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Down On The Farm: Devin Mesoraco Or Yasmani Grandal?

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I saw this question over on John Sickels site-Minor League Ball and thought I would get Fake Teams readers opinions. Here is the Q & A:

Yasmani Grandal or Devin Mesoraco?

Baseball is my preferred sport. It should be yours, too.
I'm an editor for Beyond the Box Score, an SB Nation blog.

by Satchel Price on Oct 6, 2010 9:32 AM EDT reply actions



Grandal. I’m very impressed with what Mesoraco did this year, but I think Grandal’s glove is good enough that Meso may have to switch positions for them both to get into the lineup

by John Sickels on Oct 6, 2010 6:15 PM EDT up reply actions

More from Sickels on Mesoraco here.

Both are very good hitting catchers, but according to Sickels, Grandal is the better defensive catcher. Fantasy owners don't care for defense, but being good defensively guarantees playing time, which is critical in fantasy baseball, especially for catchers.

Let's take a look at their 2010 stats:

Mesoraco hit .302-.377-.587 with 26 HRs and 75 RBIs with stints at High A, AA and AAA in 2010. To go along with the 26 HRs, Mesoraco also hit 25 doubles and 5 triples.

Grandal , in 222 at bats at the University of Miami, hit .401-.528-.721 with 15 HRs, 60 RBIs and 24 doubles. In 28 at bats in the Arizona rookie league, Grandal hit .286-.394-.321 with a HR and 4 RBIs.

Mesoraco was ranked as the 7th best prospect in the Southern League, according to Baseball America. Mesoraco will be playing in the Arizona Fall League starting next week, while Grandal was placed on the Reds 40 man roster when he signed with the Reds. It will be interesting to see how Mesoraco performs in the AFL.

More after the jump:

Here is what Kevin Goldstein from Baseball Prospectus wrote about Mesoraco in one of his end of season Monday Ten Pack articles:

Catcher: Devin Mesoraco, Reds
At the start of the year, many thought Mesoraco had entered into bust territory. A first-round pick in 2007, Mesoraco began the year with career averages of .240/.311/.368 and scouting reports that bemoaned a lack of conditioning. This spring, he showed up in camp looking more like a linebacker than a baseball player, and the results were clear, as he slugged a whopping .302/.377/.587 across three levels, and scouts believe in the transformation. Suddenly on the brink of the big leagues, Mesoraco is yet another reason to be optimistic about the Reds' short-term and long-term future.

He wrote this after the Reds had signed Grandal, so the last sentence in the above paragraph is quite the opposite of what Sickels thinks of him. And maybe this is the reason:

What He is: An excellent offensive prospect for a catcher as a switch-hitter with power and patience. He also has a plus arm and earns huge grades for his makeup and leadership skills.

What He is Not: Other than the arm, Grandal's defense can be slow and sluggish, with one scout saying, "When I look at him back there, it's like watching some 34-year-old Triple-A veteran." LikeYonder Alonso, another first-round pick from Miami with the Reds, he struggles at times against lefties.

That is from Goldstein's post draft writeup on Grandal. Apparently Sickels is talking to different scouts than Goldstein is.

Here is what Andy Seiler from SB Nation's MLBBonusBaby blog had to say about Grandal in his post-draft analysis:

Though it has taken some time to fulfill his immense potential, it has finally come to fruition this spring after two years of disappointing seasons. He was even outperformed with Team USA by teammate Blake Forsythe from Tennessee at catcher, leading to questions about his chances of reaching the first round this year. However, he exploded offensively this spring, and he’s now a lock for the first half of the first round, and he could be an all-star catcher with some development. He flashes above-average potential with the bat, both with an above-average hit tool and above-average power, and even though he’s a below-average runner, he’s by no means lacking for some athleticism. He’s an above-average receiver with an above-average arm, and his only negative is footwork, which isn’t great, leading to some longer delivery times when throwing to second base. However, he’s an elite prospect for the top half of the first round.

As you can see there are differing opinions on the defensive abilities of the two Reds catching prospects, but both can hit. I think Mesoraco has the advantage as he has hit well in High A and AA this year, and actually played some in AAA.

Who do Fake Teamers prefer-Mesoraco or Grandal?