2009 Stats: .298/1/11/1,003,456
We were first introduced to Francisco Cervelli in the Spring of 2008, when one of the Rays ran him over at home plate, fracturing his wrist. The Rays went on to lose the World Series that year in an embarrassing manner, just to watch the Yankees beat up the team that beat them in 2010. Talk of a Curse of the Cervelli soon followed.
When we first heard of Cervelli, we figured he'd be standing around the dugout going, "Hey, youse guys." It turns out he isn't from Jersey though, but from Venezuela. If Yankees fans were as ignorant as Mets fans, they'd call up the FAN to complain that Cashman was signing too many Latin American players.
Cervelli hit a surprisingly strong .298 last year, though that was in only 99 ABs (45 games). Most projections predict that he would hit at least .345 in a full season. Cervelli's most important stat? 1,003,456. Cervelli made more snap throws last season than any catcher in the history of baseball. Strike one with a man on first? Snap throw. Strike two with a man straying off thrid? Snap throw. Four pitch intentional walk? Snap throw. It's just what he does.
Cervelli will be a more than serviceable back-up to primary catcher, Jorge Posada. Unlike our previous back-up catcher, he won't be an automatic out. More importantly, however, he will be young enough to not suffer his own hamstring injury when our primary catcher is rehabbing a hamstring injury. At some point against the Twins, Cervelli will hit a home run. As he crosses home plate, he'll turn to Joe Mauer and say, "Try not being so tall, freak." Mauer weeps for the second time in a week.
Little Known Cervelli Fact:
Before being converted to catcher, Cervelli was a pitcher who topped out at 130mph. The Yankees decided that would be unfair to the rest of the league, which was already pretty mad at the $70M extra they spend on payroll. Their compromise with Cervelli was that he could snap throw as much as he wanted.