Devin Mesoraco is coming back from a hip injury that essentially cost him the entire 2015 season. New Cincinnati Enquirer Reds beat writer Zach Buchanan has up a nice article on Mesoraco from Saturday, which you should absolutely go read. Two things really jumped out to me from the article though.
The first thing is that Devin Mesoraco has only caught six total innings from the pitchers that seem to be in the battle for the rotation to open the season and they all belong to Anthony DeSclafani. With Mesoraco likely being a guy who catches four or five days a week there will be a lot of learning on the job with the pitchers. How Bryan Price managed the workload of Mesoraco in the spring will be worth watching.
The second thing was how Mesoraco approached John Lamb. This spring, Lamb decided he was going to try a new grip with his change up. Here’s what Mesoraco had to say:
John, your change-up is really good. There’s really no reason you should try to do something different. Your change-up was very successful last year,’” Mesoraco said. “I printed out a sheet of paper and gave it to him. He said, ‘Yeah, that kind of makes sense.
Fangraphs actually ranks his change up as below-average. That of course doesn’t mean that it’s a below-average pitch, but that during the season it was below-average and that could be for reasons that don’t involve movement or results of the pitch when he throws it in the zone. If a pitch msses the zone too often, and guys aren’t chasing it, then it’s going to be rated poorly.
At Brooks Baseball, they describe the change up by Lamb as this:
His change is an extreme flyball pitch compared to other pitchers’ changeups, has below average velo and generates more whiffs/swing compared to other pitchers’ changeups.
The last part there is probably the most important part. He gets a lot of swings-and-misses on the pitch. Ideally, that’s what you want to get out of your pitches. That it’s an extreme flyball pitch doesn’t exactly bode well when guys do make contact, or at least it didn’t during the 2015 campaign.
To get back to Mesoraco though, it’s very nice to see that he is on top of things with the pitchers, even if he hasn’t caught them just yet. He’s going to be in charge of helping shape things for the future of the franchise who is pinning their hopes on a very young pitching staff coming together over the next several years. Who those pitchers wind up being, that’s tough to say at this point, but it’s nice to see the Reds catcher having a head start on the analytical approach for the pitchers he hasn’t had a chance to catch yet.