Two weeks in, Cervelli seizes the starting catching job

Fan Confidence Poll: April 15th, 2013
2013 Draft: Hunter Renfroe

After the Yankees allowed Russell Martin to leave as a free agent this winter, they made it clear they would go with internal options behind the plate. The free agent and trade markets didn’t offer a ton of catching solutions anyway, but going with some combination of Chris Stewart, Frankie Cervelli, and Austin Romine behind the plate was a very sketchy proposition. It became obvious Romine would open the season in Triple-A as Spring Training progressed while the other two shared catching duties in the Bronx.

“For the first month it will be somewhat of a process figuring out how you are going to do it,” said Joe Girardi to George King on Opening Day when asked about how he would handle his catching situation. “It’s something I thought about the last three or four days and talked to my coaches about it. Right now it’s going to be a fairly even split and go from there.”

That “fairly even split” has already disappeared two weeks into the regular season. The 27-year-old Cervelli has started nine of the team’s eleven games so far, including all three against the division rival Orioles this weekend. That includes a day game after a night game on Saturday. Stewart, 31, was scheduled to start one of the postponed games against the Indians last week, but the Yankees used the rainout as an opportunity to essentially skip his spot and continue to keep him on the bench.

Of course, the reason Cervelli has seized the starting catching job so early in the season is his bat. He’s mashed in those nine starts, going 9-for-25 (.360) with seven walks (.500 OBP) and one strikeout (!) while averaging 4.13 pitches per plate appearance. It’s tough to take that kind of production out of the lineup given how poorly the bottom of the batting order has performed in general — the seven through nine spots combined for a weak .261/.314/.378 line heading into yesterday’s game, and that’s including Frankie.

Cervelli (and Stewart for that matter) hasn’t really stood out defensively in the early going, but it has only been nine games. He hasn’t had to use his much-improved throwing arm because opponents have only attempted one stolen base in his nine games — Cervelli threw out Prince Fielder of all people last week — though I guess that could be a reputation thing. Opponents know his throwing has improved and aren’t even bothering to attempt a stolen base, something like that. Who knows. Frankie has allowed three balls to get by him in 72 innings behind the plate, but all three are wild pitches.

“Right now I feel I can catch every day in the Major Leagues,’’ said Cervelli to King at the end of Spring Training. “It’s not in my mind, but I’ll let them decide. I have to talk with my actions and my game. That’s my dream, catch 150 games.’’

Well, catching 150 games isn’t going to happen no matter what Cervelli hits or however many would-be base-stealers he throws out. He’s not a true talent 185 wRC+ hitter and at some point his offense will return to Earth, but Frankie has already managed to play his way into a clearly defined clearly starting catcher role. That is exactly what the Yankees needed to see early in the season not just given all their injuries, but also for their future behind the plate. One year after being demoted to Triple-A, Cervelli has a golden opportunity to make himself a fixture behind the plate going forward, and he’s already starting to take advantage.

Fan Confidence Poll: April 15th, 2013
2013 Draft: Hunter Renfroe
  • gageagainstthemachine

    Yankees management and coaches are looking like geniuses right now on the off-season catching decision. Let’s see how long it will last. I will say that Cervelli looks like a much-improved and much more mature player on the diamond this year than in the past. He still brings that energy (and the fist pumps) we were used to from years past, but he looks like a veteran player out there right now. Here’s hoping he keeps it up for as long as he can.

    • Laz

      I think too many people were just undervaluing him. He did hit .266/.324/.395 in 2011, compared to Martin’s .211/.311/.403 last year. As long as they determined that his defense was truly improved there wasn’t really a point to bring back martin @ $8M a year over several years.

  • Winter

    Not a true talent 185 wRC+?

    You do realize that we’re talking about Francisco “MVP” Cervelli…

    • A.D.

      If only fist-pumps and smiles added 100 points to your wRC+

      • Pablos swiss sammich

        If only fist-jobs and smiles added 100 points to your wRC+

  • Luis Castillo (Not the one who dropped the ball)

    Again, as with Wells, I crapped all over the decision to let Martin walk when he was willing to take a one year deal, but Cervelli is playing very good and he’s making me eat my words again (Could live without the fist-pumps but I’m nitpicking now).

    But now that I think about it, I can still crap all over the decision to let Martin walk, because its Stewy the one that I really dislike… A catching tandem of Martin plus Cervelli would be very nice.

    • jsbrendog

      but would cervelli still be doing well without regular playing time? and would martin suck even more without it? backups suck everywhere, so i don’t feel like it is too big of a deal

    • Jim Is Bored

      That tandem may have been nice in theory; but it would have meant much less Cervelli, and probably very similar level of production with a much higher (relative) cost.

