The Cincinnati Reds have high expectations for two of their young backstops, which likely will cause controversy in the near future.
Devin Mesoraco, a 2007 first-round draft pick, was called-up to the big league club in September and showed he is talented but still needs some work.
Mark Sheldon of MLB.com wrote in his article "After getting feet wet, Mesoraco eyes big things" that Mesoraco did not disappoint Reds manager Dusty Baker.
"He's a tremendous talent," said Baker. "He pays attention. He's going to be a good hitter. He's really worked on his footwork and his throwing. Naturally, as a young catcher, he still has some things to learn, [like] game situations."
Sheldon also wrote that Baker likes that Mesoraco takes pride in his game-calling, and pointed out ways in which it could improve further.
"I told him one part, especially as a young catcher, that he'll be second-guessed on a lot of his pitching selection at certain times of the game," Baker said. "I just reminded him that late in the game, there has been three or four times he's come in late in the game and had late-inning homers or hits. There are things you try to stay away from and things you try to impart on him."
Sheldon wrote that "Mesoraco appears to be a good bet to pair in a catching tandem next season, splitting time with veteran Ryan Hanigan."
The 2012 catching tandem may be Mesoraco and Hanigan, but the Reds appear to have a tough decision to make after this season.
Yasmani Grandal, the Reds' 2010 first-round draft pick, appears to be to pushing Mesoraco.
Grandal is a natural leader behind the plate and enjoys a great deal of success in the batter's box, as well. In 2011 he batted .305 with 14 home runs in 374 minor league at-bats.
Jorge Milian of The Palm Beach Post described Grandal as a "defensive whiz" in his June 2010 article, "Cuban emigre Yasmani Grandal has blossomed into a star catcher for Miami".
Milian quoted University of Miami head baseball coach Jim Morris saying this about Grandal:
"As good as Grandal has been offensively, he's been even better on defense. He changes game plans because people can't run and they don't try to run off of him."
Milian also quoted ESPN's baseball draft analyst and former Toronto Blue Jays scout and assistant to the general manager Keith Law with this comment on Grandal:
"The one thing everybody agrees on is that he's an advanced defensive catcher. He can throw and he can call his own game, which very few of these kids can do."
As you can see, the Reds will soon have to decide which one of these two former first-round draft picks will be their future everyday catcher.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!