For Devin Mesoraco, his time has come. Mesoraco was the one in waiting under Dusty Baker’s leadership and only catched to specific pitchers. Baker may have believed in defense and Catcher’s ERA, but he forgot how good Meso was with offense. Since Baker’s departure, manager Bryan Price gave Mesoraco the opportunity to being the first catcher and shows what he is capable of doing. He’s done plenty in the 1st half of the 2014 season and it will be around for many years to come.
Recap 1st Half
Devin Mesoraco had started his 2014 season on a limp, by being put on the 15 Day DL, but made his season debut on April 8th in St. Louis. The season debut started with 2 doubles and a scoring one run on the basepaths. After that, absolute tear. In the whole month of April, Meso had a .468/.509/.787 stat line with a 259 wRC+, then another injury happened. On April 25th, Mesoraco was rounding third and pulled his hamstring rounding the bases, he ended up scoring, but was immediately pulled from the game and went on the 15 Day DL. Mesoraco returned on May 16th and regressed towards his career line, but was still productive. From May16th up to the All-Star Break, the stat line was .256/.335/.556 with a wRC+ of 143. Mesoraco played only 60 games, but it was either shared plate time with Brayan Pena or a normal day off.
The shared time of day off can affect how many Home Runs, Runs Batted In and runs are scored in a game. If the paces are correct, here are potential numbers for Mesoraco.
60 games (CURRENT)
88 GAMES (4 STARTS OUT OF 5; DAY OFF OR SHARED TIME)
95 GAMES (NO DAYS OFF)
2ND HALF? (NO DAYS OFF; 127 GAMES)
Compare and Contrast
Since this story is all about the 1st half and being an All-Star. It’s time to compare our National League All-Stars in Yadier Molina, Jonathan Lucroy, Miguel Montero and Devin Mesoraco. The Home Runs, Runs and RBI are somewhat special, but what about BB%, K %, BABIP, wRC+ and WAR?
The Chart Below:
|Y MOLINA||6.6 (4)||12.5 (2)||.310 (3)||110 (3)||2.5 (3)|
|J LUCROY||10.2 (1)||11.0 (1)||.337 (2)||143 (2)||3.7 (1)|
|M MONTERO||9.7 (2)||17.9 (3)||.291 (4)||107 (4)||1.7 (4)|
|D MESORACO||8.2 (3)||23.4 (4)||.341 (1)||170 (1)||2.9 (2)|
Mesoraco is seeing the ball better and most scouting reports look at the K% as a factor of pitching more towards the plate. It’s not always the best award to always win, but consider that Meso gets to see more balls come to the plate versus outside pitches. Mesoraco sees the ball, but the LD% (23.4) is second to Molina (24.7) in All-Stars.
Mesoraco is hitting .304/.375/.609 with a wOBA of .420 and wRC+ of 170, all the stat lines are improvements because he’s been given the chance to hit.
Mesoraco is above his career average in BA, OBP,SLG all because of opportunity given by Bryan Price. Mesoraco could be the Johnny Bench of the 21st century, all know what Bench did with the Cincinnati Reds.
One thing that Mesoraco has improved on from 2013 is taking bases. 2012 was no exception of 9.2%, with limited playing time, but with 103 games in 2013, he had a 6.8% BB Rate. The improvement of taking a walk went up only 1.4% in 2014, and is currently at 8.2%.
As noting the improvements that Mesoraco has made with offense in 2014 is BABIP. In the 4 Major League Seasons, he went from .184 to .341.
For those that don’t know BABIP, it’s Batting Average on Balls in Play, which is all about: Defense, Luck and Changes in Talent Level, Fangraphs has more on BABIP.
Line Drive Percentage
Likewise towards improvements is the LD%. In each season, Mesoraco has gone from a 15.0% LD in 2011 to 23.4% LD in 2014. Red Leg Nation columnist Steve Mancuso points out about Line Drive Percentage, more runs are created per out hitting line drives.
One surprise for Reds fans is seeing Mesoraco is the ball out of the park, hitting 16 career home runs from 2011-2013 by hitting 16 home runs in 2014. One of the big factors in that is the HR/
FB ratio. From 2011-2013, he was in the 10.0-11.1% ratio, so 1 home run every 9 to 10 fly balls. Now in 2014, it’s at a 23.9% ratio which makes it 1 home run to every 4 fly balls. The 2014 rate could be in a 5 number summary and be an outlier or possibly within quartile range.
For Mesoraco to improve his offensive style of play, he had to learn to avoid taking more pitches in the plate versus outside the plate. The O-Swing% in 2011 was at an all-time high of 43.6%, but in 2014 he’s at 33.2%, hasn’t been this low since 2012 at 32.4%. Mesoraco is above average in the O-Swing category, which is at 30%
One of the cons of Mesoraco’s offense is the SwStr%, which is currently at 14.0%. The first three seasons for Meso were around 9.2-9.8%. Mesoraco is considered above in this statistic with the average at 8.5%
What The Internet Says about Mesoraco?
In a feature article on Numberfire.Com, the article states the common things found at the plate.
“There’s nothing that jumps out as wildly different about Mesoraco’s approach, and it’s hard to point to one thing that he’s actively doing differently than he has in the past”
The article simply states that he is “hitting the ball harder and farther this season”. Other stats listed on the article are ground to fly ball ratio, and says that those stats factor and how hard and farther his ball goes.
For an analysis, Cincinnati Enquirer’s Sports Columnist Paul Daugherty spoke to Johnny Bench about Mesoraco and what he sees from him on his game
“He absorbs…He’s tough, mentally and physically. He has been focused from the time I met him”
Bench mentioned all facets of Mesoraco’s game, from catching behind the plate and hitting the ball.
Mesoraco may be from little famous town known as Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, but he is a groundhog that has come out of nowhere and put in a big contribution for the 2014 Reds.