The 2018 season was a pretty good one for Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli as for the first time since 2015, Cervelli had a productive season swinging the bat.
It wasn’t all rosy for Cervelli as he once again battled injuries and had multiple concussions this season but overall it was a solid campaign for Cervelli.
Just how good was he?
Let’s take a look.
Offensively Cervelli went through a couple of extended slumps like the rest of his teammates, but still managed to put up a .259/.378/.431 line.
The OBP was outstanding as he led the Pirates by a longshot. Josh Bell was second on the team with a .357 OBP.
The .809 OPS was his highest as a Pirate and Cervelli’s highest as a regular catcher.
Cervelli set a career-high with 12 homers and 57 RBI and posted a nice OPS+ of 123.
Cervelli did have his share of struggles, hitting .162 in June and .154 in July before rebounding in August. He finished the season hitting .245 in September, but overall he was a solid presence in the Pirates lineup.
Due to other guys not performing Cervelli had to often bat in the middle of the Pirates lineup so if you look at his numbers you would think he underperformed.
But that wasn’t his fault and as a sixth or seventh place hitter, where he should hit, Cervelli put up good numbers.
Overall he was a 2.6 WAR player on the year and had an oWAR of 2.9, which was better than his previous two seasons combined.
I actually thought Cervelli had a pretty good season behind the plate and he looked healthier throwing the ball to second base than he has in the past.
That’s an area Cervelli improved as he threw out 39 percent of the runners trying to steal this season. For example, last year he was at 20percent and the year before Cervelli sat at 19 percent.
Cervelli was charged with just three errors behind the plate on the season and even made some appearances at first base.
Overall I though Cervelli handled himself well with the glove.
The injuries continue to hammer Cervelli and 2018 was no different than years past as he appeared in only 104 games, but that was the second highest total of his career.
Some of that was due to the emergence of Elias Diaz who was used to keep Cervelli fresh.
Cervelli hits the DL a lot and this year was no different, but the amount of concussions he’s received is starting to get scary.
He wants to remain a catcher and entering the final year of his contract in 2019, only time will tell if that’s possible.
Overall I thought Cervelli was fine this season.
He’s not going to be a superstar, but he’s far more than just a serviceable guy at times.
His bat rebounded, which was nice and he was a fairly solid defensive catcher.
Hopefully the Pirates get more of that from him in 2019.
OVERALL GRADE: B