The Yankee Sleeper

Sports Radio NY AM1240-WGBBContributor IFebruary 22, 2010

With Spring Training under way, there is just one man that I ask all you readers out there to pay attention to. He is a guy that has really gone unnoticed and nobody really thinks about him too much. But this is a guy that I have loved since I saw him play in the big leagues. He is guy that should get to play in about 40 to 60 games, and he is a guy I feel will impress you. The man I am speaking about is back up catcher Francisco Cervelli.

Cervelli for the last few years I felt was the best all-around catcher the Yankees had. His defense is stellar. He can block anything and has a great arm to throw guys out with. He also can hit. His overall numbers in his limited time may not have been great, but I assure you he is a clutch player and can come through very big.

I know his totals are small, but allow me to give you some stats. He has had 10 at bats with 2 outs and runners in scoring position. Four hits, and 4 RBI’s. So yes it is a .400 average because it is just 10 at-bats but for a man who did not have great numbers in AA and for a man who got limited time in the big leagues, for him to be able to come through in these situations is big. As numbers accumulate it may change, but I have loved what I’ve seen from this kid.

Some other clutch stats:

In games “Late and Close” he is 9 of 14 (.643) with 3 RBI and 2 doubles.

In a tie game he is 4 of 12 (.333) with 2 RBI.

There is another statistic known as leverage. Let me give you the “Baseball Reference” definitions:

Leverage Index - A value of 1.00 indicates this player appeared in plays of average importance. Above 1.00 indicates they had higher than normal importance (for example, a closer typically has leverage around 1.8). A mopup pitcher, on the other hand, will have a likely LevI of much less than one. This value is not adjusted for league run scoring and park effects.

Leverage Splits - High Leverage is a value over 1.5 (20% of plays). Medium is 0.7 to 1.5 (about 40% of plays). Low is less than 0.7 (about 40% of plays).

So with that being said, let me give you this man’s leverage stats.

Cervelli in 2009 appeared in 12 high leverage games. In those 12 games, he is 8 of 16 (.500) with 5 RBI.

He appeared in 21 medium leverage games and was 11 of 31 (.355) with a homerun and 2 RBI.

Again, I know his time has been limited but he has only impressed in his short period of time. Unfortunately for Cervelli, with Jesus Monetero in the system, Cervelli really can’t be anything more than a career backup as a Yankee but do not count this man out. He is an impressive player.

I may be alone on the matter. I am most likely the only man alive who is excited to watch Cervelli play. But don’t complain if Posada has a day off. Super Cervelli will be there to step in and step up.

Francisco Cervelli is my 2010 NY Yankee Sleeper. And if Posada unfortunately gets hurt, and you desperately need a catcher in fantasy baseball, don’t feel embarrassed to pick up Cervelli off the waiver wire. Cervelli owners will have the last laugh.