I am always amazed when a young catcher is able to win the backup catching job over an established veteran. Devin Mesoraco has done just that by beating out veteran Miguel Olivo for the Cincinnati Reds backup catcher job. His offense has shown promise this spring but perhaps the most impressive thing he has displayed has been his arm. It might earn him more playtime than a standard backup would get.
The Reds apparently use their backup catcher more than a lot of clubs. Even though Mesoraco is listed as the backup catcher, he is slated to catch two of the five starting pitchers for the Reds. To me that sounds a lot more like splitting catching duties than a pronounced starter and backup type system. Mesoraco fits the role well though. He has the arm to throw out any base stealer in the major leagues and has a bat that is steady getting better with each season.
I don’t think he would be ready for an everyday job just yet, but with the way the Reds play their backup, it won’t be long. I actually think that he could be starting material by the end of this season. It will be interesting to watch Mesoraco develop and to see how Dusty Baker and the Reds react to it. Perhaps within a few years, the backup will become the starter full time. He already has the arm for it and then some. Probably be the end of this season, his bat will have progressed enough to put him in a tough decision for the Reds at catcher.