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Top 50 Prospects: #17- Devin Mesoraco

#17 Devin Mesoraco

Cincinnati Reds

DOB: 6/19/1988

Previous Rank: 27

ETA: 2011

It’s hard to believe that a guy like Yasmani Grandal could somehow become dispensable (not to mention Yonder Alonso), but that is exactly what happened when the Reds sent both guys to San Diego for Mat Latos.  The primary reasons that deal makes sense for the Reds is No. 1: Joey Votto, and No: 2, Devin Mesoraco.

Mesoraco slashed .289/.371/.484 for Louisville and then was called up for 50 at-bats with Cincinnati.  He went deep 15 times in Triple-A, walks at a decent clip, and projects for way more power than he currently displays.  Perhaps even more important, though, is that Mesoraco possesses the tools to be an average catcher in the Show.  He is an average receiver as well as thrower, and should be the Opening Day starter for the Reds in 2012 , hitting in the middle of the order by 2014 alongside Jay Bruce and Votto.

Year Age Tm Lg Lev G PA AB 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BA
2007 19 Reds GULF Rk 40 155 137 4 0 1 8 2 0 .219
2008 20 Dayton MIDW A 83 334 306 13 1 9 42 2 3 .261
2009 21 Sarasota FLOR A+ 92 357 312 22 1 8 37 0 1 .228
2010 22 3 Teams 3 Lgs AA-A+-AAA 113 451 397 25 5 26 75 3 3 .302
2010 22 Lynchburg CARL A+ 43 181 158 11 2 10 31 2 2 .335
2010 22 Carolina SOUL AA 56 212 187 11 3 13 31 1 0 .294
2010 22 Louisville IL AAA 14 58 52 3 0 3 13 0 1 .231
2011 23 Louisville IL AAA 120 499 436 36 2 15 71 1 1 .289
5 Seasons 448 1796 1588 100 9 59 233 8 8 .269
AAA (2 seasons) AAA 134 557 488 39 2 18 84 1 2 .283
A+ (2 seasons) A+ 135 538 470 33 3 18 68 2 3 .264
A (1 season) A 83 334 306 13 1 9 42 2 3 .261
AA (1 season) AA 56 212 187 11 3 13 31 1 0 .294
Rk (1 season) Rk 40 155 137 4 0 1 8 2 0 .219
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/2/2012.
Year Age Tm Lg Lev G AB HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
2007 19 Reds GULF Rk 40 137 1 8 15 26 .219 .310 .270 .580 37
2008 20 Dayton MIDW A 83 306 9 42 20 64 .261 .311 .399 .710 122
2009 21 Sarasota FLOR A+ 92 312 8 37 35 76 .228 .311 .381 .692 119
2010 22 3 Teams 3 Lgs AA-A+-AAA 113 397 26 75 43 80 .302 .377 .587 .964 233
2010 22 Lynchburg CARL A+ 43 158 10 31 19 29 .335 .414 .620 1.035 98
2010 22 Carolina SOUL AA 56 187 13 31 18 37 .294 .363 .594 .957 111
2010 22 Louisville IL AAA 14 52 3 13 6 14 .231 .310 .462 .772 24
2011 23 Louisville IL AAA 120 436 15 71 52 83 .289 .371 .484 .855 211
5 Seasons 448 1588 59 233 165 329 .269 .344 .455 .799 722
AAA (2 seasons) AAA 134 488 18 84 58 97 .283 .364 .482 .846 235
A+ (2 seasons) A+ 135 470 18 68 54 105 .264 .346 .462 .807 217
A (1 season) A 83 306 9 42 20 64 .261 .311 .399 .710 122
AA (1 season) AA 56 187 13 31 18 37 .294 .363 .594 .957 111
Rk (1 season) Rk 40 137 1 8 15 26 .219 .310 .270 .580 37
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/2/2012.
Year Age Tm G PA AB 2B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
2007 19 CIN-min 40 155 137 4 1 8 15 26 .219 .310 .270 .580 37
2008 20 CIN-min 83 334 306 13 9 42 20 64 .261 .311 .399 .710 122
2009 21 CIN-min 92 357 312 22 8 37 35 76 .228 .311 .381 .692 119
2010 22 CIN-min 113 451 397 25 26 75 43 80 .302 .377 .587 .964 233
2011 23 CIN-min 120 499 436 36 15 71 52 83 .289 .371 .484 .855 211
2011 23 CIN 18 53 50 3 2 6 3 10 .180 .226 .360 .586 18
1 Season 18 53 50 3 2 6 3 10 .180 .226 .360 .586 18
162 Game Avg. 162 477 450 27 18 54 27 90 .180 .226 .360 .586 162
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/2/2012.