    • Mike HC

      I didn’t mind letting Martin walk, hoping the Yanks were going to bring in another veteran on a one year deal to replace Stewart. When that didn’t happen, and the report came out that Martin was willing to take a one year deal, I would have definitely preferred that to Stewart as well. Basically, I was in favor of anyone but Stewart.

      • ClusterDuck

        I don’t like Stewart either, but Martin at 9-10 million for a one year deal would have been way too much money. And the guys skill are decaying if you ask me.

        Hopefully Romine replaces Stewart in June, and Murphy and Sanchez move up a level.

        • Luis Castillo (Not the one who dropped the ball)

          This is in hindsight of course ’cause they got Boesch and whatnot, but what if the yankees would’ve put their minds in baseball; so they NOT sign Ichiro and use that money to replace Stewart with (I don’t wanna say Marin again, but..) Martin for example?

          • Jim Is Bored

            I would rather they have signed neither Ichiro nor Martin.

    • emac2

      Very Nice?

      You hate fist pumps so much that you don’t care if someone hits .220?

      • Luis Castillo (Not the one who dropped the ball)

        I don’t think I said that.

    • MannyGeee

      I think we can all agree the problem is Stewart. We need a Molina level defensive back up, which is what they sold us in Stewart, but alas…

      • Luis Castillo (Not the one who dropped the ball)

        Yeah, a BUC actually good at something would be sweet.

        • Rick

          Kindly go through MLB rosters and list back-up catchers you’d prefer over Stewart. I’ll wait. In the mean time, find something better to complain about.

          • Luis Castillo (Not the one who dropped the ball)

            Pick one of Saltalamacchia, Ross and Lavarnway.
            Evan Gattis (When McCann is back).
            Wilson Ramos or Susuki.
            Hank Conger.

            Just from the top of my head. Douchebag.

            • Luis Castillo (Not the one who dropped the ball)

              Derek Norris.

              I could do this all day, because tha yankees probably have the worst of them and that’s why I’m “complaining”.

              • Rick

                If that’s the well you’re going to, there is no point even having a discussion. Shoppach is a career .228 hitter, which is actually inflated from two early years of his career. Derek Norris was .201/.276/.349 last year. Stewart was .241/.292/.319. Would that be an upgrade? The players your name are arguably not upgrades and if they are, they are merely negligible and not worth griping over.

            • Rick

              Really? Soto? Conger? Gattis, he of 39 career PA’s?Minnesota needs a decent back-up catcher with Mauer and Doumit is horrendous defensively. You’re really reaching. Your elementary name calling aside, the point remains that back-up catcher is not the most pressing position to fill. Stewart is no worse than the majority of back-up catchers and at least offers defensively behind the dish. You’d also be a lot cooler if you were the Luis Castillo who dropped the ball, just saying.

              • Luis Castillo (Not the one who dropped the ball)

                So, you prefer Stewart… really?

                He offers exactly what defensively?

                “… the point remains that back-up catcher is not the most pressing position to fill.”

                Hmm, I guess because you say so I shouldn’t want the yankees to get somebody better at baseball. Got it.

                • Rick

                  Go back and read the post from the other day about Stewart’s defensive ability. When you’re resorting to ignorant comments, that’s all that needs to be shown about your intellect and ability to objectively analyze a situation.

                  • Luis Castillo (Not the one who dropped the ball)

                    When you judge somebody’s intellect over a conversation about BUC, that’s all that needs to be shown about your intellect and ability to objectively analyze a situation.

                    • Mike

                      That makes absolutely no sense. Rick is right, your intellect seriously needs to be questioned.

                    • Luis Castillo (Not the one who dropped the ball)

                      0k, by you guys?

                      Go ahead.

            • Rick

              Soto last year: .198/.270/.343
              Conger’s one year of extended playing time: .209/.282/.356

              None of which can hold a candle to Stewart defensively. Never once even tried to imply that Stewart was close to the best back-up catcher in the league, yet the point remains that he’s not all that bad. The Yankees valued defense coming into the year, which is why he’s on the team. He’s started 2 games this season. There is a time and place to pick battles, now is not the time nor the place.

              • Luis Castillo (Not the one who dropped the ball)

                I guess I’m going with some sort of upside on Soto’s side, plus Stewart is not some sort of magician behind the dish IMO.

                But it’s ok I’ll drop it (see what I did there?).

                I’d leave it at: If you gave me the choice (wich you did) i’d take MANY(!) catchers over Chris Stewart.

