, Mesoraco was doing extraordinary things.
“I remember Devin being about 5 years old hanging around the team with a little glove,’’ said Curve Classic tournament coordinator and Curve director of communications Jason Dambach, a 1994 Punxsutawney grad who play Legion ball for Doug Mesoraco. “We would fire baseballs as high as we could throw and he would catch them. I remember being amazed at how coordinated he was at that age.’’
Now, no one is amazed.
“We just take it for granted,’’ Hetrick said.
Mesoraco said the interest in him really skyrocketed last summer. Fully recovered from his surgery, he went around the country to play in tournaments and showcases like the East Coast Professional Showcase and the Area Code Games.
He said there were 200-300 scouts at the East Coast Showcase.
“I think they like my athleticism,’’ Mesoraco said.
Mesoraco said no teams in particular seem to be showing a great deal more interest in him than any other, and, while he grew up a Pirate fan who likened his game to Jason Kendall, he has no preference on who takes him in the MLB Draft. He’s already committed to Virginia, though, so he will have a big decision this summer.
“Right now, I’m still planning on going to Virginia,’’ Mesoraco said. “I’ll just wait and see what happens in June.’’
If you have a losing record at Reds games, please stop going.
More from a Pittsburgh paper, the Pirates were seriously considering this kid with the number 4 pick.
We certainly are looking for the best player available," Littlefield said. "In any draft, with any team, much like you're evaluating their hitting skills and pitching skills, signability is a part of the equation with who you select."
That could benefit the player rising fastest on draft boards. Punxsutawney catcher Devin Mesoraco has rocketed from 64th to 24th in Baseball America's rankings this spring and is targeted even higher, at No. 16, by Baseball Prospectus.
Mesoraco worked out for the Pirates at PNC Park Sunday, and Littlefield watched Mesoraco play Monday in Butler, when the Chucks eliminated previously undefeated West Allegheny from the PIAA Class AAA playoffs. Creech said yesterday that Mesoraco, a University of Virginia recruit, has proven worthy of the fourth overall pick.
"Absolutely," Creech said. "Obviously, you can read into it as much as you want, but I don't think Dave Littlefield would have been there the day we were sealing our scouting meetings if he wasn't good enough to be there."
More to the point, Mesoraco's family has indicated that it would be willing to negotiate in good faith, much the same way Pine-Richland catcher Neil Walker did when the Pirates chose him 11th overall in 2004.
"Signability is not going to be a problem," said Doug Mesoraco, Devin's father. "We're well aware of the bonus structure. We've been asked many times about it and our answer has been, 'As long as the teams are fair.' "
If you have a losing record at Reds games, please stop going.
"Oh meso raco....Oh meso raco... Oh Oh meso raco....me love you long time..."
0 Value Over Replacement Poster
"Sit over here next to Johnathan (Bench)...sit right here, he's smart."--Sparky Anderson
I think "Messy" is a good nickname for this guy.
Hugs, smiling, and interactive Twitter accounts, don't mean winning baseball. Until this community understands that we are cursed to relive the madness.
So the TJ surgery is from almost two years ago, and he ended up needing it because he was pitching. Good info to have.
4th ranked high school catcher and 10th overall? hmmm... I'm hoping that article is old...
"There is a great man who makes every man feel small. But the real great man is the man who makes every man feel great." G.K Charleston
This pick will help the organization's diversity, since as a Punxsatawney native, Mesoraco is a groundhog worshipper.
"A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it."
Devin, family and friends react to the news he was drafted by the Reds
If you have a losing record at Reds games, please stop going.
Keith Law's analysis:
Mesoraco is a raw but toolsy catcher, a strong kid with excellent power. As a catcher, he has a short, easy throwing motion with above-average arm strength. He's also a plus athlete with good agility. Mesoraco has outstanding potential.
I love this guy. Even if he doesn't pan out, he's pushed all the right buttons to be likable. The "running like Forrest Gump" button is possibly my favorite.
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