Mesoraco analyzes each Reds starting pitcher

Pitcher Mat Latos and catcher Devin Mesoraco will make up one of the Reds batteries this season.

David Kohl

SURPRISE, Ariz. — For success, the relationship between catcher and pitcher needs to be on a special level, like husband and wife without the bickering.

The baseball cliche is, "We need to be on the same page," but with a catcher and pitcher it is more like being in the same paragraph or being in the same sentence. Every pitch thrown can be a success that leads to victory or a disaster that leads to defeat.

Devin Mesoraco and the Cincinnati Reds believe Mesoraco’s time share at catcher with Ryan Hanigan the past couple of seasons has paid enough dividends that it is Devin’s Time. So they traded Hanigan.

And over the course of his playing time and dugout time over the past two seasons, Mesoraco has absorbed tidbits and observations about his team’s starting pitchers, the guys he hopes to help guide through the dark spots and the bright spots during the long, long season.

Asked to share some of his observations about each starter, Mesoraco methodically dissected the staff.

RHP JOHNNY CUETO (5-2, 2.82): "He is such a great competitor. He expects to win every game, expects to pitch into the seventh inning in every game. He knows where his outs are, how to get them. He knows a guy is out front with his swing so he throws him a changeup or a slower slider. He has an extremely good and knowledgable idea of what he is doing on the mound."

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RHP MAT LATOS (14-7 3.16): "Physicially, there can’t be too many guys better in baseball. He is such a horse, as big as he is (6-6, 244). He has such a great downward plane when he throws and it is tough for hitters to hit the ball in the right spot to get some air under it. His slider is one of the best strikeout pitches in the game. He uses it to get both left-handers and right-handers out. He is fun to catch and he is so talented."

RHP HOMER BAILEY (11-12, 3.49): "He is such a perfectionist who gets better and better in all facets each year. His adjustments are pitch-to-pitch and is able to figure it out. It is fun to watch him mature and become so good. And I feel he’ll fill the role that Bronson Arroyo used to fill. Guys will come to him for advice and, just like Bronson, he’ll give them a straight-up answer, no b.s. Guys know they’ll get the straight answer. He just keeps getting better and better and there is even more room to improve."

RHP MIKE LEAKE (14-7, 3.37): "So far I’ve worked with him the most and he is able to do so much with pitches. You have to be precise and perfect in what you want to do with him because he can do so much with his pitches. No matter where I hold my glove, no matter what pitch it is, he will hit it with every pitch he throws. Because he is so precise in what he wants to do if I have to try to get inside his head to know what he is thinking, what he wants to throw, where he wants to throw it and when he wants to throw it."

LHP TONY CINGRANI (7-4, 2.92): "The first thing everybody sees about him is that competitor that he is. Last year, he was pitching off just one pitch (fastball) and blowing it right by them, which was fun to see. Down here this spring, he has been one of our most improved guys. He has been able to throw a slider for strikes and thrown it off the plate against left-handers. He has improved the slider immensely. His fastball is always going to be there, a special pitch, that he was able to get by with. Hitters will change their approach to him but with his other stuff, and the fastball, he’ll still be able to be successful. It is fun to how he is evolving."