                • Rick

                  Obviously free to choose whatever catcher you’d want to, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you’d be upgrading.

  • emac2

    The good thing is that he doesn’t have to maintain his current pace to be an improvement on Martin. Especially if you factor in the contracts.

    I’m convinced he’s good enough until Sanchez arrives and next year he and Romine should be well above average.

    • Mike HC

      Between Cervelli, Romine, Sanchez and Murphy, the Yanks hopefully have locked up cheap catcher production for several years.

      • emac2

        Some serious trade bait as well.

    • mike

      totally agree, and this is what we as fans need to anticipate going forward with the poor drafting and new rules in place for the Yanks and the rest of baseball.

      I expect to see a long development process to have these non-top draft picks become useful ML players, and hope for league average production with a potential overall upside ( for instance, at least he takes pitches, can run the bases and puts the bat on the ball). He becomes either a useful piece of a puzzle for low cost, and serves as a placeholder until other players are ready, or gives the FO flexability to either trade a prospect (or him) for a needed part.

      its frustrating that the Yanks cannot seem to develop that AS position player ( cano is a long time ago…) but at least if a combination of Nunez, Cervelli, Adams, Musty etc. can contribute at the ML level, it will give the Yanks some roster flexibility and cost-controlled options going forward

  • monterowasdinero

    Bat speed very impressive so far. Who needs Jesus?

    • mustang



      Btw your boy seems to be getting out of his slump 4 for his last 8. Now if he could do something about that pass ball and stole base he had last game he would alright.


      • Luis Castillo (Not the one who dropped the ball)

        God knows Montero is no catcher, he is a 1b at best and a DH at worst… to bad there are like 12 guys like that over there in SEA.

        And for the record, I would like if he starts to get his shit togheter and mash. I’m not into that “who won the trade” bullshit.

  • jim p

    “Cervelli’s Not Smelly!”

    He came in with a career .272 in a not-small-sample size. OK, he doesn’t mash, but he gets on base, and (purely by subjective memory) he tends to do it in tight game situations. His skills at catcher were definitely better than what he showed in 2010, so there’s never been a reason he couldn’t recapture it.

    I’m fine with Cervelli at catcher.

  • Kosmo

    From Cervelli I think NY could get a .260-.270 ave w/ 50-60 RBI and a .335 OBP. Stewart´s role will end up much like last years. Romine in the early going has performed well and if he continues to hit could be called up at some point to replace Stewart. Murphy and Sanchez will undoubtedly earn promotions by mid-season.

    • mitch

      I think that’s realistic, and that’s much better than I expected heading into the season.

    • MannyGeee

      Yeah, if That Lettuce Dude stays healthy, I HAVE to assume he makes another trip up in September (relegating Stewy to bag carrying duty), and opens up another nice competition next April… But I am getting ahead of myself.

      • Luis Castillo (Not the one who dropped the ball)

        Yeah, no. I was thinking more like June for Romine to come up if he stays healty and mantains decent ofensive numbers in AAA eventhough (SSS alert!) he isn’t showing power. I’ve had enough of Stewart, seriously.

        I think that the fact that “the one that connot be named” (TN) always was talking about Stewart’s pitch framing skills and stuuf like that, had something to do with me disliking the guy so much.

        That, and the fact that he may very well have the weakest, and ugliest swing I’ve seen in a Yankee since… I don’t know, Enrique Wilson?

        • MannyGeee

          I think the problem in our theory is that if Cervelli is going to take 80% of the starts, are you really helping Romine by putting him in the big club to be a back up? Or is he better served playing every day in Scranton?

          Whos to say. I think a situation like that has a better chance of happening on Frankie’s final Arb year when his team control is about to run out, and I think that is at least a year away, correct?

          Never mortgage the future to make yourself feel only slightly better today.

          • Luis Castillo (Not the one who dropped the ball)

            I don’t know about helping Romine, but I’m sure as hell that it wouldn’t hurt the team.

            I think we should keep going under the assumption that Cervelli won’t be this good for the whole 6 months, I’m not saying he’ll turn into, well, Stewart, but I’d bet he doesn’t mantain a 185 wRC+. In wich case (plus the wear and tear of the season) he could be starting 4 games a week with Romine starting the other 3, may be?

  • MannyGeee

    Eddard believed in Frankie all along in 3…….2…….

    • Jim Is Bored

      And no one was on his flagship bandwagon. No one believed in Eddard!

      • The Real Me

        Except his dad.

        • gc

          Or his pants. Or his dad’s pants.

          • Robinson Tilapia

            Or his panting dad.

            • Jim Is Bored

              Nope nope nope not letting my brain explore the implications of that sentence.

