Ludwick and Mesoraco on Different Sides of Spectrum


You hear it a lot – spring training stats don’t mean squat. True on most fronts, but there can be a case where they do matter, say in position battles.

But that’s not where I’m going here. There’s a pair of Reds that are viewed as being big pieces in the 2013 puzzle that are having quite the opposite success on Arizona: Ryan Ludwick and Devin Mesoraco.

Can you guess who leads the Reds in whiffs so far this spring. Well, there’s a three-way (now I’m hungry) tie with 13 each: Ryan Ludwick, Miguel Olivo and Derrick Robinson. You’d expect to see Olivo as he swings at a lot of pitches. Robinson might be a shock only because he’s a “speed guy” and, well, he should make more contact and be more selective.

Feb 16, 2013; Goodyear, AZ, USA; Ludwick (48) poses for a photo during photo day at the Reds Spring Training Facility. (Photo: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports)

Ludwick’s inclusion may raise an eyebrow or two only because of the expectations on him for ’13. The Reds rewarded Ludwick for his bounce-back season with a two year, $15MM deal. Ludwick received a $2MM signing bonus, but will only make $1MM during the season. Back-loaded, ya think?

Want a downer? His triple slash this spring is .178/.196/.244. That’s downright ugly, but here’s the positive spin…and hope this serves true.

Ludwick had a good spring in 2012 posting a triple slash of .283/.316/.453. When it came for the games to count, Ludwick couldn’t buy a hit as he split time with Chris Heisey. Last April, Luddy’s triple slash was .190/.266/.397. He had 3 home runs (including a grand slam) and 10 RBI, but you could tell he was a bit off at the plate.

Maybe this spring is Ludwick’s April 2012’s slump. Get it out of the way now.

April 14, 2012; Washington, D.C., USA; Mesoraco (39) at bat against the Washington Nationals in the second inning at Nationals Park. The Nationals defeated the Reds 4 – 1. (Photo: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports)

And could Devin Mesoraco please do the opposite and carry his spring into the regular season? Did anyone anticipate Mes sporting a triple slash of .406/.472/.688? If you’re saying you did, I bet you also have Florida Gulf Coast in the Sweet 16 on your NCAA bracket, too.

There has been a bit of debate on how Mes should be used this year. Some prefer to see him taking on a bigger role while others want his participation to be about the same as last year. If the latter is true, do not expect things to be any better for him in 2013. There is a reason Yasmani Grandal was included in the deal to get Mat Latos…because the Reds tabbed Mesoraco and the catcher of the future and maybe it’s time the future start to show a little more.

I know he struggled at the plate last season, but if you want Mes to be a good player, he needs the time. There’s only so much this id can do in Louisville and spring training. Add this: if Ryan Hanigan should go down, Mesoraco will be front and center.

So, one trend to reverse and one to keep going. Yep, still spring training.