When Russell Martin departed this past off-season, it appeared that The New York Yankees might be in trouble at the catcher position. Perhaps they should not have shipped their biggest minor league asset, Jesus Montero away.
But Francisco Cervelli(.269-3 HR-8 RBI), got the Yankees off to a
great start before going down with an injury. Cervelli’s determination only increased after he was sent to Triple A at the start of last season.
Chris Stewart (.275-2-4) has produced both at the plate and behind it since taking over for Cervelli. He has had a positive effect on the pitching staff. In particular, Ivan Nova seems to have responded well to Stewart’s quarterbacking.
Look for Austin Romine to fill in adequately when needed. His career minor batting average is not spectacular, but is solid at .280.
The thing to remember is that last season Martin’s batting average was at or below .200 for a big part of the season. So, any offensive production the Yankees get out of the catcher position is an improvement over what it was last year at this time.
What is really encouraging is to see home-grown players holding the spot. Jorge Posada and Thurman Munson both made their way through the minor league system. Seeing the Yankees stick to that philosophy is like watching the baton passed from one member of the family to another.
Also, the sting from losing Montero is softened by his slow start this year. He has accounted for only two home runs and seven runs batted in. In total, he has only 17 home runs and 69 RBI since joining Seattle.