Cervelli Not A Starting Caliber Catcher

Yankees GM Brian Cashman said yesterday that he expects Austin Romine to start the year in Triple- A, which would mean that Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart would handle the catching duties for the Yankees this season.

“I expect Romine to go to Triple-A,” Cashman said. “He missed all of last year, almost . . . I don’t expect him to be our everyday catcher out of the gate. He always has the possibility of taking it, but realistically, if I were in prediction mode, I’d say Triple-A.  But he has a chance to alter that.”

Romine, who played in only 31 games last due to a back injury, has not yet played a full season at Triple-A. The Yankees have insisted that they would fill the void left by Russell Martin internally.  Despite holding out hope myself that it wasn’t true it appears to be the case since the Yankees had no interest in A.J. Pierzynski on a one-year deal.

Cervelli is very popular among a lot of fans for reasons I don’t understand, but he has not proven to be a starting caliber catcher at the MLB level and I don’t think he ever will be. It is crazy that the Yankees said they had no interest in Pierznyski because of his defense when Cervelli would probably make him look like a gold glove award winner.

The Yankees are losing a great deal of defense behind the plate if Cervelli starts compared to what Martin gave them last season. Over his last two seasons with the Yankees Cervelli has thrown out a putrid 16% of base stealers (13 out of 79). His fielding runs above average for the last three years with the Yankees were -4.4, -3.2 and -.2. Also, in 2010 Cervelli had 13 errors in 90 games and in 2011 Cervelli had 6 errors in 41 games. Cervelli’s pitch framing and game calling will not come close to being what Martin’s was either.

Despite his .271 career batting average Cervelli is not a good hitter either. You should know by now that you have to dig deeper than batting average nowadays to determine somebody’s hitting value and Cervelli’s average is about as empty as a .271 average can be. First of all, if he was ever given regular playing time I don’t think he would maintain that .271 average, but that is besides the point.

Cervelli’s career OPS is a putrid .692 and his W/OBA in 201o was .317 and in 2011 it was .319. Cervelli has zero power and of his 133 career major league hits only 27 have been extra base hits. Cervelli’s BABIP in 2010 was .316 and in 2011 it was .315, which means that  he has been pretty lucky. Also, Cervelli’s line of .246/.341/.316/.657 in Triple-A last year was abominable. Perhaps you can blame that on him not being happy down there, but still it is not a good sign.

I’m not a huge advocate of Roomine starting either but I would still take him over Cervelli. Romine is an unknown who I would rather take a shot on rather than Cervelli because I pretty much know what Cervelli is going to do. Maybe I am missing something about Cervelli, but I really don’t know what that can be. The Yankees’ handling of the catching situation has been awful this offseason and it might hurt them greatly in 2013 since it is such an important position.

About Matthew B

I am a student at William Paterson University and studying to become a sportswriter. I have a huge passion for the Yankees and love sharing my opinions on them. I can analyze every aspect of the Yankees very well. I am very active on Twitter so feel free to contact me there Twitter: @RAYROBERT9

Posted on January 4, 2013, in No Category. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. I’ll say you in are in good company if you want to be a sportswriter……..because most don’t know crap! Like Cashman, who never played a day of pro ball, has no talent evaluation skills (don’t forget Isagawa, Giambi, Pavano)…..thats the reason Cervelli is still in the minors. Cashman has been riding of coattails of the core four and guess what they are slowly disappearing. Unlike you I’ve a Yankee fan since the late sixties during those bleak years……..and we are heading back into the dark ages!!!!

    • ONLY ASKING….NS…does that stand for negative soul?
      You found a good place to land, this site.
      There are two others, just as negative as you here. Are you all related?
      Lighten up, the world is not ending.
      I think your points are all mixed up, anyway. Take care.

  2. I don’t understand Cashman’s plan with the Catching. Unless he has a deal in the works for a legitimate backstop (unlikely), I am befuddled. Romine lost basically all of last year and is not ready to start in the majors. If he plays well in AAA and shows he’s healthy, he could be an optionaround June/July.

    Cervelli and Stewart are nothing more than backups. Stewart is above average defensively but one of the weakest offensive players in MLB. He’s essentially like having a pitcher bat. Cervelli was a decent back-up Catcher for the Yanks for 3 years since his offense is good for a 2nd-string Catcher. He gets on base 34% of the time, has good bat control/contact skills, bunts well and has had a knack for getting clutch hits. he can run well for a catcher and pitchers seem to like his enthusiasm even though he has seemed to get worse every yr defensively. Bottom line is both he and Stewart could be acceptable backups to legit starting catchers but together they form one of the worst catching corps of any team in MLB.

    I am shocked that Cashman would compile such an old team of 1-yr players to seemingly go for a Championship before the budget crisis yet leave such an important position in peril. AJ Pieryznski was a PERFECT fit for this team on a 1-yr deal. I don’t get it.

    Also makes me long for Jesus Montero. The Yankees 2 biggest needs right now are a powerful RH DH and someone who can catch at least part-time. Montero would supply both of those things. He didn’t have the best rookie yr but he caught 55 games and showcased the ability we all know he has hitting .295 with a 117 OPS+ away from the SafeCo dungeon.

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