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Sunday, April 14, 2013

Robinson Cano makes major league debut at shortstop, Francisco Cervelli plays second base

From the if Don Mattingly can play third base & second base file comes…

Needless to say, it’s not a position of comfort for Cano, but he’s certainly athletic enough to pull it off if he logged the time necessary to make it work. His lack of experience wasn’t a concern here though since Cano never handled a chance in the inning, and it won’t be going forward as Girardi will only use him there in situations like Saturday or when it’s a true emergency.

Now, that covers one side of the infield. Of course with Cano moving over that leaves a vacancy at second base, which Girardi elected to fill with… catcher Francisco Cervelli.

It’s actually Cervelli’s second appearance at the position (one inning in 2011) and he’s also logged a handful of innings at third base for New York. It’s not completely foreign to him, and the whole idea isn’t foreign to Girardi, either, since he had Jorge Posada play second base once in 2011 when the Yankees owned a 14 run lead.

Again, this will only be done late in games for strategical purposes or in the case of emergency, but given the Yankees luck early and the rash of injuries around baseball, we may not be far from this setup for New York and similar setups around the league.

Bottom line. Stay healthy out there, guys. We’re begging you.

Repoz Posted: April 14, 2013 at 09:28 AM | 26 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: sabermetrics, yankees

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. Gamingboy Posted: April 14, 2013 at 09:45 AM (#4413604)
Russell Martin would like to note he would have played shortstop.
   2. Publius Publicola Posted: April 14, 2013 at 10:17 AM (#4413614)
Why not just put Cervelli at short and hope for the best? Better to screw up one position than two.
   3. Non-Youkilidian Geometry Posted: April 14, 2013 at 10:42 AM (#4413626)
Cano actually played 80 games at shortstop in the minor leagues. It seems plausible that you're better off having the better athlete who at least some experience at short playing the tougher position rather than putting the burden on Cervelli.
   4. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: April 14, 2013 at 11:31 AM (#4413647)
Hmmm. Just traded for him (straight-up deal with a Brandon Phillips worshipper). I think I need for this to happen at least 4 more times for him to qualify at SS; might be 9.

Make it so.
   5. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: April 14, 2013 at 11:41 AM (#4413655)
I think I need for this to happen at least 4 more times for him to qualify at SS; might be 9.

4e36?
   6. catomi01 Posted: April 14, 2013 at 11:45 AM (#4413658)
Cano has always had a shortstop's arm...and cervelli I believe was drafted as an infielder, so its not too extreme a stretch to move them to those spots for an inning or too. In the past decade, the yankees have gotten non-1B infield appearances from Gary Sheffield, Russell Martin, Marcus Thames, Posada, Jose Molina, Chad Moeller...if Jose Molina can survive an inning or 2 at 3B....Cano is fine at short....ideally the roles played by Ben Francisco or Boesch could be filled by someone who could act as an extra infielder....but when you are down to your 3rd shortstop starting every day, beggars can't be choosers.
   7. AROM Posted: April 14, 2013 at 12:16 PM (#4413690)
"Why not just put Cervelli at short and hope for the best? Better to screw up one position than two."

So people don't start comparing Jeter's range, once he returns, to that of a catcher.
   8. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: April 14, 2013 at 03:50 PM (#4413905)
In the past decade, the yankees have gotten non-1B infield appearances from Gary Sheffield, Russell Martin, Marcus Thames, Posada, Jose Molina, Chad Moeller...


Martin had played some third for the Dodgers in 2008 and 2009, so that isn't too crazy, and while it had been a kajillion years since Sheffield played the infield, he did at least spend the first six seasons of his career as a SS and 3B.

I'm guessing that the others may have been a bit interesting.
   9. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: April 14, 2013 at 04:16 PM (#4413934)
I think MLB teams can be a lot more flexible than they are with positioning. Virtually every player was a CF/SS/C/P prior to reaching the minors and are for the most part competent with the glove. Not saying you'd want to do it often but if you're trying to come back in a game pinch hit for the light hitting infielder and if that means a LF has to move to second for an inning it's not the end of the world.
   10. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: April 14, 2013 at 04:41 PM (#4413952)
Sheffield played 3B in the Jeter-dives-into-the-stands! game, and actually made a nice stop on a hot shot ground ball. Of course, then he airmailed the throw. Oh, well...

Posada was a 2B in the low minors before being moved and supposedly had been asking to play there again for ages. Girardi stuck him there for an inning in a blow out last season and Posada actually recorded the last out of the game on a 4-3.

I don't remember the others.
   11. cardsfanboy Posted: April 14, 2013 at 04:58 PM (#4413972)
I think MLB teams can be a lot more flexible than they are with positioning. Virtually every player was a CF/SS/C/P prior to reaching the minors and are for the most part competent with the glove. Not saying you'd want to do it often but if you're trying to come back in a game pinch hit for the light hitting infielder and if that means a LF has to move to second for an inning it's not the end of the world.


Agreed... I don't get why everyone seems to make a big deal about this when it happens(other than the noteworthiness of the action) As long as it's not a plodding dh/1b type, or a career of, I don't see any real issues with this for a few innings here or there.
   12. Cowboy Popup Posted: April 14, 2013 at 07:57 PM (#4414109)
Hey, anything to get Cervelli's bat in the lineup!