Grandal is built like a brick wall, so it’s tough for him to get his 220-pound frame moving.  That is just about the only knock on him, though. Devin Mesoraco is one of the finest hitting prospects in the game, and he does an average job on the other side of the ball at a premium position.


Top 50 Prospects: #18 – Tyler Skaggs

#18 Tyler Skaggs

Arizona Diamondbacks

DOB: 7/13/1991

Previous Rank: N/R

ETA: 2012

Skaggs really has nothing left to prove in the Minors in our opinion, even though he has never thrown a Triple-A pitch.  His 10 starts in the Southern League were as convincing as any collected by any southpaw not named Matt Moore this season.  He posted a 2.50 ERA for Mobile, striking out 73 guys and only issuing 15 walks in under 60 innings.  While Arizona will undoubtedly send Skaggs back to the farm for more polishing, it’s no secret that he’s ready and should find himself among the Show’s youngest starting pitchers within the next year or two.

Year Age Tm Lg Lev Aff W L ERA G GS IP BB SO
2009 17 2 Teams 2 Lgs Rk LAA 0 0 1.80 5 2 10.0 2 13
2009 17 Orem PION Rk LAA 0 0 4.50 2 0 4.0 1 6
2009 17 Angels ARIZ Rk LAA 0 0 0.00 3 2 6.0 1 7
2010 18 2 Teams 1 Lg A LAA,ARI 9 5 3.29 23 18 98.1 25 102
2010 18 Cedar Rapids MIDW A LAA 8 4 3.61 19 14 82.1 21 82
2010 18 South Bend MIDW A ARI 1 1 1.69 4 4 16.0 4 20
2011 19 2 Teams 2 Lgs A+-AA ARI 9 6 2.96 27 27 158.1 49 198
2011 19 Visalia CALL A+ ARI 5 5 3.22 17 17 100.2 34 125
2011 19 Mobile SOUL AA ARI 4 1 2.50 10 10 57.2 15 73
3 Seasons 18 11 3.04 55 47 266.2 76 313
A (1 season) A 9 5 3.29 23 18 98.1 25 102
Rk (1 season) Rk 0 0 1.80 5 2 10.0 2 13
AA (1 season) AA 4 1 2.50 10 10 57.2 15 73
A+ (1 season) A+ 5 5 3.22 17 17 100.2 34 125
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/30/2011.
Year Age Tm Lg Lev Aff W L ERA IP WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9 SO/BB
2009 17 2 Teams 2 Lgs Rk LAA 0 0 1.80 10.0 1.100 8.1 0.0 1.8 11.7 6.50
2009 17 Orem PION Rk LAA 0 0 4.50 4.0 1.500 11.2 0.0 2.2 13.5 6.00
2009 17 Angels ARIZ Rk LAA 0 0 0.00 6.0 0.833 6.0 0.0 1.5 10.5 7.00
2010 18 2 Teams 1 Lg A LAA,ARI 9 5 3.29 98.1 1.180 8.3 0.6 2.3 9.3 4.08
2010 18 Cedar Rapids MIDW A LAA 8 4 3.61 82.1 1.202 8.5 0.7 2.3 9.0 3.90
2010 18 South Bend MIDW A ARI 1 1 1.69 16.0 1.062 7.3 0.6 2.2 11.2 5.00
2011 19 2 Teams 2 Lgs A+-AA ARI 9 6 2.96 158.1 1.105 7.2 0.6 2.8 11.3 4.04
2011 19 Visalia CALL A+ ARI 5 5 3.22 100.2 1.142 7.2 0.5 3.0 11.2 3.68
2011 19 Mobile SOUL AA ARI 4 1 2.50 57.2 1.040 7.0 0.6 2.3 11.4 4.87
3 Seasons 18 11 3.04 266.2 1.132 7.6 0.6 2.6 10.6 4.12
A (1 season) A 9 5 3.29 98.1 1.180 8.3 0.6 2.3 9.3 4.08
Rk (1 season) Rk 0 0 1.80 10.0 1.100 8.1 0.0 1.8 11.7 6.50
AA (1 season) AA 4 1 2.50 57.2 1.040 7.0 0.6 2.3 11.4 4.87
A+ (1 season) A+ 5 5 3.22 100.2 1.142 7.2 0.5 3.0 11.2 3.68
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/30/2011.

Skaggs features three pitches that all grade as at least 55s, with his breaker a no-doubt plus to double-plus pitch.  It is a very tight 12-6 bender that features excellent shape and can get both sides of the dish out consistently, both in the zone and in the dirt.  His fastball has picked up several notches of pace in the last year and now is nearly always in the low-90s.  His changeup is behind the other two pitches, but only because a changeup inherently has less life than aggressive fastballs and breakers.  He turns it over quite well for a 20-year-old who has never needed it, though.  His delivery is athletic, fluid, and repeatable.  He gets excellent makeup grades as well.  Skaggs is a prized commodity and is simply one more stellar arm that the geniuses in Phoenix have stockpiled.

