Since my frustrations with the New York Yankees major league club have left me grumpy for the better part of the past week, I decided to check in on their Triple A affiliate, the Scranton-Wilkes Barre Yankees. In particular, I wanted to see how catcher Francisco Cervelli was faring. Ten days ago I wrote an article explaining why I felt the Yankees GM Brian Cashman had “broken” the 26-year-old backstop. At the time, Cervelli was mired in a post-demotion slump, hitting just .159. I was concerned that perhaps his spirit was no longer present and that we may have seen the last of the New York Yankees fan favorite.
What I found has given me hope, and helped me to temporarily forget about my anger at the mediocre play of the boys from the Bronx.
Over the last 10 contests, Cervelli has had four multi-hit games and has raised his average to .227. During that stretch he is hitting .342 with an .826 OPS. It would appear that Francisco Cervelli is getting his stroke back. In addition, his play behind the plate is showing improvement as he has thrown out 5 of 19 base runners. That 26 percent CS rate represents an increase over his career percentage (20%).
By comparison, current New York Yankees starting catcher Russell Martin is hitting .150, and has thrown out just three of 15 runners (a 20 percent CS rate). Before you flag me on it, yes I am aware that Cervelli is playing at the minor league level, but a base runner is a base runner isn’t it? The catcher GM Cashman obtained to replace Cervelli – Chris Stewart – is hitting .235 and hasn’t had a stolen base attempt against him to this point, leading me to further question why the deal for him was necessary.
Given the New York Yankees recent rash of injuries, and the associated lack of options off the bench for manager Joe Girardi, Cervelli’s call-up may not be so far off. Just two days ago Girardi found it necessary to have both of his light-hitting catchers in the lineup (one as DH). Had Francisco Cervelli been on the team there would have been more of an offensive threat at one of those spots.
If he can continue on his recent pace, Francisco Cervelli warrants another look from the New York Yankees management. It is my hope they have not forgotten about the gritty backstop, and that they realize it is not too late to undo a decision that was a mistake.