LAGOS DE MORENO, MEXICO - OCTOBER 25: Tommy Mendonca (L) of the United States talks with an umpire during the Baseball Gold Medal Match between the United States and Canada during Day 11 of the XVI Pan American Games at the Pan American Baseball Stadium on October 25, 2011 in Lagos de Moreno, Mexico. (Photo by Dennis Grombkowski/Getty Images)
However, the most intriguing item in Durrett's story is the news that 2009 second rounder Tommy Mendonca will be getting an invitation to camp as a catcher.
Mendonca, selected out of Fresno State University as a third baseman, has played third base exclusively (other than one game at second base with Bakersfield) as a professional. Mendonca had a disastrous year in 2010, posting a 722 OPS in the hitter-friendly Cal League, and while he had a solid bounce-back campaign in 2011 at AA Frisco, putting up a .278/.335/.492 line, his contact issues (he had 160 Ks in 556 plate appearances last year) make him a fringe prospect, at best, as a third baseman.
Mendonca's defense at third base has garnered praise, however, and if he can make the transition behind the plate, it lowers the offensive threshold he would have to meet in order to keep moving up the ladder. It will be interesting to see how this experiment works this year.