Top 50 Prospects: #19 – Anthony Rizzo

#19 Anthony Rizzo

San Diego Padres

DOB: 8/8/1989

Previous Rank: N/R

ETA: 2012

It is hard to still think of Rizzo as a rookie after he was punished to the tune of a .523 OPS for the Padres in 128 at-bats in 2011.  He still qualifies for this list, though, and while his stock did take a hit, he still is one of the top corner bat prospects in the game.  As soon as he was demoted to Tucson, he began raking again, slashing .331/.404/.652 with 26 jacks in only 356 at-bats.  He has true 60-grade power today with a chance at more.

Year Age Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA AB 2B HR RBI SB CS BA
2007 17 Red Sox GULF Rk BOS 6 24 21 0 1 3 0 0 .286
2008 18 Greenville SALL A BOS 21 87 83 6 0 11 0 0 .373
2009 19 2 Teams 2 Lgs A-A+ BOS 119 503 445 37 12 66 4 1 .297
2009 19 Greenville SALL A BOS 64 274 245 21 9 42 2 1 .298
2009 19 Salem CARL A+ BOS 55 229 200 16 3 24 2 0 .295
2010 20 2 Teams 2 Lgs AA-A+ BOS 136 602 531 42 25 100 10 1 .260
2010 20 Salem CARL A+ BOS 29 135 117 12 5 20 3 0 .248
2010 20 Portland EL AA BOS 107 467 414 30 20 80 7 1 .263
2011 21 Tucson PCL AAA SDP 93 413 356 34 26 101 7 6 .331
5 Seasons 375 1629 1436 119 64 281 21 8 .296
A (2 seasons) A 85 361 328 27 9 53 2 1 .317
A+ (2 seasons) A+ 84 364 317 28 8 44 5 0 .278
AA (1 season) AA 107 467 414 30 20 80 7 1 .263
Rk (1 season) Rk 6 24 21 0 1 3 0 0 .286
AAA (1 season) AAA 93 413 356 34 26 101 7 6 .331
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/27/2011.
Year Age Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA AB HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
2007 17 Red Sox GULF Rk BOS 6 24 21 1 3 1 2 .286 .375 .429 .804 9
2008 18 Greenville SALL A BOS 21 87 83 0 11 3 15 .373 .402 .446 .848 37
2009 19 2 Teams 2 Lgs A-A+ BOS 119 503 445 12 66 50 99 .297 .368 .461 .828 205
2009 19 Greenville SALL A BOS 64 274 245 9 42 25 60 .298 .365 .494 .859 121
2009 19 Salem CARL A+ BOS 55 229 200 3 24 25 39 .295 .371 .420 .791 84
2010 20 2 Teams 2 Lgs AA-A+ BOS 136 602 531 25 100 61 132 .260 .334 .480 .814 255
2010 20 Salem CARL A+ BOS 29 135 117 5 20 16 32 .248 .333 .479 .812 56
2010 20 Portland EL AA BOS 107 467 414 20 80 45 100 .263 .334 .481 .815 199
2011 21 Tucson PCL AAA SDP 93 413 356 26 101 43 89 .331 .404 .652 1.056 232
5 Seasons 375 1629 1436 64 281 158 337 .296 .366 .514 .880 738
A (2 seasons) A 85 361 328 9 53 28 75 .317 .374 .482 .856 158
A+ (2 seasons) A+ 84 364 317 8 44 41 71 .278 .357 .442 .799 140
AA (1 season) AA 107 467 414 20 80 45 100 .263 .334 .481 .815 199
Rk (1 season) Rk 6 24 21 1 3 1 2 .286 .375 .429 .804 9
AAA (1 season) AAA 93 413 356 26 101 43 89 .331 .404 .652 1.056 232
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/27/2011.
Year Age Tm G PA AB 2B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
2007 17 BOS-min 6 24 21 0 1 3 0 0 1 2 .286 .375 .429 .804
2008 18 BOS-min 21 87 83 6 0 11 0 0 3 15 .373 .402 .446 .848
2009 19 BOS-min 119 503 445 37 12 66 4 1 50 99 .297 .368 .461 .828
2010 20 BOS-min 136 602 531 42 25 100 10 1 61 132 .260 .334 .480 .814
2011 21 SDP-min 93 413 356 34 26 101 7 6 43 89 .331 .404 .652 1.056
2011 21 SDP 49 153 128 8 1 9 2 1 21 46 .141 .281 .242 .523 51
1 Season 49 153 128 8 1 9 2 1 21 46 .141 .281 .242 .523 51
162 Game Avg. 162 506 423 26 3 30 7 3 69 152 .141 .281 .242 .523 51
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/27/2011.

