Francisco Cervelli has long been the whipping boy for Yankee fans. It’s not really his fault: he’s a backup catcher, and good hitting backup catchers are hard to come by unless you’re the Cincinnati Reds, so perhaps the biggest problem with Cervelli is that he’s gotten so much playing time this season. Cervelli’s year has been quite the rollercoaster, a study in how shifts in BABIP can affect the results. By playing a little arbitrary start and endpoint game, we can see how his season has been divided into very good and very bad.
Start of season to May 31st: 120 PAs, .320/.388/.400, 0.364 BABIP
June 1st to August 27: 145 PAs, .178/.254/.217, 0.215 BABIP
August 29 to present: 47 PAs, .441/.587/.529, 0.517 BABIP
The simplest and easiest answer here to explain his recent surge is to assume that he’s just getting more good fortune on balls in play like he did when the season started. In all probability, this is the best explanation. But in this morning’s comments leftylarry suggested that Cervelli had made some changes to his batting stance:
“Anybody else notice that Cervelli is no longer leaning his head forward with his back (right ) shoulder up to high?
LONG finally figured it out and lately he’s hitting the ball again PRETTY well. He won’t get HIT in the head now anymore either as he can see the ball earlier and pick up the rotation and velocity better.”
I’m always interested in alternative explanations, so we’ll examine his batting stance over the past few months after the jump.