The Cincinnati Reds decided the time was right this offseason to finally give former first-round high school draft pick Devin Mesoraco the full-time catcher’s job. Ryan Hanigan was dealt before the season started, and Brayan Pena was signed as a free agent to back up Mesoraco for the 2014 season.
The move to elevate Mesoraco is paying dividends.
Mesoraco’s grand slam on Monday night marked the fourth straight game he’s played in which he’s homered. The four-game streak has been done 29 times in Reds history and includes names like not only Hall of Fame catcher Ernie Lombardi and Johnny Bench but also other greats of the game like Frank Robinson, Tony Perez, Ted Kluszewski, George Foster and Eric Davis.
Mesoraco is now poised to enter even more rarefied air if he can hit another homer in his next game. Only five Reds have hit long balls in five straight games: Bench, Kluszewski, Ken Griffey Jr., George Crowe and Adam Dunn.
Mesoraco is the fifth major leaguer to hammer out a four-game homer streak this year, joining George Springer, Adrian Gonzalez, Melky Cabrera and Mark Trumbo.
In addition to his current streak, Mesoraco is having an All-Star caliber season in his first year as the Reds’ primary catcher. Despite two stints on the disabled list that have limited him to just 42 games in the first half of 2014, Mesoraco ranks second among NL catchers in homers (13) and tied for fourth in RBIs (38). He’s also hitting .315 this year with a .384 OBP and a 1.035 OPS.
While the injuries may limit Mesoraco’s chance of selection to the All-Star game this year, his presence both at and behind the plate for the whole second half will factor into how well the Reds finish the year.