(Photo Credit: REUTERS/AARON DOSTER)
The best thing that Matt Harvey has done for the Mets in the past two seasons, is bringing in Devin Mesoraco.
I bet you'd never thought you'd read any kind of sentence close to that as a Mets fan. The idea of Matt Harvey disappearing only appeared in our minds as a picture of terror for 2019 when he might sign with the hated New York Yankees.
What we got instead was more of a banishment of Harvey to baseball no-man's-land in the Cincinnati Reds and the acquisition of what we thought was a has-been All-Star in Devin Mesoraco. But over the past week, it looks like the Mets have somehow managed to get a great deal out of this trade.
Made for New York
I checked Mesoraco's Baseball Reference page to see if he had a nickname to go with his striking, almost cartoonish New York 1920's gangster look (He does, it's simply, "Rocko" and it's perfect). Know that when I say this, I mean that with the highest compliment. He looks like an old-school tough guy and now seeing him in a New York uniform I can't help but wonder why on earth we shouldn't just hang on to him for the sake of it.
He's been making Mets fans swoon from day one. Even before his bat came to life at the plate, Rocko spent the time after being traded studying up on the Mets defensive play in the field. He wanted to better understand the pitching staff he would be catching.
"72-hour crash course on Mets pitchers..."
That's how an All-Star defensive catcher prepares for his new team. The Mets pitching staff, as a result, has been stellar with Mesoraco behind the plate. According to Anthony DiCosmo:
Catcher ERA is a flawed stat, but it's worth noting Devin Mesoraco's is 2.05 since joining the Mets. Jacob deGrom lauded his preparation.
"It's certainly a nice compliment, but those guys are throwing the pitches," Mesoraco said. "I don't feel like I deserve a ton of credit."
— Anthony DiComo (@AnthonyDiComo) May 19, 2018
But more so than staying humble when this rotation is pitching well, Mesoraco is also the first to take the blame if maybe pitchers have been missing their mark.
Clutch at the Plate
Mesoraco's bat wasn't exactly anything to brag about. He hadn't made an All-Star appearance since 2014, and due to an injury-riddled career, it didn't seem like he would ever again. But in just his past three games with the Mets, he's already hit two home runs, racked up four RBI, six runs scored, and four walks. His slugging percentage over the past week has jumped to .619. Two nights ago, he came up big, hitting a game-tying two-run homer in the bottom of the 8th, setting the stage for Wilmer Flores to send us all home happy yet again.
The only major question here is whether Rocko can sustain his hot bat. If so, maybe that power hitter we saw from 2014 may finally be healthy enough to get himself back on track despite currently batting just .190 in a Mets uniform. Mesoraco is re-inventing himself in New York the way Harvey never could, or maybe this is just one of those many "Mets" situations when something is glorious and wonderful for a brief window of time only to disappear as quickly as it arrived. Enjoy it while you can, Mets fans. Rocko's got your back.