              • jjyank

                Good call. I feel dirty.

              • MannyGeee

                You must have missed sperm steak Sunday on the Game Thread then, huh?

                • John Kruk

                  …it’s only on Sundays? Shit.

                • Robinson Tilapia

                  I felt like we were approaching mid-season form there.

                  • Havok9120

                    We’re getting there.

  • John C

    I have been very impressed with Cervelli so far, but it is his long term durablilty that I need to see. Remember a couple of years ago when Posada was injured and Cervy had to be the regular catcher for a while? After a while his bat slowed and he stopped hitting. Hopefully, he is better conditioned for a starting role this time I had no problem with letting Martin go. Was never crazy about him, but I really would have liked to have AJ Pierzynski here to share the job with Cervelli.

  • Gary Sanchez

    you have 2 years max then its mine.

    • J.R. Murphy

      Dream on.

      • Kyle “Sledgehammer” Higashioka


        • Chase Weems

          I’ll be back, fuckers.

          • Dave Parrish

            *Tearing through boxes in my attic*

            • Sal Fasano

              *dusting off the ‘stache*

  • Eddard

    I’ve been saying this all along about Cervelli. It’s not just that he’s mashing the ball, it’s that he always gives a quality AB. He works counts and fights off pitches as good as anyone in the lineup.

    I think Frankie felt slighted last year when we have a .180 hitting starting catcher and a backup catcher who was even worse, and yet he didn’t even get a chance to prove himself. They held him down and this season he is showing what he can do. Give the Yankee FO credit for one thing, when they let Martin go they knew they had their future starting catcher in Frankie Cervelli.

    • MannyGeee

      There he is! 11 minutes later you have given me a dalelama level of confidence. I profitsized thissss!!!!

      • jjyank

        The Great MannyGeee has foreseen the 1965 2013 prophecy!

    • The Real Me

      and yet he didn’t even get a chance to prove himself.

      Please remember, even in Eddardworld, Cervelli didn’t do a whole lot to help himself while in AAA last year to show that he deserved a call-up. This year, he’s done fine in a very small sampling. Let’s see (and hope) it continutes.

  • Eddard

    And why in the world would you ever want to let Chris Stewart play 50% of the games? Anybody with a pulse can see that Stewart is bad. Frankie should play as often as possible, at least 80% of the games. It’s the same with Jayson Nix. Why would you want to keep him around? He can’t field and wasn’t that the knock against Nuney? Nix is worse. And his lone offensive contribution was sitting on a Verlander change up.

    • Jim Is Bored

      Cervelli has played 9/11. That’s 82%.

      I have no idea what you’re going on about right now.

      • Caballo Sin Nombre

        The original plan (at least what we were given to believe) was that there was going to be an even split. As stated in above article.

        That’s what he’s going on about.

        • Jim Is Bored

          So he’s going on about a plan that has since been revised and that no one wants or is clamoring for?

          Got it. Makes sense for Eddard.

      • Luis Castillo (Not the one who dropped the ball)

        Give him a break, he is typing from Frankie’s bandwagon (because he somehow invented it) while it (i.e. the bandwagon) is cruising Eddard World’s boulevard… It’s crazy, hot, and crowded over there this time of the year.

        • Take That!

          Actually it’s Eddard Luther King Boulevard. Lots of traffic backup.

        • jjyank

          Lots of potholes too. Someone needs to pave that bitch.

  • Wayne

    Still think its a mistake that warren and phelps are not in rotation instead of nova and hughes. Cause i hope these guys arms don’t get ruined if we put them in rotation later in the year. Also think when José Ramírez comes up next year knowing how physically sensitive he is he should pitch in rotation only and not do the same thing we did with joba in 2008. Give him a shot as a fourth or fifth starter. I would not resign phil hughes and get a draft pick for him. Nova keep him in the minors. Zach Nuding could also be in rotation next year along with ramirez as fifth starter. If phelps and warren were given a chance now and did well they could be used as trade bait or keep them in rotation as fourth and fifth starters give Nuding and Ramirez more time to develop in minors. When petite and Kuroda retire then all four guys can be in rotation behind cc sabathia. 2015 rotation C.C. Sabathia, Adam Warren, Dave Phelps,Jose Ramirez , and Zachary Nuding. I love that rotation! If that is our rotation in 2015 and everyone has been handled properly in the rotation watch out! Yankees 2015 World Series Champions!!!!!!!!!!

    • Luis Castillo (Not the one who dropped the ball)

      A little off topic, aren’t we?

    • MannyGeee

      my head is spinning.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      I didn’t know baseball history began at Joba Chamberlain.

