Mesoraco came highly-touted to the majors, from his selection at number fifteen overall in the 2007 draft, to his years as a top prospect in the Cincinnati Reds’ organization. He made his debut with the Reds in 2011 at the age of 23. Though he struggled over an 18-game sample, that did nothing to lessen the excitement over their presumed catcher of the future.
Before the start of the following season, Mesoraco was named the Reds’ number one prospect by Baseball America and a consensus top prospect in baseball. Baseball America had him as the #16 overall prospect in baseball prior to 2012 and Fangraphs had him at #15. Kevin Goldstein at Baseball Prospectus was slightly less bullish, but even he put Mesoraco at #24.
It was a tough era to be a top catching prospect, however (Jesus Montero, Travis d’Arnaud, Yasmani Grandal, Gary Sanchez, Wilin Rosario, Austin Hedges, Ryan Lavarnway, and Derek Norris were some of the other highly-regarded catching prospects). By the time Mesoraco was set to take over behind the plate in Cincinnati, he’d already suffered through a number of ticky-tack injuries. A high-character player, hopes were still high that he’d develop into a franchise catcher.
Though he didn’t quite reach those heights, he put together respectable major league career that lasted 8 seasons – all but the final 66 games taking place in Cincinnati. He largely struggled at the dish, but it all came together for a 26-year-old Mesoraco in 2014. That season, he appeared in 114 games and hit .273/.359/.534 with 25 home runs and 80 RBIs, making his lone All-Star appearance.
Injuries continued to play a part in Mesoraco’s career, however, and he only twice appeared in more than 100 games. In May of 2018 – his final season – the Reds traded Mesoraco to the Mets for another battered former top prospect in Matt Harvey. He did a nice job finishing that season for the Mets, hitting .222/.306/.409 with 10 long balls. If indeed this is it for Mesoraco, he’ll finish with a .232/.309/.406 line and 58 home runs, totaling 4.6 rWAR.