Two of the best catching prospects in the majors right now are about to make an impact on their respective major league rosters in 2012, and fantasy owners should take notice. Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco, barring an injury, will be the starting catcher in Cincinnati this season. On the other hand, Blue Jays catching prospect Travis d'Arnaud may need to wait a few months, via some AAA seasoning, before getting the call to the big league team.
I was reading Keith Law's chat over at ESPN on Thursday afternoon, and came across this Q & A:
I have to agree with Law here, but I may be biased, as I own Mesoraco in an NL-Only keeper league. Catchers who can hit for a good average and solid power are few and far between, which makes them very valuable in MLB as well as in fantasy baseball.
Like I mentioned previously, Mesoraco will be starting the 2012 season as the Reds starting catcher, with Ryan Hanigan backing him up. d'Arnaud will start the season in AAA, as he is currently blocked by 2011 call up J.P. Arencibia, although d'Arnaud is considered the better all around catcher, providing value at the plate and behind it.
John's thoughts on Mesoraco and d'Arnaud and more after the jump:
John has not published his Top 20 Reds prospects for 2012 yet, but this is what he wrote about Mesoraco in his Cincinatti Reds Top 20 PRESEASON Prospects in Review back in late July:
2) Devin Mesoraco, C, Grade B+: Hitting .305/.376/.496 with 38 walks, 73 strikeouts in 351 at-bats for Triple-A Louisville. Has caught 25% of runners. Very strong year confirms '10 was not a fluke.
Mesoraco did prove that his breakout in 2010 was no fluke, as he continued to hit for average and power, yet his
SLG indicates some dropoff as he moved up a level. His home runs dropped from 26 in 2010 to 15 in 2011, yet his
doubles dropped from 36 to 25. Even with the power dropoff, Mesoraco maintained a solid eye at the plate as he
walked in just over 10% of his at bats. I wonder if John will maintain his B+ ranking or he pushes him to an A- for 2012.
Here are Devin Mesoraco's career minor league stats, courtesy of Baseball-Reference:
1) Travis D'Arnaud, C, Grade B+: Borderline A-: He would be an A- or maybe even an A if he was more effective at throwing out runners and struck out less often, but he can really hit and is still a superior prospect even with those weaknesses.