"I would say he was typical of a cold-weather player in his first year," Reds Minor League director Terry Reynolds said. "He's hard-nosed with a good make-up -- and a good person. All are things you look for in a young catcher. He got beat up pretty good in the GCL. He got rested and refocused."This spring, Mesoraco is challenging to get a spot with Class A Dayton in the Midwest League. "Every step he takes, he impresses," Reynolds said. "He needs innings and time. He has the skills." More respect: A recent ranking of top organizations on MiLB.com placed the Reds as having the fourth-best farm system. Last month, Baseball America placed five Reds prospects in their annual top 100 list, including overall No. 1 prospect Jay Bruce. The recognition is starting to flow after years of the farm system underperforming under previous regimes. "We've worked hard at it," Reynolds said. "We think we have good players. But the proof is in the pudding, because the big league team needs to have success. The players have to prove it and continue it at the big league level." Class of 2007: Neftali Soto, a shortstop taken as a supplemental third-round Draft pick last June, batted .303 with two homers and 28 RBIs in 40 games with the GCL Reds. The 19-year-old was ranked the eighth-best GCL prospect by Baseball America. What they're saying: "[I like] his quiet demeanor and confidence. The guy has another gear. I don't see him as a quality-start, 6 1/3-inning, three-run guy. That's a formula to get paid but not a formula to win. Every time he gives up a run, he doesn't like it. Every time he gives up a hit, he doesn't like it. That's a formula to win." -- Reds manager Dusty Baker, on pitching prospect and non-roster invitee Johnny Cueto, who is poised to earn a rotation spot with the big league club
Mark Sheldon is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.