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Francisco’s Future: Lost in Translation?

What’s our man, Fran Cervelli been up to? After helping Scranton claim another division title last week, he now found himself a spot on the big Yankees 40-man roster (along with other catchers: Martin, Stewart and Romine). Other September call-ups include: Eduardo Nunez, Chris Dickerson, Cory Wade, Adam Warren, and Justin Thomas, with Ramiro Pena’s designation for assignment. But does Cervelli have any chance of making the 25-man playoff roster? I say- doubt it.

I don’t see the Italian Stallion seeing any action in October, pending that everyday catcher Russell Martin (109 games played) and backup Chris Stewart (43 games played) both remain healthy. Francisco, batting .246 in 99 games for Scranton, has only 2 HRs and 39 RBIs this year. He lead with games starting behind the plate, followed by Gustavo Molina playing in 28, Austin Romine with 16 and Craig Tatum (I call him “Channing Tatum”) playing in 8.

Let’s take a quick step back and look at how he got to where he is. Cervelli played baseball in Venezuela and was a shortstop, 2nd baseman, and pitcher. The Yanks signed him in ’03 as an international free agent in agreement that he would attempt to morph into a catcher. He worked his way up in the minor leagues to eventually debuting in MLB in 2008 as a defensive replacement. In ’09 he wins a world series ring, batting .298 and playing in 42 games, in ’10 he bats .271 in 93 games and in ’11 hits .266 in 43 games (while playing in 6 games with MiLB with a .217 BA).

In 2011, he entered Spring Training as a backup C to Martin, broke his foot early in March and missed the entire beginning of the season. After receiving activation from the DL, he hit his first career grand slam in a series tiebreaker vs. Texas. Here’s where it all started to turn sour. Cervelli was quite distraught this past April about his demotion to Triple A for the season. It took some convincing from his parents and time for him to swallow it, still leaving a bad taste in his mouth. First, he was initially optioned to the minors, now being recalled to majors for September but probably making no room for him on the exciting playoff roster.

Where does this leave Cervelli? He seems to be a 26-year-old catcher lost in limbo between the bigs and Triple A. I like to call it “baseball purgatory”, which unfortunately is a harsh reality in professional baseball. It wouldn’t hurt him if maybe he started hitting a little more, maybe try using batting gloves for once, couldn’t hurt. He, like Posada, owns a tradition of refusing to use batting gloves when at the plate. I mean what could it hurt to try and switch it up?

Other than that, he has turned in to a great defensive player, not much room for improvement there. Leaving his future dependent on: injuries, roster moves, how he continues to play/stays healthy, how the other prospective catchers produce, possible trades, and what happens in arbitration next season…all contributing factors as to how the Yankees puzzle pieces fall in to place for the playoff stretch and next season.