Friday, May 8, 2009

Is Frankie Cervelli Ready For Prime Time?

Editor's Note: At the beginning of the minor league season, we introduced Yanks26 as NSI's latest blog contributor. Since then, he has tirelessly pored over the minor league box scores, and has followed our minor league teams very closely. This is nothing new to him - he has been following the Yankees farm system for years. So, who better to give us some insight on the new Yankees starting catcher - young Francisco Cervelli?

Francisco Cervelli is suddenly the Yankees starting catcher due to injuries to Jorge Posada and Jose Molina. Who is Cervelli and why is he starting? Cervelli was the only catcher on the 40 man roster, he is a natural leader and a workout warrior.

Cervelli was an All-Star in Staten Island (2006) and Tampa (2007). He's a good on base guy (.397 in 2006) and is solid defender. He lead the league in 2007 in throwing out would-be base stealers (41%). Cervelli's year in 2008 was derailed by the infamous home plate collision in spring training against the Tampa Rays, which left Cervelli with a broken wrist. It ended up costing him all but 27 games for the year.

This year, Cervelli had been hitting a mere .190 in Trenton AA (with 2 homers), before being called up. The lost year to the injury has really hurt Cervelli's development. He could be a backup right now (although he should be playing every day ), but Cervelli isn't ready for a starting role on a team that is in a tailspin.

Angel Berroa will probably be DFA'd to make room for one of the Scranton catchers (Chris Stewart or Kevin Cash), unless Cashman can swing a deal. The Scranton catchers aren't much of an upgrade, except being older and having more experience. Cash has most experience, appearing in 61 games for The Red Sox, last year. He hit .225, and appeared mostly as Wakefield's personal catcher, for the knuckler, in 2008.
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