Jun 27, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli (29) is greeted in the dugout after scoring a run against the Atlanta Braves during the first inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Francisco Cervelli was acquired for LHP reliever Justin Wilson. At the time, many were scratching their heads. Russell Martin was still in play at the time, so naturally Pirates fans viewed the move with skepticism at best and vitriol at worst.
Fast forward to July, and the move is now universally lauded. What I find most interesting about Cervelli is not his approximation of Martin at a fraction of the cost or the pitch-framing statistics. I believe that the single best thing that Cervelli has done since becoming a Pirate is ingratiate himself with the team.
Martin and Burnett arguable did more in their corresponding two years with the team to turn the franchise around than anyone else. Yes, even McCutchen. Both demanded better from their teammates, the fans, and the media. They were the light that lit the fuse that Huntington had put in place over the previous four years. We all know what happened – Martin in particular reached folklore hero status on a cold October night in 2014. Cervelli came in, riddled with the ‘unproven” and “injury prone” labels and completely assimilate into an already tight clubhouse is perhaps the best indicator of how shrewd a move this was on Huntington’s part.
Since this is a look at statistical storylines, I’ll bring it full-circle with this: Cervelli has already played in more games this year (64) than he has in any of the past four years. Barring injury he will easily eclipse his career high of 93 games set back in 2010.
Our last statistical story line involves a home town hero.
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