You guys aren’t going to believe this, but someone is praising Francisco Cervelli for being gritty! That someone is Yankees’ Triple-A hitting coach Butch Wynegar, who told ESPN New York’s Andrew Marchand that he’d like to have a team made up of 25 Cervellis. The piece is mostly about how Cervelli spent last season working hard and setting a good example for his teammates after being unexpectedly optioned to Triple-A after the Yankees traded for Chris Stewart at the end of Spring Training, but it just wouldn’t be an article about Cervelli without at least gobsmacking exaggeration of the guy’s ability. “There is no doubt he is a big league catcher,” Wynegar said. “My only thing is offensively.”
For the life of me, I have no idea how Cervelli got a reputation for being a defensive specialist, in large part because his offensive numbers (a .271/.339/.353 slash line and 88 wRC+ in 562 career plate appearances) actually aren’t that bad. Sure he doesn’t hit for power, but the average and ability to draw a walk give him a certain amount of usefulness, especially for a backup catcher. The problem is that he’s an absolutely horrid defender. I guess people have confused his frantic presence behind the plate for actual skill?