      Zach Nuding? Good one. Lay off the whippets.

    • jjyank


      Just, wow.

    • mustang

      Holy Shit !

      No words and for me that’s rare.

  • trr

    obvious choice is obvious

  • Larry B.

    I always felt that not bringing back Martin was one of the most overblown things from offseason. I want to see how Cervill holds up but so far it’s looking like it was smart to not bring Martin back.

    • Eddard

      Yeah, they were acting like the drop off from Martin to Frankie was as big as the previous drop off from Jorgie to Martin. Jorgie was one of the best offensive catchers of his era. Martin hit .180 for much of last season. Now he’s over in Pittsburgh making $8.5 million a year and hitting a whopping .065.

    • Bob Buttons

      For the record, I never really gave too much crap about not bringing Martin back. Sure, the two/three guys we have might do much worse, but might as well save 8 mil a year at it in the process, not to mention it’s much better for our mental stability to not watch a 8 mil catcher not doing crap for the majority of the season.

      • Luis Castillo (Not the one who dropped the ball)

        The thing is that, in my mind, they didn’t save a penny, they are carriying Ichiro and a 230M payroll out there!

        What saving?

        • Jim Is Bored

          Never know, 2000’s George might have brought back both.

        • Bob Buttons

          1) Wells, Overbay and Francisco are on the roster because of recent injuries.

          2) Ichiro would not be redundant if the injuries did not happen. (Sounds strange but it’s true).

          3) I’d still rather have Ichiro over Martin. Yes, overall the Yanks might have been better to have Dickerson and Martin than Ichiro and Stewelli, but it’s much more frustrating for the average fan to watch the former pair. Intangibles aside, (and technically WAR, since OFs hit better than Cs), Ichiro probably will do better than Martin on a one-to-one basis.

          • LK

            I know Martin has his warts, but given how Ichiro has hit since the beginning of 2011, I don’t know how you could possibly prefer him to Martin. In that time Ichiro has hit .275/.306/.359, for a .288 wOBA and 83 wRC+. Martin has hit .218/.312/.394 for a .314 wOBA and 93 wRC+. Martin has been signficantly better offensively since the beginning of 2011, even including his horrific start this year, and is also substantially younger than Ichiro. Even if you take position completely out of the equation, negating Martin’s biggest advantage, he’s still the clear choice over Ichiro.

            Cervelli has been awesome so far, and hopefully he’ll keep it up well enough to make letting Martin go a good move, but it’s pretty hard to argue that signing Ichiro was a better use of that money.

            • Bob Buttons

              I hold a vastly different view on this. First, Ichiro has been only on the downtrend for maybe two years. Martin has been heading downwards for many more. Second, outside of September, Martin hit .198/.301/.366, while Ichiro hit .261/.288/.353 in Seattle in 2012. That’s 60 points of BA right there. I’m not saying a walk is not useful, but outside of September he gained 160 bases (TB+BB) while Ichiro gained 159 (TB+BB) just in Seattle. Ichiro’s higher SB totals can at least negate Martin’s lead in GDP (Ichiro usually grounds into much less than Martin anyways). So there you have it. Martin has been trending downwards for longer periods of time, and he is actually LESS productive on the offensive side of the ball. (Defensively, I really find it hard to quantify, especially with catchers.)

              Granted, I only compared the months where Martin wasn’t on a hot streak, but Ichiro wasn’t exactly great in Seattle either. I don’t think either would justify their deals, but I’d think Ichiro would be more productive than Martin this year, and maybe even the next.

              • LK

                “[H]e is actually LESS productive on the offensive side of the ball.”

                Sorry, but this is simply untrue. Firstly, as you admit, you restricted the sample size, while the larger sample showed that Martin was clearly superior. Secondly, Martin had higher wRC+’s in 2011 and 2012 than he did in 2010, so I don’t know how you can say he’s been declining for longer than Ichiro. Martin had a higher OBP and slugging even for the period you selected. And, in your comparison of TB+BB, you neglect to mention the fact that Ichiro played everyday and hit at the top of lineup, while Martin got his customary days off as a catcher and hit at the bottom of the order.

                • Bob Buttons

                  To start off, I want to make a disclaimer that I’m trying to say Ichiro can produce more, not Ichiro produces at a higher rate.

                  Firstly, the larger sample (entire year) shows Ichiro was superior, by a long shot. He had more TB than Martin’s TB+BB combined. I actually made that point less effective by taking out the larger chunk of Ichiro’s season (and his extended hot streak). I don’t get how you found Martin to be superior.

