The catcher position for the 2013 Reds turned into a tale of the New, the Old and the Older with three different players manning the position in Devin Mesoraco, Ryan Hanigan and Corky Miller sharing time behind the dish.
Way back in April, Ryan Hanigan got the nod as the opening day catcher. It seemed a foregone conclusion that he would see much of the playing time with the younger Mesoraco still learning the ropes. It would remain that way until Hanigan went to the DL on April 20th with a strained left oblique. Mesoraco stepped in and remained the primary backstop for a good part of season as Hanigan missed more than 40 games due to injury, playing in a total of 75 on the season. Mesoraco ended up playing in 103 games and Corky Miller 17 games in a limited role.
Ryan Hanigan started off slowly with the bat and with the injuries he sustained, could never really get in any offensive groove, hovering at or below the Mendoza line for much of the season.
Hanigan’s slash line was .198/.306/.261 (all career lows), hitting 2 home runs and driving in 21 runs, while scoring 17 times. In addition, his OPS of .567 was also a career low. Offensive Grade: D-
Devin Mesoraco got the opportunity to catch every day when Hanigan went down in April and again in July. But once Mesoraco got his shot to play every day, even through times with a strained hamstring, he showed he has the potential to be a decent offensive player. With more playing time, he increased his batting average over last year and ended 2013 with a slash line of .238/.287/.362. His 9 home runs and 42 RBIs were also an improvement from last season. Offensive Grade: C-
Much like most of his career, Corky Miller was called up from Triple-A and soon demoted, then brought up and sent back down, etc. In very limited action, the 37-year old Miller put together a slash line of .257/.366/.400. He had no home runs and just 8 RBIs for the season. Offensive Grade: C+
Overall Offensive Grade: C-
Hanigan has shown to be a good defensive player. His .998 (1 error) and 45% in throwing out basestealers shows that. He has been known also to call a good game, catching both of Homer Bailey’s no-hitters. Defensively, having Hanigan behind the plate is not a bad thing and he grades out well. Grade: A
Mesoraco is still learning. Since he played in 28 more games than Hanigan, he put in almost 200 more innings (782-589), so it stands to reason that he would commit more errors (5) and have a lower fielding percentage (.993). Meso’s caught stealing percentage was 29% (league average was 28%). As he gets more starts, Mesoraco will likely improve as a defensive catcher. Grade: C
Again, since Miller was used sparingly and spent limited time on the active roster, his numbers are not eye opening. He committed one error in just 102 total innings played. His fielding percentage was .991 and his caught stealing percentage was just 22%. Grade: C-
Overall Defensive Grade: B-
Because the Reds had some injury issues with Hanigan, the youngster Mesoraco had to learn under fire and his performance was commendable.
The collective offensive production of the catchers was sub-par, but defensively, the trio played well.
Hanigan is now 33 years old and Corky Miller will likely retire at age 37, so it seems apparent that Mesoraco is moving toward a more permanent starting role, so expect him to see even more time in 2014.
Overall Grade: C-