06 August 2018

Checking Your Expectations of Victor Victor Mesa

As you run through the knowledge of the fan base on Victor Victor Mesa, I think you find a wide range of knowledge on the prospect.  Some are delirious with expectations as FanGraphs and others note him to be the most exciting prospect in this year's international amateur bonus pool class.  Others try to cool everyone down and do so by misunderstanding how some media entities compile their lists:

It should be noted that while the handle is from a very good MiL photographer, he does not understand the prospect ranking methodology used by MLB Pipeline.  MLB Pipeline does not consider players who have yet to pass through the MLB approval process.  Another follower contacted me and worried about the Orioles signing Mesa because he thinks, and I paraphrase, that everyone considers Mesa to be a superstar in the making, that he is likely to fail, and will result in the fans and the front office swearing off international amateurs again.

This misinformation and misunderstanding made me wonder among our connections via Twitter, what do people actually think about Victor Victor Mesa.

In that poll, three quarters of the respondents think Mesa is ready for the minors with a quarter thinking he is ready for me.  I think that is a fairly good understand of where Mesa is at the moment.  The evaluators I talk to say that he is primed more for AA Bowie.  Though one thought Frederick might be a better place for him to get his feet under himself.

One of the concerns was that last year as a 21 year old, Mesa was part of a Cuban National Team that barnstormed Canada against teams that were often a good eight to ten years old than him made up of some talented former minor leaguers with one or two former MLBers who had brief stints.  Phillippe Aumont being the most well known of them.  Mesa had difficulty adapting to the heavy offspeed laden pitching approaches he faced.  That combined with a frustrating Cuban National Series, gives some cause for a slower, more deliberative approach.

While people probably do not know all the ins and outs with Mesa, I find the general expectation of where he is now to be largely accurate with only 1 in 4 being mistaken.  It may be that they hear reports noting that he could be a glove only replacement on the bench right now and it provides a halo to overshadow his developmental needs.

The second aspect to explore is what will Mesa become?
The poll fond 95% think Mesa will be a solid regular or star.  Yes, that is tough.  As we have noted before, Victor Victor Mesa is thought of as being a backend top 100 prospect talent.  Lets take a look at what that means by re-reading our post on success probability of prospects.  If that is too much of a task, the short of it is that backend positional prospects do not become solid starters 73% of the time.  The prudent response to this question would be that you should expect him to be a bench level talent.  That does not mean he cannot become more than that, but that is what the expectation should be.

What makes scouts excited about Mesa is that he is a true centerfielder.  He runs good routes. He has plus speed.  He has a plus arm.  Those are all very valuable.  A young Craig Gentry boasted all of the same.  Current model Craig Gentry still does to some extent.  The main developmental issue with Mesa is what exactly is his bat.  In the CNS, he profiled more as a line drive hitter with gap power.  He was more contact oriented and was rather average at drawing walks.

When you look at young Cubans who played in the CNS and then made big signings in the States, you generally see more aptitude for power.  Yasiel Puig, Rusney Castillo, Alex Guerrero, and Yasmany Tomas.  Now, of those only Puig has found success at the MLB level, but it goes to show that a major skill to show success is lacking so far in Mesa's skill set.  If it was there, you might have more of a projection here.  An excellent hit tool would conjure up visions of Andy Van Slyke or Eric Davis.

As is, Mesa is an excellent prospect that is considered worth far more than what he will be able to sign for with MLB's international bonus pool rules in effect.  However, keep your expectations in check.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

So do we want him or not? Or maybe the more important question is, if we're not going for Mesa, why has the team built up so much international money (according to this blogs previous article). Is their some other international talent worth pursuing that we/you are not seeing yet?