I'll admit to being a bit nervous about Mesoraco coming into the season. His past two years were full of tough-luck, and oblique strains have a tendency to linger all year and devastate young hitters.
But the only thing that got devastated was fastballs.
The Golem's .273/.359/.534 line was pretty dang fantastic — the best on the team and 13th in baseball for wOBA of those with more than 400 PAs. His BABIP went from mid-.250s to .309 and all of those singles and doubles and dingers came with.
In a Vottonian sense, Mesoraco swung less and did more damage when he did. This meant more spitting at sliders instead of looking mighty swinging through them. Mesoraco pulled the heck out of the ball, unlike Votto, but this seems to matter less for righties than lefties, for reasons I can't fathom but am excited for you to explain to me.
Mesoraco's receiving skills greatly improved, and even if he'll never be Ryan it'd be hard to blame him for any missteps by the pitching in 2014. That's a bit of a tougher question that we may have to take the offseason to suss out.
Also, it's not that Mesoraco is slow – although he is – but he makes some baffling baserunning decisions. Like if Billy Hamilton is a Harry Houdini "how did he do that?" wondermachine, Devin Mesoraco is GOB Bluth, forever killing doves.
But still, I'd take all of that to watch the Golem hit. He seems truly angry at the pitcher for trying to get a fastball by him, and he will punish that pitcher. Sometimes it's almost cricket-ian, smashing the ball into boundaries and past lounging fielders. One of the most fun parts of the season was Devin crushing homers in like 5 consecutive days. He just freaking smashes the ball.
Let's hope that he can do the same sorts of things next year. An interesting subplot is his defense; I'm almost tempted to see if he can be Votto's caddy at 1B on days he's not catching, like Posey does. But I'm also wondering whether the time learning firstbase is better spent learning to be a better catcher. Also, dude's gonna get married.
This time last year I was expecting to be trying to get myself excited about Tucker Barnhart. Instead, we have one furious bundle of rocks and clay crushing horsehide all year. Rad.