Those of you who have been reading my Coming Soon series over the past couple weeks please take note, as I would like to make a change. For those of you who haven’t read any posts, here’s a link by link look at what you’ve missed.
- #10: Kyle Gibson–Minnesota Twins
- #9: Zach McAllister–Cleveland Indians
- #8: Charlie Blackmon–Colorado Rockies
- #7: Lonnie Chisenhall/Jason Kipnis–Cleveland Indians
- #6: Dayan Viciedo–Chicago White Sox
- #5: Desmond Jennings–Tampa Bay Rays
- #4: Jesus Montero–New York Yankees
- #3: Mike Moustakas–Kansas City Royals
- #2: Dustin Ackley–Seattle Mariners
- #1: Brett Lawrie–Toronto Blue Jays
Now, I want you to take out your big red Sharpie and draw a line through McAllister’s spot and insert Cincinnati Reds catching prospect Devin Mesoraco.
While I was writing the McAllister article, I was experiencing pangs of guilt for leaving Mesoraco off of the list. Even when Zach Mac was pitching at the top of his game (7-0 record, 2.33 ERA), there wasn’t a lot of market buzz for his stuff. It was as if the rest of the collecting world was privy to the impending downfall and nobody bothered to tell me. McAllister promptly lost his next two games, including his most recent outing where he surrendered seven runs on 12 hits over five innings against Louisville. Who touched him up for three of those hits and drove in two runs?
Devin Mesoraco, of course.
So with a touch of humility, I’ll dig into my serving of crow and offer to you a side helping of Mesoraco. The Reds drafted the Punxsutawny, PA native out of high school with the 15th overall selection in the 2007 draft. Mesoraco was known then as a bat first, glove second backstop who had enormous power potential packed into his 6-1 22o lb. frame. After a couple of ho-hum seasons at Low and High-A stops, Mesoraco broke out big time last year, playing at three affiliates and hitting .302 with 26 HR and 75 RBI. The 2011 season has rendered even better numbers, as Devin is hitting .330 with 8 HR 39 RBI and has smacked 21 doubles in just 220 AB.
Cincinnati’s current cadre of backstops is headed by 35 year old former all-star Ramon Hernandez, followed by backup Ryan Hanigan who has essentially split time evenly with Hernandez this season. Hernandez signed a one-year, $3MM deal in the off-season and has enjoyed his best start in quite some time hitting .330 with 7 HR and 18 RBI in just 133 AB. Hanigan’s three-year, $4MM contract escalates to $1.2MM in 2012 and $2.05MM in 2013. The Reds could seek to ship Hernandez to a team in need of a solid veteran catcher, but at just 3.5 games out in the N.L. Central, they could be hesitant to hand over the pitching staff to a rookie backstop.
For prospectors, a delay in Devin Mesoraco’s major league debut is not a bad thing. First year autographs can be found in 2007 products like Bowman Chrome, Bowman Sterling and Donruss Elite Extra with prices ranging consistently from $13-18 in the current eBay market.
A popular non-autographed card of Mesoraco’s can be found in the newly released 2011 Bowman’s Best set. These cards generally can be had for less than $1 and can be found in smaller lots on occasion. Looking for a larger lot? The 2011 Topps Pro Debut cards make ideal eBay store items. These can usually be purchased at a unit price of 20-40 cents per unit. The nice thing about the eBay store features is the ability to list bulk quantities of cards in 30 day durations for one low listing price. I offer free shipping to people purchasing multiple cards, which gives a greater incentive for purchasing more than one card.
I don’t think that Devin Mesoraco will be called up during the month of June, but I would keep a finger in the air to monitor the trade winds in July. If there is a move made for either Ramon Hernandez or Ryan Hanigan, it will be likely that “Devin Mesoraco” and “major league debut” will be mentioned as well.