Did Devin Mesoraco Deserve the Silver Slugger?


Days after being named the Defensive Team of the Year by Wilson, yet pulling in zero individual Gold Glove awards, the Cincinnati Reds drew another goose egg in the post-season awards department. This time, it was the Silver Slugger Award.

No one would confuse the 2014 Cincinnati Reds for anything resembling a proficient offensive unit. Outside of Todd Frazier and Devin Mesoraco, saying any one player had an average season would be a generous compliment. But it’s with the latter of those two men that many have a problem with the Reds once again coming up with no hardware.

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For what it’s worth, Buster Posey is probably already a guaranteed Hall of Famer. He has been the best player on three World Championship teams, has won the Rookie of the Year, won the 2012 National League MVP Award, and been a two-time All-Star all before the age of 28.

The catcher position in the National League was so crowded at the All-Star break that Posey couldn’t even crack onto the scene. Instead, St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny had his own catcher Yadier Molina, Milwaukee Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy, and Reds catcher Devin Mesoraco at his disposal. (With Giants manager Bruce Bochy managing the 2015 club in Cincinnati, Posey’s chances have exponentially increased to say the least.)

Before we delve into why Devin Mesoraco was a worthy candidate for the Silver Slugger, it cannot be forgotten that this season was a historic one for Jonathan Lucroy. He broke the single-season record for doubles for a catcher and didn’t even win the Silver Slugger. He is a pitch-framing guru, as well as the backbone of the Milwaukee order, and yet he was not among the finalists for the NL MVP Award. Life as a catcher can be difficult.

Now, back to the central issue at hand: Buster Posey won the Silver Slugger, and Devin Mesoraco didn’t. You get mad, I sigh, and Johnny Bench asks what the hell a Silver Slugger is anyway.

For pure statistical purposes, let’s do a side-by-side of what both candidates bring to the dish:

Buster Posey: 547 AB’s, .311/.364/.490, 170 H, 28 2B’s, 22 HR, 89 RBI, 47 BB-69 K, OPS+ 143, 5.6 oWAR


Devin Mesoraco: 384 AB’s, .273/.359/.534, 105 H, 25 2B’s, 25 HR, 80 RBI, 41 BB-103 K, OPS+ 149, 4.6 oWAR


In most categories, Posey seems to have had a more complete season. In his case, it helped to hit an astounding .354 in the second half with an OPS of .978. In that same timespan, Mesoraco batted .237 with a .788 OPS.

But you’re just not willing to concede this argument. “Consistency!,” you say. Well, while Posey batted north of .335 in three separate months (June, July, September), Mesoraco would only get remotely near that number only once, and that was in April when he only had 47 at-bats.

There is no denying that Devin Mesoraco punished the ball this season. Had he been able to continue to put up those numbers over another 150-175 at-bats, he would have run away and hid with the Silver Slugger Award. Thankfully, he has something to work towards.

The leap that Mesoraco took, while expected, was not thought to have happened so fast, so soon. This time last year, Devin was the seven-hitter in what should have been a bolstered Reds lineup. Now, he’s the anchor of an anemic offense.

It has been since the aforementioned Mr. Bench that Reds fans have been allowed to be this excited about the man crouching behind home plate. While a useless placate would have been refreshing to symbolize the future of the Cincinnati catching position, Devin Mesoraco will eventually have his day in the sun.