                  Secondly, compared to 07/08 Martin has been declining overall. Most players, even a lot of catchers (see Posada or Victor Martinez) get better as their career progresses. I do not trust a player who continues to perform worse than they did before the physical prime. Ichiro’s decline phase is shorter. OPS really isn’t that much when you can’t make good contact most of the time. Do you honestly have less faith with Ichiro at the plate than with Martin?

                  Lastly, I’ll concede that part. Martin had 40 less PAs. However, he actually played MORE games (103, 96 starts) than Ichiro in the period selected. However, being able to trot out there and just play is a part of producing. Sometimes it really doesn’t matter who works more in the same amount of time (at bats,PAs, etc.) but who has more output, period.

                  • LK

                    Ichiro wRC+ in 2012 was 90. Martin’s was 95. I found Martin to be superior because he was.

                    OF COURSE Ichiro had more TB – he had 663 PAs in 2012 vs. 485 for Martin. The fact that he was able to accumulate more total bases in nearly 200 more trips to the plate is probably the weakest argument for being better offensively that I’ve ever heard.

                    I honestly have less faith with Ichiro at the plate than Martin. It’s not particularly close.

                    • Bob Buttons

                      Geez. I made it long and complex, but I guess you didn’t bother reading.

                      ICHIRO IS ABLE TO PLAY ON THE FIELD MORE OFTEN! Being able to play more often (whether by his own will or not) is a factor in productivity. wRC, wOBA, OPS, yaddi yaddi yadda, ALL of them are pretty much rates, not accumulative.

                      Say Glenn makes 35 sandwiches an hour, but he is old so his boss tells him to sit down and take a break every three hours. Bruce is younger, so he gets neglible amount of breaks, makes 30 sandwiches an hour. 8 hours later Glenn made 210, Bruce made 240.

                      The average boss wouldn’t give a crap about how Glenn makes sandwiches faster. Bruce makes more, and that’s what they care about. If they made Glenn work 8 hours straight he may not be able to produce too well for half the shift, so Hank, who needs less breaks, makes more sandwiches at the end of the day.

                      Ichiro gets more TB+BB. Martin doesn’t. End of the story for me. I’ve said MULTIPLE times that it’s NOT the rate I’m disagreeing with. It’s the end result, the total output. If you still disagree, we will just have to leave it at that, since I’m not changing my opinion unless you can explain why “better” can’t be explained as “more output in the same amount of time, calender-wise”.

                    • LK

                      I perfectly understand that Ichiro can get more total bases than Martin if he’s allowed to play everyday and hit at the top of the order. I just can’t for the life of me understand why that matters, since I don’t think Ichiro will get to do that this season, the reason being he’s sucked for the past two seasons (which one can see demonstrated by his rate stats which are far inferior to Martin’s).

  • mustang

    “He’s not a true talent 185 wRC+ hitter and at some point his offense will return to Earth,”

    Its statements like this that get under my skin. I mean seriously how do you know? How many players figure the game out and become better then first projected?
    I understand where the foundation for this statement comes from, but making such definitive statement makes one look arrogant at first and later foolish if proven wrong.

    • MartinRanger

      I mean, Mike’s pretty safe in saying that Cervelli will not continue to hit like a Hall of Famer. He’s off to a hot start, which is great, because they’ve needed it. And his aggressive contact-heavy plate approach, with enough patience not to chase everything, is a good fit in the current lineup.

      Really, what’s most important is that his defense is back to being acceptable. He seems to have fixed his throwing mechanics and he’s no worse at blocking pitches than Jorge was for most of his career. At this point I will be quite suprised if Martin substantially out plays him. Montero will, but I also expect this is the year Seattle stops pretending he’s a catcher.

      Point is, the catcher position is one of the least pressing issues on the Yankees right now, and that is unquestionably a Good Thing.

      • mustang

        “Montero will,”

        Again making definitive statement based on minor league numbers because he sure as YET to do it in the MLB.

        Do agree with “I also expect this is the year Seattle stops pretending he’s a catcher.” but then again I really don’t know what their thinking is. They name Montero their starting catcher yet thus far he has been splitting time with Shoppach.

        • MartinRanger

          Yeah, I’m quite confident Montero will be at least an above-average regular 4/5/6 hitter in the majors.

          Obviously, prospects are fungible, but guys with Montero’s skill set and polish at the plate are almost sure to figure it out eventually.

          Pineda could yet pay dividends for the Yankees. Actually I’m quite hopeful he will.

          But it’s foolish to pretend that Montero’s performance last year is indicative of his career path. He’s still extremely young for the majors.

