Reds Prospects Devin Mesoraco and Billy Hamilton Making Waves

During this past week, Jonathan Mayo of MLB.com has been unveiling his top 10 prospect list for each position. Two Reds prospects have gained mention by Mayo: Devin Mesoraco and Billy Hamilton. Both names appear on the countless number of prospect lists that are out there.

And you need another list or two to add to your “library”, don’t you?. FanSided’s site for prospects, Seedlings to Stars takes a different approach to accumulating a list. S2S rates the top prospect at each position, five starting pitchers and two relief pitchers. There is the additional list of the next 10 regardless of position.

In looking over Mayo’s analysis of Mesoraco and Hamilton in conjunction with Wally Fish of S2S and his take on Reds prospects, here’s a few things I noticed.

Mesoraco – One thing I immediately noticed was Mayo’s shining endorsement of Mesoraco’s arm.

A plus arm has led to some high caught-stealing rates in the Minors, and he’s a natural leader behind the plate.

I don’t completely doubt the arm, but in reference to throwing out runners, I don’t see it as much as Mayo. From a post on the Reds 2012 catchers

While in the minors, Mesoraco, based on a full season, posted a best fielding percentage of .986 (last year) and a best caught stealing of 41% (2010). For nabbing base stealers, Mesoraco’s next best year was 2009 when he threw out 30%.

For his minor league career, Mesoraco’s average of 29% isn’t bad at all. That being said, last year it was 26% after posting years of 33%, 17%, 30% and 41%.

There is one upside to Mesoraco is astutely noted by Fish. It shows the drive Mesoraco has as well.

The fact that he (Mesoraco) looked into the “prospect bust abyss” and bounced back to become one of the best prospects in baseball makes me believe he’s going to be better than most people project and that’s saying something. When a guy’s floor is that of a solid major league regular, you know you have something special on your hands and Devin Mesoraco fits that description.

That tells you about the person Mesoraco has become. He didn’t give up and has, for the time being, removed his name from the list of “first round busts”. I don’t expect to see his name there either. It took him a little longer than people had hoped. It might be time well worth waiting for.

Mesoraco slots as the #2 catcher on Mayo’s list. Newly “minted” Seattle Mariner Jesus Montero grabs the top spot. You know what I (and others) think of Montero.

Hamilton – The jet that is Billy Hamilton is a tricky one. I have read various articles that state Hamilton projects better as a second baseman than a shortstop. (Here’s one and another.) Mayo believes he could be moved as well.

Hamilton has more than enough range for shortstop, but it remains to be seen if he’ll stay there long term or need to move to second or the outfield down the line.

This is starting to slowly become a consensus. And I will quickly give way to Wally…

He performed much better at 2B in 2010 than he did at SS in 2011 but to fully maximize his speed a move to CF might be the best solution.

Speed. As Mayo also points out, that is Hamilton’s calling card. It’s the massive plus in his game. The bat could use a little polishing according to all the sources I’ve read. It has zero to do with his lack of power although that’s a thorn to some.

In November I did a quick peek at Baseball America’s top 10 in contrast to Doug Gray who is over at RedsMinorLeagues.com. From Gray’s site:

Needs to work on: His offensive game, in its entirety. His contact rate, plate discipline, pitch recognition and power are all warts in his game.

Again, there is a consensus with the provided links and their respective authors.

There is one take I find, well, a little intriguing. Here’s Wally of S2S.

Now we move from (David) Vidal, a prospect that I view as vastly underrated, to Hamilton who I view as wildly overrated. Yes he has elite speed and stole 103 bases in 135 games for Dayton and it’s a notable accomplishment but he also publicly set out to achieve that milestone which bothers me more than just a little.

For Mayo, Hamilton is his #4 shortstop. As we have just seen, that could change as far as position is concerned.

What is left for Mayo to reveal is his projections for first base, second base and outfield. I do not believe we will see a Reds outfielder named to this. It’s just the top 10 and the likes of Mike Trout and Bryce Harper will surely nab the top two positions.

Henry Rodriguez and Neftali Soto could snare a spot for second and first, respectively, but I wouldn’t be shocked if they didn’t. I would suspect Rodriguez before Soto.

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Tags: Baseball Billy Hamilton Cincinnati Reds Devin Mesoraco MLB Reds Prospects Top Reds Prospects

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