Baseball isn't a magic trick ... it doesn't get spoiled if you figure out how it works. - gonelong
I'm witchcrafting everybody.
What I see is a high school catcher who comes out & played in 40 games in the GCL and with well documented injuries to both thumbs, so right there I ain't expecting much for this kid right away. Then the next season instead of giving him the next eventual level (Billings) they go ahead push him to Low A at 19 years old. Now maybe I am just being nieve but a 19 yr old catcher with limited pro games under his belt plays Low A ball and is supposed to play better than he did? Maybe that's true but I'm not really sure how.
I went through all the Catchers for that league and found 2 kids who were comparable in both age and experience and who played comparable innings. Jose Felix for Clinton who was a little better defensively, a lot worse offensively but was pretty comparable overall. Same with Angel De Los Santos of Cedar Rapids. They both did have a better overall defensive showing but not so much so that you can take anything from it and neither hit like him Felix was closer but was .100 pts. shy on Slg%. After next year if he hasn't jumped leaps and bounds assuming he at least gets to start where he's familiar (Dayton) then I will start to worry.
"You can't let praise or criticism get to you. It's a weakness to get caught up in either one."
I think the kid needs to play more baseball at a higher level. I wonder what homework the Reds gave him after the season was over. He could stand to play some winter baseball.
If you have a losing record at Reds games, please stop going.
I saw Mesoraco play many times for the Dragons and while he didn't look like Jay Bruce out there, he clearly stood out from the rest of the team along with Soto. My uncle, who is not a big baseball fan, picked the two of them out as the best players on the team after watching just two games, and he had no idea who they were before he saw them.
What impressed me the most about Mesoraco were his baseball "instincts." I hate to use that term, because I know that they are the result of a lot of hard work and studying the game, and not actual instincts, however, he had them. He messed up the play sometimes, well more than sometimes, with his execution, but he always quick to know where to be, where to throw the ball, etc. on every play, which is more that I can say for nearly every other Dragon. In fact, he seemed like a true captain, yelling at other players where to go, or where not to go on many plays.
I saw nothing special with his bat, but I did see how he could become a strong defensive catcher once he matures and develops his skills more.
Is Mesoraco a sure thing? Hardly. But he's probably going to play in the major leagues as either a back-up or a starter at the most difficult position to adequately fill in the game. Does that merit a Top 15 pick? I don't think so, but the Reds certainly did.
Perhaps they get lucky and he pans out. Perhaps they draft over him this season.
"You can learn little from victory. You can learn everything from defeat."
-- Christy Matthewson
"Show me a good loser and I'll show you an idiot."
-- Leo Durocher
While I do respect the thought, effort, and professionalism that Doug puts into everything he posts, he and I disagree on Mesoraco's arm strength and raw tools. Jason Bour, the backup catcher on the Dayton team, clearly had a stronger arm, and Bour's arm strength would be rated by most as average. I do agree that many of Mesoraco's throwing problems relate to poor footwork. But I would go a step further. His poor foot work is a product of the difficulties he has in receiving the pitch. But in terms of just pure arm strength, this is not a plus tool for him in my opinion.
I do not think the conditioning element is much of a factor. The thumb might have been a problem. I asked him about this directly and he played down the thumb issue, but it sounded more like he just did want to make excuses. I would think the extrememly high number of times that the bat slips out of his hand on his swing could be tied to pain in the thumb as it always flies out at the exact same point (toward the third base on-deck circle) and that might be when the greatest pressure is on the thumb. If you have seen Mesoraco play more than a couple of games, you have probably seen what I am talking about.
Lollipopcurve, I might have given the wrong impression on something. I do not think Mesoraco necessarily has shaky confidence. I just think putting him at a level where he can have success would be a big boost, based on the fact that he hears all this stuff about how he was a bad draft pick and for a 20-year-old, that has to take a toll.
My summary opinion on Mesoraco is that his bat is way ahead of his defense, that I am not ready to give up on him totally, but that he is no better prospect than many of the guys on the field--just a young guy with some ability but with a long way to go. To me, he was about the seventh or eighth best prospect on that team.
As an afterthought, it should be pointed out that while Doug and I disagree, we are not the only ones. There is more disagreement over Mesoraco within the Reds organization than any other player in the whole system. There are people still saying that Mesoraco will be a major league starter, and there are experienced, credible people who are saying that Mesoraco would not even get to Double-A if not for the fact that he is a #1 pick. Some of this is political. If you are someone who put your reputation on the line when you scouted and/or drafted Mesoraco, you are going to be the guy who sees the most upside even though it could be wishful thinking. And who knows? Those people might turn out to be correct.
