Many expected big things from Devin Mesoraco last season, and with very good reason. The Reds’ top catching prospect had breezed through AAA in 2011, hitting .289 with 15 HR and 71 RBI, and in late March of last year they announced he had made the big-league club out of spring training. Everyone, including myself, assumed he would be getting most of the innings behind the dish in 2012. After all, why would Dusty Baker waste a year of possible development for the youngster by sticking him on the major league bench all season? Unfortunately, Dusty did just that. Mesoraco amassed only 165 AB the entire season. As you may have guessed, he was never able to get into any rhythm at the plate, and he hit a paltry .212. He did show some pop, hitting five HR over that span, which incidentally was three more than “starting” catcher Ryan Hanigan. I wouldn’t expect much more from Mesoraco in 2013 until Baker officially names him the starter, which hasn’t happened as yet. Baker is a big fan of Hanigan’s defense and will most likely give him most of the starts again this season. Hopefully when the day comes that Mesoraco is given the starting job, he hasn’t lost all confidence in his abilities. I recommend staying away from a Dusty Baker’s player unless his last name is Votto or Bruce.
Pomerantz, the #5 pick of the 2010 amatuer draft, seemed ready for the bigs and got the call out of spring training for the Rockies in 2012. Unfortunately, he never really showed the dynamic stuff that had gotten him there and warranted such a substantial draft investment. Pomeranz finished 2012 with a 5.31 ERA without managing to keep the ERA under 4.30 during any full month of the season. He also battled injuries, and was sent back down to the minors at one point. It wasn't a total loss, though. Digging into the numbers, one notice's that Pomeranz kept his H/IP ratio at a very manageable level. He was never really hit that hard, and he only gave up six HR in Coors Field. The problem was that his command was lacking and he issued too many walks to be successful in his rookie campaign. Pomeranz had been having an OK spring in 2013 and he was slated to start the year in the rotation again until the Rockies signed veteran Jon Garland. Pomeranz will now begin the year in AAA and continue to hone his craft. He has shown to be very tough on lefties; with good strikeout ability, improved control and poise, the youngster could be back up in the bigs this summer. I could see him doing a decent job as a back-of-the-rotation starter later this season, and to improve on that in years to come.
After a 2011 debut during which Matt Moore struck out 15 batters in 9 IP, expectations were very high for the young Rays' pitcher in 2012. The results were a bit mixed, though, as Moore finished 11-11 with a 3.89 ERA. While those numbers may seem a bit underwhelming, it's important to note that he struck out 175 batters in 177 IP while only surrendering 158 hits. He also gave up just 18 HR (fewer than 1 HR per 9 IP) in the extremely tough American League East. Much like Pomeranz, Moore's 2012 would have been much more successful if he had showed better control (81 BB). Command in the strike zone is something that comes with experience and in Moore’s case, I don’t believe he lacks control. He is still just turning 23 years old this season, and seems not to trust his stuff enough yet, causing him to nibble with major-league hitters rather than attacking them. This puts him into bad counts, forcing him to pitch more from the stretch and ultimately to work harder to get outs. Moore's stuff is top-shelf, and I expect him to take at least a modest step forward in 2013. Considering the success he did have in 2012, that could put him in the 15-win range with a good number of strikeouts this coming season.