His bat gets long to the ball, a tendency that lefties have had a fairly easy time exploiting, but he is athletic enough to develop his hit tool to a point that he should be able to stay inside of more pitches.  Rizzo is an elite defender at first, but will never be an average runner.  Who cares?  With time, the 22-year-old could develop into one of the top first basemen in the National League and makes the loss of Adrian Gonzalez considerably more tolerable.  He was the top offensive prospect in Boston’s organization before he became the centerpiece of the Gonzalez deal last winter.  After the Mat Latos trade, the Padres are several pieces away from a legitimate chance at contention, and they have a very bright youngster with a chance to hit in the middle of the order for years in Anthony Rizzo.


Top 50 Prospects: #20 – Archie Bradley

#20 Archie Bradley

Arizona Diamondbacks

DOB: 8/10/1992

Previous Rank: N/A

ETA: 2014

Archie Bradley went seventh overall in the 2011 draft, but he would be the consensus No. 1 in this year’s class and in many other years.  He has reached 101 mph with his fastball and his curveball was arguably the top pitch in the entire class, and it honestly gives him a chance at two pitches that could flash 80s on any given night.  Make no mistake; Bradley is as frontline as they come with excellent projection and athleticism.

He likely will bully his way through the low Minors because no one will even come close to being able to handle him until he reaches Double-A.  He operates well on a downhill plane but still manages to sink his fastball even beyond what he naturally creates with his delivery.  Because he lost some of every year up until now to football, the length he can get out of each start probably has a way to go before he can reach 100 pitches consistently without a loss in stuff or command.

Year Age Tm Lg Lev Aff W L ERA G GS IP H SO
2011 18 Missoula PION Rk ARI 0 0 0.00 2 1 2.0 1 4
1 Season 0 0 0.00 2 1 2.0 1 4
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/27/2011.

Nevertheless, this is just nitpicking.  Bradley is phenomenal, and as soon as he develops a quality third pitch he will be one of the very top prospects in baseball.  Imagine this possible rotation: Trevor Bauer, Daniel Hudson, Trevor Cahill, Ian Kennedy, Tyler Skaggs, and Bradley.  That could happen by the playoffs in 2013, something we are very confident Arizona will be a part of.


Top 50 Prospects: #21 – Nolan Arenado

#25 Nolan Arenado

Colorado Rockies

DOB: 4/16/1991

Previous Rank: N/R

ETA: 2013

Arenado was recently named MVP of the Arizona Fall League after slashing .388/.423/.636 with six jacks in 121 at-bats.  In the California League as a 20-year-old, Arenado posted a .298/.349/.487 line with 20 home runs and 32 doubles as well as nearly as many walks as strikeouts.  We expect Arenado to open the year in Double-A, and debut some time in Denver in 2013.

Arenado’s defense has been under scrutiny since he was an amateur, but he cut some weight last winter and improved his mobility in the process, silencing some doubters.  I am not convinced that he can be average at the hot corner yet, but he is definitely good enough to play at least a few seasons there before sliding to first.  His bat plays anywhere and has room to improve in the power category as well.  His speed is not even close to average, but it never has to be.

Year Age Tm Lg Lev G PA AB R 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BA
2009 18 Casper PION Rk 54 225 203 28 15 0 2 22 5 2 .300
2010 19 Asheville SALL A 92 400 373 45 41 1 12 65 1 3 .308
2011 20 Modesto CALL A+ 134 583 517 82 32 3 20 122 2 1 .298
3 Seasons 280 1208 1093 155 88 4 34 209 8 6 .302
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/23/2011.
Year Age Tm Lg Lev G PA AB HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB
2009 18 Casper PION Rk 54 225 203 2 22 16 18 .300 .351 .404 .755 82
2010 19 Asheville SALL A 92 400 373 12 65 19 52 .308 .338 .520 .858 194
2011 20 Modesto CALL A+ 134 583 517 20 122 47 53 .298 .349 .487 .836 252
3 Seasons 280 1208 1093 34 209 82 123 .302 .346 .483 .829 528
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/23/2011.
Year Age Tm Lg Lev G Ch PO A E DP Fld% RF/G
2009 18 Casper PION Rk 3B 49 139 33 92 14 9 .899 2.55
2010 19 Asheville SALL A 3B 81 235 86 134 15 17 .936 2.72
2011 20 Modesto CALL A+ 3B 131 318 85 215 18 25 .943 2.29
3 Seasons 261 692 204 441 47 51 .932 2.47
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 12/23/2011.

Arenado is as exciting an infield prospect as exists in the game today, and he should make several all-star teams before he is done leaving his stamp on the NL West.