2010 Player Previews: Francisco Cervelli

2009: In 2009 Francisco Cervelli was undoubtedly the Yankees regular season MVP, ok so he wasn’t MVP but he was a fan favorite. Every season the Yankees fans adopt a rookie who they fall for and treat like gold no matter how he performs and this past year that guy was definitely Cervelli. Francisco got his shot in May when both Jorge Posada and Jose Molina went down with injury. He went on to start 13 games in May hitting .286 with 4 RBI  and then started 7 games in June only hitting .240. Although his June didn’t go as well he did hit his 1st career HR on June 24th in a game against Atlanta off of Kris Medlen.

When Molina and Posada returned from injury Cervelli was sent down to AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre where he would remain until September call ups. Joe Girardi then made the decision to carry three catchers on his playoff roster and Cervelli broke into stardom, ok once again this didn’t happen as he only had one postseason AB which was a strikeout but like I said earlier he’s a fan favorite! Cervelli might not have made a huge impact with his bat but he did throwout 43% of base runners attempting to steal (10 of 23) and his spark along with the other young guys was a big part of the new Yankee image.

2009 Regular Season Totals (25 Starts- 94 AB): 13 Runs 28 Hits 1 HR 11 RBI .298 AVG .309 OBP

2010: Going into 2010 Cervelli will officially be the new “full time” Yankee backup catcher as Jose Molina is no longer with the team. He brings an above average defensive presence to the backup position and his only defensive flaw seems to be throwing guys out at 3rd base, but since they were only 9/18 stealing 2nd base against him last season its doubtful they would get many opportunities to steal 3rd.

The difficulty in projection what a backup catcher will do in a season are the factors that go into Cervelli getting into a game.  Obviously if Posada goes down with an injury (has had extensive absences in the last 2 seasons) Cervelli becomes the number one guy behind the plate. The Yankees also may slot Posada in the DH position a few times during the season to give him half days rest, and there will also be Posada’s scheduled days off. I am projecting Cervelli’s season on the basis that Posada will stay healthy, and if he does stay healthy it is likely he will receive a large majority of the starts behind the plate. For a nice round number I figured I’d give Cervelli 30 starts which is about 1 start every 5 days (this is also because the team has to keep the hot headed Posada happy).

2010 Regular Season Prediction (30 Starts 140 AB): 22 Runs  37 Hits 3 HR 21 RBI .264 AVG .284 OBP

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