Yesterday, we reported the sad news that Francisco Cervelli and Chris Stewart would likely be opening the season as the Yankee catching tandem. Obviously, this is a beyond pathetic fact for a team with the Yankees’ financial might and supposed championship aspirations. But just how bad is it really? After all, most teams have weak hitting catchers. Maybe the CervWart duo can be at least fair enough to be near the middle of the pack. Let’s start by taking a look at Cervelli.

Dark Helmet has a career .311 wOBA and a career wRC+ of 88, meaning his offense has been 12% below the league average hitter. He’ll only be 27 on opening day, so he might have some room for improvement. But, there are signs that even that 88wRC+ may be closer to his ceiling than his floor. He’s managed that number with the help of a .315 BABIP, which comes in only 562PAs and is on the high side for a catcher with no power or speed. The median BABIP among catchers with a minimum of 100PAs in 2012 was just .281. So, he’s likely going to have to improve as a hitter if he just wants to maintain that 88 wRC+. ¬†Cervelli did inch up to an 89 wRC+ in 417 PAs last year. Unfortunately, that’s compared to the Triple-A hitters he was playing with. If the Yankees deemed him suitable to be a major league backup catcher in 2012, his career wRC+ would look worse.

We could go on diagnosing Cervelli, but we’re not doctors. Let’s presume Cervelli has all the right moves and will continue to be all of the 88 wRC+ stud he’s been so far. Let’s go ahead and see where that would slot him American League’s top 14 catchers, based on their 2012 performances:


Aaaaaand… it wouldn’t.

There are 14 teams in the American League, and there are 14 guys who can squat behind the plate that outhit Francisco Cervelli’s career. Gone from this list will be Russell Martin, who is off to Pittsburgh. Coming over from the NL to the Red Sox is David Ross, who posted a 109 wRC+ last year. If you’re curious about whether Cervelli’s defense might make up for his offensive futility, he has only thrown out 20% of base stealers and has a -5 Fielding Runs Above (ie; Below) Average for his career.

Now that we have some context, we quickly sum up Chris Stewart’s offensive ability in two career numbers: .259 wOBA, 59 wRC+. In 7 major league seasons, 5 different teams have given The Chris Stewart Experience a spin. Only one of them has thought it would be a good idea to try him again. ¬†Happy New Year, Yankee fans!