Devin Mesoraco had a chance to come out of Spring Training with as the Cincinnati Reds‘ primary catcher in 2012, but faltered when it counted, posting a disappointing .250/.295/.450 in the pre-season schedule, and spent most of the 2012 season as a backup.
This season, the team’s former top hitting prospect is wasting no time making a case to win that starting job.
The Reds offense was alive and well in its Cactus League opener, putting together 10 runs on 13 hits in a losing effort against the Cleveland Indians, so it’s not as though the rest of the team was taking the day off at the plate.
It was, however, Mesoraco’s two-run homer that made the loudest impression. The 24-year old entered the game to replace his Ryan Hanigan, his biggest competitor, in the fourth inning, and made good on the lone at-bat on this day, smashing a Joe Martinez pitch into left field to cap a four-run inning for the Reds.
Considering that Hanigan, the incumbent catcher for the team, had already showed his worth in the first inning of the game with a two-run double, you could say that Meso’s first homer of Spring Training was a much-needed response on his quest to becoming the team’s catcher on Opening Day.
It was also an important hurdle for the young catcher to clear, as Mesoraco did not homer at all in the 2012 Spring Training schedule.
He’s going to have to show more than just power, too. Though Hanigan is a light-hitting catcher with little power, the 32-year old veteran will have the inside track to the starting job this year, especially after coming off a career-best 2.9 fWAR season that saw him hit .274 at the plate.
Yes, the team would certainly love to have Mesoraco’s 20-home run power in the lineup, but not at a .212/.288/.352 triple-slash that would be hurting the offense more often than not. Fortunately for the former top prospect, his perfect start at the plate in Spring Training has already put him one step ahead compared to where he was last season.
Your move, Ryan Hanigan.