    • Mike Axisa

      Albert Pujols’ career high is a 184 wRC+. Cervelli might exceed expectations, but I’m very comfortable saying he won’t be the best hitter on the planet at any point in his career.

      • jjyank

        Yeah, this. Cervelli could very well continue to exceed expectations, but I’m pretty certain he’s going to drop from a 185 wRC+.

        • Robinson Tilapia

          If only Ted were around to point out both your obvious biases there.

          • MannyGeee

            Obligatory “FALLACY” comment

          • Luis Castillo (Not the one who dropped the ball)

            Hah, IETC.

            I’m blaming you if he comes back btw.

            • Robinson Tilapia

              He can come back, although I’ll say that the mike and kkk stuff was the first real sign to me he was in need of a long vacation and/or Abilify.

              As a fan, I have no issue with his stances on the team, for the most part.

              • Manny’s BanWagon

                His anti social behavior towards his fellow commenters was the real problem, not his views on the Yankees.

                Abilify would be a good choice maybe as an adjunct to Lithium.

                • Jim Is Bored

                  The speed with which he turned on people who were agreeing with him was what boggled my mind.

                  • Manny’s BanWagon

                    All joking aside, IMO, there’s some type of pathology there.

          • Manny’s BanWagon

            I wonder which Yankee blog he’s terrorizing these days.

            • And in merrie olde England

              Spotted on Fangraphs a week or two ago.

      • mustang

        Ok, I can live with this maybe its just the way it was worded that hit me the wrong way.

      • eatmywords

        After all…our catching sucks…we aren’t going anywhere with our AAA catching…sounds really familiar.

      • Rick

        Can’t predict baseball.

  • Robinson Tilapia

    This just in: Player performance isn’t a straight fucking line from year to year.

    Viva Frankie!


    • mustang


      Agree 100%

      But if isn’t stupid by june I’m sure someone will point it out to Mike.


      • eatmywords

        He might even have to take down his Cervelli dartboard at home.

        • mustang

          Oh Stop he polished up his statement very well above.

          • eatmywords

            He still keeps the Russell Martin picture under his pillow.

            • mustang


              • Betty Lizard

                No, that’s me.

    • Luis Castillo (Not the one who dropped the ball)

      I don’t think he will fall that much of a cliff come june or any other month, his ofensive numbers suggest that he was never as bad as I thought, and his patience at the dish as really surprised me in a good way this couple of weeks, he is fouling tough pitches and everything.

  • Take That!

    Good job by Cervelli early on. I don’t think he’ll hit to this level all season, but will be serviceable and produce to Martin’s level overall (fewer HR, better BA and OBP), all while costing 1/8th the money.

    Sometimes with younger players they have to re-launch after the first crash. Not every young player is Jeter or Verlander. You might have to wait a few years until they are ready to man a position full time. They may have to go to the minors and wait for it to click in. But when it does, you’ll have solid players who came up through your system and save you from having to go out an sign other teams failed experiments/underachievers/injury prone players.

    Look, even Nunez looks like a competent SS this season. Maybe it SSS noise, or maybe it just clicked in for him.

  • Leg-End

    Cervelli has been refreshing to watch, he brings the energy all game. One thing he has been doing great is battling at the plate and being patient, he’s constantly fouling stuff off to stay alive and as his line levels out if he keeps that approach he’s still going to be a useful pitch count drainer.

  • Frank

    Loved the game ending fist pump/pointing to the Yankees dugout after Hiroki K’d the last batter.

  • Manny’s BanWagon

    Take it easy people. It’s great that Cervelli is hitting well but it’s only 32 PA’s. As Bill Parcells used to say, I wouldn’t get the annointing oil out just yet.

    • Jim Is Bored

      No one’s crowning him yet.

      We’re just pointing out that dismissing him as some did this off-season wasn’t any smarter.

      • Manny’s BanWagon

        Given his track record in the majors and lousy performance at AAA last year, expecting him to be a lower echelon starting catcher was perfectly justified IMO.

        • Havok9120

          Yeah, but that isn’t what a lot of people were doing. The standard thinking seemed to be that he was, at best, a career backup. Probably/definitely (depending on the person) better than Stewart, but “not a starting catcher.”

          • Luis Castillo (Not the one who dropped the ball)

            Yeah, count me as one of those (and I’d pick; “definetely”).

            But I don’t see what’s the problem with that; I’m happily eating my words… so far.

          • Manny’s BanWagon

            I agree it may have been premature to say with 100% certainty that he’s incapable of developing into the caliber of a starting catcher but I’d hardly say he’s proved himself to be a starting catcher after 30 ABs.

