The 2012 campaign wasn't so kind to Devin Mesoraco. He was widely heralded as one of the top rookies entering the season, yet he failed to live up to the hype. Fellow rookies Todd Frazier and Zack Cozart overshadowed the young catcher, instead.
However, 2013 brings forth a clean slate for the former first round pick. While many fans have pumped the brakes on their enthusiasm for Mesoraco, still there are others who are quite high on him. Count Paul Swydan of FanGraphs as on the members of the latter group.
Swydan recently dubbed the 24-year old as one of "Five Players Being Overlooked" and undervalued by their respective teams. Here is what he had to say about the Pennsylvania native:
Devin Mesoraco, C, Cincinnati Reds
Even though he entered last season as one of the top prospects in the game, Mesoraco was never really given a chance to crack manager Dusty Baker's lineup on a regular basis. He actually had a productive April, when he hit .300/.389/.433 in 11 games, nine of which he started. But after that ninth start on April 27, during which Mesoraco smacked his first homer of the season, his backstop partner Ryan Hanigan started the next three games and seven of the next 10 overall. Mesoraco wouldn't start in back-to-back games again until after the All-Star break.
So while Mesoraco hit an uninspiring .193/.264/.333 from May until the end of the season, he was never really given a proper chance to establish himself. Despite the poor season line, though, Mesoraco still showed a great batting eye, and if given the chance to play on a regular basis, the future star may shine through.
Solution: Give Mesoraco more playing time
Mesoraco should indeed see more action this year after appearing in just 54 games during '12. A bout of concussion-like symptoms and a short suspension kept him out of a portion of the schedule. However, the primary reason for his lack of playing time was due to Ryan Hanigan's solid performance both behind the plate and beside of it. Hanigan clubbed his way to a .274/.365/.338 slash line in 112 games. He also gunned down a league-best 48.5 percent of base stealers in 2012.
Hanigan is entering the final season of a 2-year contract which will pay him approximately $2 million in base salary this year. It is unknown whether or not the team will actively attempt to re-sign the veteran after the season, but Mesoraco will have to be ready for full-time duties if they don't.
Expect to see more of Mesoraco in 2013.