Victor Victor Mesa the player so nice they named him twice. He is the son of Cuban legend and lightning rod Victor Mesa. Senior was a star for Villa Clara. Mesa was the table setter for Cuba’s strongest National teams. He was a lightning rod as a player and later as the manager for the National Team. Victor Mesa might be the spiritual combination of Rickey Henderson and Billy Martin.
He and younger brother Victor Jr. were considered the top prizes in the 2018 International Free agent market. The Marlins reeled in both young Cubans . Victor Victor signed for the biggest bonus during the period at $5.25 million. Victor Jr. 4 years his junior received $1.25 million. Will the brothers have a place at the Major League table? Let’s get inside the dugout and find out.
Born July 20th, 1998 Victor Victor is 5’11 and 185 pounds. He is a right-handed natural centerfielder who possesses many of the athletic tools of his father. Mesa Sr. once led the Cuban National Series in stolen bases in 14 out of 15 seasons.
Many players debut very young in the National Series. Few receive a full time starting job at just 15 years of age. Claims of nepotism abounded when Victor Victor was given this opportunity. Mesa received just this opportunity with Matanzas many claiming because his father was the manager.
Mesa was 11 years younger than the average cuban player. Because of this he initially appeared overmatched. He hit a paltry .194 that first season. The faith from papa paid off in subsequent seasons though. Victor Victor made huge strides in the next few years and his prospect stock rose with it. His age 19 season would be his peak in Cuba. 40 stolen bases in 75 games accompanied a .357 batting average and .403 on base.
The young speedster would move to Havana and become the starting centerfielder for Industriales. Victor Sr. was also named the new manager of Industriales. This didn’t help the concerns over nepotism but did put him at the front of the National spotlight.
He appeared on the prospect radar as well as the Cuban National team. The National Team is not what it once was as defections in the 2010’s left the cupboard depleted. Mesa would soon follow this same path adding to the troubles for the former international powerhouse. The defections of the brothers surprised many. Mesa Sr. has been vocal in his support of the government. Many feel he is an opportunist or at least a self promoter. The belief is that he was talking out of both sides of his mouth and was always eying the Major Leagues for his sons.
This attitude is a great snapshot into the psyche of modern day Cuba. National pride is still rampant but the lure of playing for currency over country is now stronger. Due to this, the island is struggling with balancing the baseball health on the island. While top talent leaves for the chance to excel in pro leagues.
Victor Victor’s ascension in Cuba outlines the hope for the type of player he can be at the top level. Mesa projects as a leadoff contact machine with elite base stealing skill. His top skill is his outfield defence in centerfield. He did win a minor league gold glove for his exceptional defence. The physical tools are real, but since his breakout season he has battled injuries. Mesa’s batting numbers have suffered, first on the island and in his first pro season. His prospect status has taken a hit after an underwhelming debut in 2019. He split that season between A-ball and double-A but did rebound slightly in the Arizona Fall League. He was selected as an All-Star in the fall league.
The Miami Marlins surprised many in 2020. Covid-19 decimated the clubhouse yet they still made the playoffs. Coronavirus also wiped out the 2020 minor league season. Ranking minor league systems in 2021 is harder than it has ever been. Mesa has fallen from the #14 prospect to #29 in the Marlins system. His brother has surpassed him in these rankings. In the minors you can get old very quick.
Victor Victor is still just 24 years old but finds himself relatively mature in a now stocked Marlins system. 2021 might be a make or break season. The original Spring Training invite list didn’t include Mesa. He will be given the chance to show what he can do as Miami changed course and invited him to camp. It is highly unlikely he will make the major league roster but an impressive spring showing can restore some of the lost lustre.
Mesa for his part is staying optimistic. via Jorge Ebro and translated/paraphrased from Spanish. Victor Victor spent the 2020 lost Minor league season working on his physical conditioning. He doesn’t feel any pressure to make the Major League squad this spring or even this year. Mesa does realize that this year will be very pivotal. He will have to show the promise that led to his large signing bonus. He plans to continue to work on his skills and worry less about where he is playing. Victor Victor is expected to start the year back in Double A. A quick promotion to Triple-A might indicate the re-establishment of his prospect status.