DEVIN MESORACO WATCH
It has been since April 12th since catcher Devin Mesoraco has actually caught for the Cincinnati Reds, a full 23 calendar days. He has pinch hit in 5 of the 19 games played since - going 0 for 4 with a walk - and his current batting line sits at .083/.214/.083.
He has no extra base hits and no runs batted in yet in 2015, and he is not on the DL.
DEVIN MESORACO NOSTALGIA
At this point in the 2014 season, Mesoraco was in the midst of a DL stint thanks to a pulled hamstring he suffered rounding 3B, a base he has only reached once in the 2015 season. However, he was mauling at a cool .468/.509/.787 clip, with 3 dingers, 6 doubles, and 14 RBI.
What a difference a year makes.
The Reds head up the river to Pittsburgh to face the Pirates for a three game set beginning tonight, and Michael Lorenzen will take the hill in his 2nd pro start with eyes on keeping the ball in the ballpark at a slightly more prolific rate than in his debut. This MLB.com preview is being linked to not because it provides any ground breaking information (hint: it doesn't), but rather because on the front page of Reds.com its teaser was "Lorenzen eyes better effort after dinger-fueled debut." If Reds.com is going to join #TeamDinger, well, I'm sure as hell going to link to it. Too bad they bailed on keeping it in the actual title. Keep the ball down, Mike.
Also from Reds.com, Mark Sheldon took the time to introduce us to Lois Hudson, the organizational dynamo that has helped draftees transition to professionals since before most of the current crop of Reds were even born. It's amazing how overlooked that transition gets in the grand scheme of evaluating and anticipating player growth and development, so it's wonderful to hear that the Reds have such a rock on their side like Lois.
Devin Mesoraco has a hip impingement that has rendered him completely unable to be a catcher for the time being (and hopefully not beyond), so hearing that recently designated Miami Marlins catcher Jarrod Saltalamacchia will hit the open market and require no more than the league minimum to be signed is at least something that should register with your baseball mind. It should register since Salty is a former Top 20 overall prospect according to Baseball America, a player who served as part centerpiece in the massive Mark Teixeira-to-Atlanta blockbuster of yesteryear, and one who hit 25 dingers in a season for the Boston Red Sox (while also winning a World Series with them). Salty - who just turned 30 this week - hasn't been that caliber since signing with the Marlins prior to 2014, though, and has scraped out just a .661 OPS since. He's intriguing, sure, but I don't think he's the kind of player the Reds will take a reach on, especially since Mes isn't even heading to the DL.
Russell Carleton took a great look at Joey Votto's ability at the plate for FOXSports.com's Just a Bit Outside, and it's a great look at the MVP's plate coverage, pitch recognition, debonair sophistication, super powers, and overall prowess framed in the now ever-present discussion about whether he should bat 2nd or 3rd in the Reds' order. The verdict: Carleton firmly espouses that he should hit 2nd for most of the reasons we've all heard before, but also because the decades-old concept of what a 2nd hitter should be is outdated and arcane. Personally, I want Joey Votto to get as many chances to step to the plate as possible, and hitting 2nd makes that more plausible than hitting 3rd.
Finally, C. Trent Rosecrans caught up with several of the members of the Reds starting rotation, but not to talk pitching with them. Rather, he spoke with Mike Leake and Jason Marquis about the team's preponderance of good-hitting pitchers, and how that's far from just a coincidence. We're all pretty aware that sometimes the Reds management does odd things, values odd traits, and doesn't always seem to be on the same analytical page as many other teams in the game, but this is one instance in which I think they deserve some dap. In an age when poor-hitting pitchers have prompted many to throw up their hands and turn pro-DH to get one additional decent hitter in the lineup, it's actually refreshing to see the Reds place emphasis on actually fixing something others see as a problem.