I'm witchcrafting everybody.
Good points, M2. But there are a lot of politics in baseball. What is the #1 goal of an elected official? To get re-elected, right? I remember talking to a scout last summer and he said that at the game the night before, he sat right next to Chris Buckley, and he said the whole night, Buckley was singing Mesoraco's praises, and the scout's take on that was that Buckley was probably catching a lot of heat on the Mesoraco pick and that was a defense mechanism. And in the Reds organization, you have a Farm Director who was the previous Scouting Director. And you've got the current Scouting Director who wants to save face and he is telling everyone that Mesoraco is still a great prospect. And other people don't want to rock the boat. One scout once described this as "the king and his clothes," you know, how everyone stands around and says the clothes look great on the king, who actually is not wearing clothes, until one person stands up and says, "I don't see anything."
Suffice to say, it was not a surprise to me that the Reds chose Mesoraco as their Instructional League MVP.
And again, I am trying to give those guys the benefit of the doubt. They are paid to do a job and their success will go a long way toward determining the Reds long term success.
It would be curious to me if the current scouting department is feeling like its entire rep rests on the Mesoraco pick. They've done a decent job under Buckley. They can sing the praises of high $$$ picks like Frazier, Soto, Alonso and Stewart. Why would they start blowing smoke about Mesoraco, unless he looked really bad (suggesting that the pick was incompetent)? After all, scouting folks can always turn the responsibility over to the development folks. And wouldn't it have been Reynolds and the development department that placed Mesoraco in Dayton? I don't see as how the scouting department would be in CYA mode over that decision...And in the Reds organization, you have a Farm Director who was the previous Scouting Director. And you've got the current Scouting Director who wants to save face and he is telling everyone that Mesoraco is still a great prospect. And other people don't want to rock the boat.
"Baseball is a very, very complex business. It's more of a people business than most businesses." - Bob Castellini
No, I agree that the whole rep would not rest on one player, but you do have a new GM who could bring in his own people and it is going to be most important to them that the guy to whom they gave the most money be viewed as a reasonable pick, especially if the kid starts getting criticized brutally and he has to explain. But no, one pick would not get someone fired. But it doesn't have to be that extreme for people to be worrying about covering their butts.
Yes, Reynolds would have the final say on placement with a lot of input from Benevides, all the managers, position coaches, and others.
I remember last April, there were rumors circulating that Mesoraco was so bad as a receiver that in spring training, they could not even use him to catch bullpen sessions. That would have been a pretty strong hit to the guy who drafted him if that had been true. For the record, he caught a ton of bullpens in Dayton.
You've given voice to what made me start this thread in the first place. BA is saying Mesoraco's not wearing any clothes. Frankly, we should have known that already, but we now have unbiased third party confirmation of it. The Reds need to sit down and start figuring out a better way to bring this kid along. They also need to address the question of whether Mesoraco is another Scott Heard, Ryan Christianson, Ryan Luzinski type.
For the reasons you mentioned, they probably won't, but we can at least be cognizant Mesoraco's star has been severely tarnished.
Last edited by M2; 12-19-2008 at 11:32 AM.
I'm witchcrafting everybody.
They also need to make a decision about his bat -it's very difficult to make it to the mlb while overcoming a huge limitation. It just does not happen unless there is pressure taken off the limitation (i.e. moving the player to another position). He may be able to fix the glove, but it will be at the exspense of the bat.
There's only so much time and resource. Move him to 1st base and move on.
There's a reason catcher's bats are often weak or late to develop- they spend much of their time and resouces learning how to catch and refining their craft on the defensive side of things.
This will obviously be an important year for Devin. I still like his bat. I think if he goes back to Dayton, he hits .300 with some power. Maybe his defense improves enough to at least not kill you.
Looking at those Baseball America throwing percentages, it reminds me of about 10 years ago when I got to see Ben Davis on a regular basis. The Reds, of course, just signed Ben as a pitcher after a failed major league career as a catcher. Ben spent most of the season up around the 60 percent mark in throwing out runners, but it was even better than that because once his reputation got around, the only guys who would even try to run on him were the absolute best base stealers in the league. And he was still throwing them out at 60 percent. He would totally take away that element of the opposing team's game. I think he finished the year at 57 percent if I remember correctly. Ben, unfortunately, just could not hit major league pitching. It was a shame. Ironically, like Devin, Ben was also a high school kid from Pennsylvania. It would be a great story if Ben made it as a pitcher with the Reds.