Jesus Montero and Devin Mesoraco: Catching Prospects We’d Like to See But Probably Won’t

With so many articles designed to help you win your fantasy league this season, it’s time we threw some out to the bottom-feeders, especially those in keeper and dynasty leagues.  While most of the competitors currently in the lower third of your league’s standings couldn’t care less about what’s going on today, it is the wise and savvy GM that continuously prepares for the future.  With so much young talent behind the dish these days, it only makes sense to see what’s out there beyond the horizon.  So here’s a look at a couple of top catching prospects that could debut with a late season call-up this year, but will likely be forced to wait in the minors until their time comes in 2012.

Jesus MonteroScranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees (AAA), NYY

Montero is a beast of a prospect and has long been touted by minor league talent scouts for his big time bat.  However, his defensive skills and current attitude seem to be holding him back right now.  With Russell Martin’s lackluster play, it’s very possible the Yankees would have overlooked some of Montero’s defensive shortcomings if it meant adding his bat to an already potent lineup, but apparently Montero, disgruntled with having to remain in the minors, has had a bit of an attitude problem as of late.  Words like “uninspired”, “bored”, and “lacking energy” have been used to describe his play this season, and it even resulted in a two game benching last week.

In previous seasons, Montero has posted some solid numbers — double digit home runs, high batting average, decent walk rates, mid to low strikeout rates, and an ISO north of .220 each year.  Unfortunately this year it’s almost the complete reverse, save for the batting average, and that, in turn, is frustrating the organization.  On another team, he probably would have already been moved to first base and been up in the bigs, but with Mark Teixeira locked in, the Yankees don’t have that luxury.  They also do not want to use him solely as a DH.  If he makes the necessary adjustments, he could get a late season call up or there’s always the chance that the team deals him away.  At this point, neither situation would be bad as both would result in his bat coming to the majors.

Devin Mesoraco Louisville Bats (AAA), CIN

Mesoraco was a first round pick in 2007 out of high school and never really showed too much in his first few years in the minors.  Then 2010 hit and so did he.  The young righty went from Single-A to Triple-A that season posting a slash line of .302/.377/.587 with 26 home runs and 75 RBI and an ISO mark over .250 for the year.  The defensive skills were decent.  Not overwhelming, but decent.  Some additional work in Triple-A would help that though.  After an average showing in the Arizona Fall League, Mesoraco has gone back to raking with 8 HR and 44 RBI in 282 plate appearances for an ISO mark of .219.  He has vastly improved his game and is ready to be summoned.

The call-up will likely be on hold though as Dusty Baker said there are no immediate plans to bring up any of the young Reds minor league hitters right now.  The big club’s problems are pitching related and neither Ramon Hernandez nor Ryan Hanigan have given much reason to be supplanted.  Maybe if one of them suffers an injury then the story could be different, but for now, Dusty is very happy with his veteran tandem.  Next year could be a much different story though.  While Hanigan signed a 3 year extension back in March, Hernandez is a free agent at the end of the year and might not be back.  If Mesoraco continues his development, he could end up the Reds starting catcher in 2012.


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Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over 10 years on a variety of websites. In addition to his work here, you can also find him at his site,, Fantasy Alarm, RotoWire and Mock Draft Central. Follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or for more direct questions or comments, email him at

10 Responses to “Jesus Montero and Devin Mesoraco: Catching Prospects We’d Like to See But Probably Won’t”

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  1. RotoChamp says:

    Cashman is on the record saying that Montero is a better option than Cervilli, but he wants Montero to get full time ABs. I think he’ll be up in September and possibly a little earlier (mid-August) so they can gauge if he will fit into their postseason plans.

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  2. JoeyPajamas says:

    I know Montero’s a youngin’, but it seems like we’ve heard about him being MLB-ready for so long now that it seems drawn out. I guess I’m personally just ready to see the kid in the majors despite his apparent attitude issues and relative lack of production this year.

