“The first couple of years of struggling helped me, not that I want to do it again,” said Mesoraco, the 15th overall pick in the 2007 Draft. “I always knew it was a matter of time before things started to click. I wasn’t worried. It was a matter of getting experience. I tried not to let it get to me.”
A .240 hitter with 18 home runs through his first three professional seasons, Mesoraco took his game to another level in 2010 — actually, through three levels. He batted a combined .302 with 26 homers, 75 RBIs and a .377 on-base percentage at Class A Lynchburg, Double-A Carolina and Triple-A Louisville.
Defensively, Mesoraco caught 41 percent of runners attempting to steal, an improvement from 30 percent in 2009 and just 17 percent in ’08. There is still improvement to be made behind the plate as he also had 13 passed balls.
Mesoraco earned an invitation to the Arizona Fall League, usually a proving ground for elite prospects who can smell the big leagues.
“He had an outstanding year. He had success at every level,” Reds general manager Walt Jocketty said. “You could see it at Spring Training that he had turned a corner and became the prospect we thought he’d be when he was drafted. We’ll see where he stands at Spring Training next year. There’s not much more we could have asked of him.”
The Reds have an interesting situation developing at the catcher position. Obviously, Ryan Hanigan and Ramon Hernandez were very good at that spot in 2010, and I expect both of those guys to be around next year. Mesoraco should start the season at AAA Louisville, but what if he’s ready sooner rather than later? What if the Reds feel that he’s ready mid-way through 2011? Further, what if 2010 first-rounder Yasmani Grandal, also a catcher, is as good as advertised?
Wow, that’s a logjam, and it provides the Reds some flexibility. Yet another reason to be excited about the future of this club.
For the record, there can be no question that Mesoraco’s breakthrough season was a direct result of joining us on the Redleg Nation Radio podcast before the season. It’s just a fact.