23 Years and Counting...
All I know is Mesoraco was indeed less than healthy last year. I give him this year to pass judgement. (I expect that to be at Billings, whose season begins 6/17 BTW). What I want to know is, can anyone explain what's up with Cech? He started the season strong at the plate at least, and then seemingly quit playing. Was he hurt? Did he get homesick or something? Anybody from Sarasota know what's up?
However, I'm not sure that's really the point when it comes to such a young Catching prospect. Teenage Catchers are a lot like young Shortstops in that many end up being forced off the position due to the defensive difficulty involved. And even more advanced Catchers reported to have "MLB" defensive ability when drafted (see: Sardinha, Dane) wash out if they don't project to hit.
To protect against potential positional move, a teenage Catcher drafted that early better project to hit well regardless of position- especially if said Catcher has already had Tommy John surgery and hand issues. Seriously, the hand issues concern me and although TJ surgery certainly isn't a death knell, it's still an item of interest.
Our own JinAZ posted his thoughts on the trade at his web site and even cited BP's Rany Jazayerli's examples of how HS Catcher picks have produced much better value from 1992 through 1999 than they did from 1984 to 1991. The examples cited were Jason Kendall, A.J. Pierzynski, Paul Konerko, and Justin Morneau. Yet only two of those players actually made the Show still at the Catcher position. Only one did it after being drafted prior to the second round. Here's how the Catchers drafted prior to the 2nd round broke down from 1992 through 1999:
Year: Player (Pick#) <College/HS>:
1992: Jason Kendall (#23) <HS>
1992: Charles Johnson (#28) <College>
1994: Paul Konerko (#13) <HS>
1994: Jason Varitek (#14) <College>
1994: Ramon Castro (#17) <HS>
1994: Mark Johnson (#26) <HS>
1995: Ben Davis (#4) <HS>
1997: Jayson Werth (#22) <HS>
1997: Matt LeCroy (#50) <College>
1998: Jeff Winchester (#40) <HS>
1999: Eric Munson (#3) <College>
1999: Ryan Christianson (#11) <HS>
1999: Nick Trzesniak (#51) <HS>
Total High School Catchers Drafted: 9
Total College Catchers Drafted: 4
From that list, the only pre-2nd Round HS Catcher who's really made good in the Show at the Catcher was Kendall, who was drafted in 1992. That's a success rate of 11%. Even if we add Mauer we're only at 20%. Of the College catchers, 50% have produced solid careers (C. Johnson, Varitek), but Jeff Clement has a decent chance of pushing the College group to a 60% success rate. Yet Mauer was a #1 pick and Clement a #3 selection in their respective first rounds. Right now Mauer is the only High School Catcher I know of drafted in the first fifteen picks who's done anything of note in the Show as a Catcher during the period of review.
In the end, drafting a Catcher prior to the second round isn't a good idea and it appears to be a horrible idea if you're taking one at pick 15 regardless of whether they're a HS or College player. They appear to be consistently over-drafted, much like HS pitchers who aren't obviously the best arm in the draft who are taken in the top 10.
If the Reds used the 15th pick in the draft, considering that team draft boards never run in sync, I'd suggest that the Reds had Mesaraco much higher on their own draft board. And that's kind of a tragedy especially after they passed on Tim Lincecum the year before to select an "if he hits" Center Fielder.
Last edited by SteelSD; 04-14-2008 at 12:00 AM.
"The problem with strikeouts isn't that they hurt your team, it's that they hurt your feelings..." --Rob Neyer
"The single most important thing for a hitter is to get a good pitch to hit. A good hitter can hit a pitch that’s over the plate three times better than a great hitter with a ball in a tough spot.”
I don't have much to say but....
You know how Bowden loved those toolsy players and just tried to load the system with them. I think it's a bad idea to base your future on tools. Some will pan out, but they're called toolsy because they have a lot of flaws and a lot of work needed to be done. A balance of tools and polish is needed. I'm against taking any "toolsy" top round pick unless those tools largely outweigh the polish player. I'm not even talking about HS vs. College. Give me a control GB pitcher with moderate K rates over a 100MPH flamethrower with a violent delivery and a 2:1 K:BB ratio. Another thing is while polish is good, upside has to be considered. Mesaraco appears to have some polish in his game. At the very least he's a very solid defensive catcher so we don't have to worry about that. It's way too early to tell. Stubbs was a horrible pick though, not just because of Lincicum. Not only is Stubbs basically mostly tools, he's also a college player. At least the org can work with Mes for 3-4 years just to reach the age where Stubbs was drafted. Stubbs has limited upside and is already past his development where he can easily make the major changes he needs to make. If the organization is run well, I'd rather mold a toolsy HS pick than a toolsy college pick.
so how long do you guys think they will move Mesoraco from behind the dish if he doesn't pan out ?
I also think he can't be evaluated yet unless you saw him day in and day out last summer. His stats don't tell you much at all because he was injured and a first year HS draftee. If he's in Billings, which I expect, then the Reds feel he is progressing. If he repeats in the GCL then that's likely a trouble sign.
I defended him as a player earlier in this thread, but I agree he was poor pick at #15. Now the Reds have him, I just think the pick argument is moot. Now it's all about him succeeding or not.
Last edited by gedred69; 04-14-2008 at 08:35 PM. Reason: addition
At this point, if he did as well as Charles Johnson, I'd take that. At this point, I don't see it happening.
I never liked the pick one iota to begin with, and I haven't seen anything that has shown me a glimpse that it was worth it. I don't want it to take 7-9 years for a #15 pick to reach the Majors where he's productive at the Major League level, and that's what it's looking like at this point is his "upside". I want a #15 pick to be knocking on the door at least in his 5th year, and if he was a college player, then in his 3rd year.
Good luck to him.
Yeah, Mesoraco didn't hit well in his first half-season of pro ball, but from what I remember he was very good defensively. Given that he's playing a defensively-oriented position, I think that should be noted and looked at more often than it has been by some. Factor in that he did it with two bad thumbs, and it's even more cause for optimism.