    As for Mesoraco, I can’t help but think the Reds aren’t crazy if they don’t ship out Hernandez to some team in need of catching help. They could probably get a couple decent prospects out of it and Hanigan and Mesoraco will do just fine when he’s gone. If he’s been crushing the minors on the regular for this long (and has sustained it, unlike Montero), he deserves the call up.

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  3. MJ 888 says:

    What do the Reds do with Grandal? They need to trade at least two catchers between Hernandez, Mesoraco, and Grandal. And they may as well do it now while all of their values are sky high. Unless they think Grandal or Mesoraco could be moved to 3b or a corner outfield spot….which I don’t see happening.

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  4. Jim says:

    The Mesoraco situation reminds me quite a bit of Buster Posey in San Francisco last year. A starting catcher who is playing well enough to keep his job, but a guy in the minors with little left to prove. This situation might be even more difficult – with Mosoraco isn’t quite as highly regarded as Posey, Hernandez is better than Bengie Molina. With the Reds still in contention, it has to be hard to trade a commodity like Hernandez and throw a rookie into such a high profile position midseason.

    In the updated Elias rankings, Hernandez is now projected to be a Type A free agent, which may give the Reds extra motivation to keep him, since I wonder whether they’d get an equivalent return. The Giants might be a sensible trading partner based on needs, but they don’t seem to value draft picks as much as some teams, so the Type A status may not appeal to them as much. Meanwhile, the Red Sox are getting more production from their catchers and may be less willing to make a deal – however, the Sox absolutely love to hoard draft picks.

    Regarding Montero – he’s a 21 year old with 17 extra base hits and almost three times as many walks as strikeouts. It’s fair to conclude that he’s making adjustments, as he hit better at the same level last year. The bigger issue is whether his hitting is beginning to suffer because the Yankees still insist on trying to make him into a catcher. Most reports on his defense are that he’s still bad. Not Mike Piazza/Jorge Posada below average, but more like back when Carlos Delgado was pretending to be a catching prospect. Since it’s possible Montero will hit like Delgado, there’s no shame in that. For those of you who have seen him more, is he so slow that a move to 3B or RF is completely out of the question?

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    • Jon says:

      from everything I have read says 3b and RF is completely out out the questions for jesus.

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    • ryan p says:

      It seems to me, after seeing him play a handful of games, that it’s his running style that’s not very athletic. He runs almost completely upright, he doesn’t get his head or shoulder down, and takes very short strides. I could not see him playing the OF.

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  5. Random Guy says:

    Interesting theory about Montero’s mediocrity at AAA — he thinks he’s too good for this level, and so he doesn’t give max effort, and so… he’s no longer too good for this level. I guess. I dunno, if I’m the Yankees I play dumb, ignore the excuses and just pay attention to the fact that Martin’s wOBA at the major league level is higher than Montero’s at AAA. If Montero gives them a reason to promote him then it will happen.

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  6. That's What She Said says:

    Any thoughts on Wilin Rosario and when he will get the call from the Rockies? He seems to be picking up where he left off before his injury last season, but with Iannetta playing well so far this season it now seems unlikely to me that Rosario will be called up this season.

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  7. Howard Bender says:

    There’s plenty to like about Rosario and I’m sure once the Futures Game happens he’ll be a lot more popular in the coming weeks. But yes, he’s not likely to be called up anytime soon due to Iannetta’s presence and the fact that he probably needs some extended work at Triple-A, both for his glove and his plate discipline. He does have great power potential, doesn’t whiff as much as Iannetta, but also doesn’t draw as many walks. I think some time spent in Colorado Springs will help him and then hopefully the Rox will have enough confidence in his abilities to maybe deal Iannetta away.

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  8. kitchen sink says:

    Lost in all this is the rising star of Austin Romine. Any news or updated analysis on him? (I think he’s the only Yankee prospect playing in the Futures Game)

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