        • Jim Is Bored

          And as we’ve discussed plenty of times before, a lot of people disagreed about exactly how much worse he would be than Martin.

          A lot of the discussions have centered around inaccurate defensive metrics.

          There was no “definitive” correct answer, regardless of whether Cervelli turns out to be Johnny Bench or Jose Molina without a glove.

          You’re right, it was justified to believe Martin would be better. It was also justified to believe he wouldn’t be 7$ million better.

          • Manny’s BanWagon

            It was also justified to believe he wouldn’t be 7$ million better.

            Can’t comment on this one way or another until much latter in the season other than to say 10 games in, I’d certainly say you’re right so far.

            For me, the biggest issue with Martin was that they were willing to give Ichiro, who had about 1 good month in 2 years a 2/$13 million deal but wouldn’t go 2/$17 million for Martin.

            • Luis Castillo (Not the one who dropped the ball)

              This 1,000,000,000,000 times.

              And FWIW they didn’t even had to go 2 years on Martin according to some reports.

              • Jim Is Bored

                It’s easy for Martin to say he would have taken 1 year after the fact. What happened during negotiations is anyone’s guess.

                • Luis Castillo (Not the one who dropped the ball)

                  I don’t think it was Martin himself who came out and said that, it was some reporter or something like that, in wich case it should be taken with a hughe grain of salt. I agree with that.

            • Jim Is Bored

              I’m annoyed that they would give that money to either of them.

          • Luis Castillo (Not the one who dropped the ball)

            Even if sounds crazy, it seems to me that money was not a problem for the yankees this offseason.

            They were liying, they just didn’t want Martin and Chavez, so the 7M better part lacks credibility in my book. If that was their idea to put this team togheter, they really fucked that up bringing Ichiro back at 6M.

            They just didn’t want Martin period, it had nothing to do with money, wich seems strange when you know Fucking Stewart is gonna catch sometimes.

            • Jim Is Bored

              I disagree with almost all parts of this comment.

    • Tom

      I think it’s human nature to put a bit more stock in good #’s when dealing with small samples, especially when it occurs at the beginning of the year, but I think folks don’t realize how many 30 PA samples you can find good #’s for on virtually any player.

      Aug 2011: Cervelli posts a wRC+ 158 in 30PA’s
      Sept 2010: Cervelli posts a wRC+ 190 in 48 PA’s
      Apr 2010: Cervelli posts a wRC+ 140 in 30 PA’s

      (and this is just scanning quickly by month – if I were to look for continuous 30 PA samples, there would probably be twice as many examples)

      Were folks thinking he was a starting catcher after Aug 2011? Sept 2010? What’s different now (other than it being the beginning of the year)?

  • Kiko Jones

    This is the time for Cervelli, it really is. He wants a chance, he’s been talking about ‘give me a chance’, so now is his time.” – Jorge Posada, during Spring Training.

    It sure is, Jorge. He got a bullshit demotion—an administrative issue, not talent—so I’m happy to see him rise to the occasion now. I’d love to see that kid be the everyday catcher for seasons to come.

    • Rick

      Is that you, Kim Jones? Do you go by Kiko in the blogosphere?

  • PFOJ

    I was a pretty firm Romine Regiment guy in spring training, but there’s no reason not to be in the Cervelli Crew at the moment.

  • Backto#29

    Since ’09 Cervelli has been our favorite player. Not because his stats are off the charts or because his defense is stellar, but because as a role model for my son, there is no one better (well, maybe Jeter). The kid hustles at all times (sometimes to a fault), plays with enthusiasm (Fist bumps for life), is truly a team guy (willing…and able to play the infield), and generally seems to inject a good feeling around him (CC making him his personal catcher). Let’s all remember that this kid agreed to ‘try’ catching when he was signed…all in all, he is progressing fairly well. Win or lose, front-office gripes or praise we all need to remember that we love baseball and our Yankees. At the end of the day, it is a game. Positive and exciting players should make us passionate, not simply WaR#’s and OBP.

    Oh, and F ARod!

    • CG

      yay cervelli, yay mike for being pro-cervelli! I love this dude.

  • RetroRob

    If Cervelli can return to the defensive player he has when he first arrived on the Yankees in 2009, and what we saw again in ST, then he’ll be a plus. The power will never be there, but his ability to work counts, draw walks and put the ball in play is more than they’ll get from Stewart.

  • forensic

    Not the end of the world, but all day this has been up, it’s been reiterated time and time again, and yet no one chose to come out and say that he’s actually started 8 games instead of 9.

    Again, not the end of the world, but it significantly changes the percentages at this point and how many they are on pace for (which may change if he continues starting more).