Sunday, March 25, 2012

2012 projections: Devin Mesoraco

Mesoraco is expected to occupy the area
behind home plate for many years to
come in the Queen City

It's not often that an organization boasts a catcher as its top prospect, but that's exactly the case for the Reds with Devin Mesoraco. In fact, MLB.com rated the 23-year old as the second-best catching prospect in all of baseball and no. 14 overall in their 2012 Prospect Watch rankings. All of this adds up to lofty expectations for the youngster as he prepares for his first full season in the bigs.

The former first round pick got his first taste of the majors at the tailend of last season, but struggled in the 50 at-bats he received (.180 BA, .226 OBP, 10 Ks). However, that small sample size should in no way suggest that he's offensively challenged. The no. 16 rated prospect by Baseball America batted .289/.371/.484 with 15 HR, 71 RBIs and a staggering 36 doubles in 499 plate appearances in Triple-A last season. Can he carry over that success to the big show in 2012?

To help give us a better idea of whether or not he can, I've compiled projections from three various sources. They are as follows:

RC: rotochamp.com
ZiPS: baseballthinkfactory.org
ESPN: espn.com

Here are their respective projections for Mez:

RC: .249/.295/.449, 15 HR, 46 RBIs, 38 RS
ZiPS: .248/.322/.432, 17 HR, 68 RBIs, 30 2B
ESPN: .245/.311/.422, 12 HR, 42 RBIs, 37 RS

I think these projections are a pretty realistic expectation for him this season. He may struggle a bit, and his numbers will be diminished some because of sharing time with Ryan Hanigan, but I still believe he'll produce a respectable amount of offense. And even if he doesn't, Reds fans need not worry. Being a big league catcher entails far more knowledge and work than any other position on the diamond, thus that's why clubs don't usually rely on a ton of offense from their backstops. Mez is still learning the trade and will continue to develop into an all-around, All-Star caliber catcher in due time.

And in case you missed it...

You can view past player projections by clicking on the following links:
Jay Bruce
Joey Votto
Brandon Phillips
Johnny Cueto
Ryan Madson
Mat Latos
Bronson Arroyo
Homer Bailey
Mike Leake
Scott Rolen
Drew Stubbs
Chris Heisey
Ryan Ludwick
Sean Marshall
Aroldis Chapman
Zack Cozart

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