Not that he will keep this up, but he's off to a great start so far. He's got 6 BBs to 1 K in 29 PAs. He's hitting .348 with a .333 BABIP.
   13. rlc Posted: April 14, 2013 at 08:14 PM (#4414118)
Sheffield played 3B in the Jeter-dives-into-the-stands! game, and actually made a nice stop on a hot shot ground ball. Of course, then he airmailed the throw.


And got traded to the Tigers - so it all worked out as planned.


I for one was sorely disappointed that the O's didn't manage to put a ball in play to the Cervelli-Cano keystone combo.
   14. willcarrolldoesnotsuk Posted: April 14, 2013 at 08:55 PM (#4414130)
I seem to remember Sheff blaming the airmailed throw on the first baseman (Giambi?). Not in the sense that the first baseman should've caught it, but in the sense that the first baseman should've spent more pre-inning time warming Sheff up instead of merely giving him as much warmup as each of the other infielders.

Kind of a jerky thing to say, and it might not have helped even if it was done, but at the same time it's probably a good idea.
   15. RollingWave Posted: April 14, 2013 at 09:01 PM (#4414135)
The Yankees, 200 million bucks of beer league !
   16. RollingWave Posted: April 14, 2013 at 09:05 PM (#4414139)
Also, I can't believe no one mentioned this yet.

Robinson Cano probably have more range than Jeter anyway (actually, most likely) and his hand's arm is about the same or better, so there isn't a huge loss there.
   17. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: April 14, 2013 at 11:32 PM (#4414229)
Why not just put Cervelli at short and hope for the best? Better to screw up one position than two.


Yup. By what factor do you increase the chance of Cano getting hurt? Ten? More?

The first DP where a runner's barreling down on him could get ugly. This is a very foolish move by the Yanks.

Position changes that don't involve the middle of the infield make much, much more sense than this.
   18. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: April 15, 2013 at 02:27 AM (#4414276)
#16... Jeter hasn't played an inning yet this year, and may not for weeks. But, on a more serious note, Yankee fans are seeing what balls actual shortstops can get to this April, and that may have long-lasting effects.

I'm sure there are some fantasy folks jumping up and down... "Cano is a shortstop now!"
   19. catomi01 Posted: April 15, 2013 at 07:37 AM (#4414291)
The first DP where a runner's barreling down on him could get ugly. This is a very foolish move by the Yanks.


I played catcher, not middle infielder, so I mean this as an actual question - is there really a - that much difference in the runner coming in at him as a shortstop (compared to 2b) and b - isn't the general wisdom that 2B usually actually takes more of a beating than SS on those types of plays, since they are facing "the wrong way" as the ball and runner arrive at the base?

Really, the more likely candidate for an injury due to inexperience in my mind is cervelli - but again - with no real research, it would seem likely that catching an inning is more likely to lead to injury than playing out of position at 2B for an inning....and since cervelli seems unlikely to keep hitting over 300 for the season, losing him to injury would not seem to be a critical concern (and might even mean they go find a real catcher).
   20. Dan Lee prefers good shortstops to great paintings Posted: April 15, 2013 at 08:01 AM (#4414303)
Virtually every player was a CF/SS/C/P prior to reaching the minors and are for the most part competent with the glove.
The best illustration of this, perhaps, is the Indians' 13th round draft pick in 1989. They took a shortstop from Illinois Central College...some guy named James Thome.
   21. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: April 15, 2013 at 10:07 AM (#4414365)
I played catcher, not middle infielder, so I mean this as an actual question - is there really a - that much difference in the runner coming in at him as a shortstop (compared to 2b) and b - isn't the general wisdom that 2B usually actually takes more of a beating than SS on those types of plays, since they are facing "the wrong way" as the ball and runner arrive at the base?


The heart of the matter isn't the difference in injury risk, it's that Cano, the most valuable position player on the Yanks, hasn't had any repetitions in years turning the dp from SS. Ideally you'd want a player to have thousands of reps.

Take Jose Reyes' recent injury. Even after thousands of slides a split second of indecision will cost Reyes a couple of months on the DL. As a 2bman, how many times has Cano had to vault over a guy charging into the bag from first while firing a strike to the 1bman? It's a play he rarely makes, and it's now the play on which he's most likely to get hurt.

I just find the move absurd. Cano's D will worsen, as a SS. He's much more likely to be injured. And what's the benefit, really? A couple hundredths of a run?
   22. catomi01 Posted: April 15, 2013 at 10:23 AM (#4414377)
I think the increase in injury is more negligible than the increased chance of scoring there...how that can be quantified...I don't know...but based on this site (and I have no idea how accurate this is) - http://www.teamrankings.com/mlb/stat/grounded-into-double-plays-per-game - each team hits into about .76 double plays per game...or .08 per inning.

Now slice that in half for the plays that would involve Cano...and the risk there seems is pretty minimal that there will be any close play of that nature....

Now this isn't thorough, and I will grant that there is an increased risk of injury for Cano....but I would still contend that it is minimal, and significantly mitigated by the fact that he is a middle infielder to begin with. If he was a corner infielder, catcher, or OF'er....I would generally agree that the risk outweighs the rewards (depending on the player - in this case, as I stated, they aren't risking a young Jorge Posada by moving Cervelli).

   23. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 15, 2013 at 10:41 AM (#4414387)
Even when improvising, you put out the defense that gives you the best chance to win the game, which in this instance was Cano at SS. No MLB manager is going to put their catcher at SS if they have a better option.
   24. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: April 15, 2013 at 12:53 PM (#4414515)
Take Jose Reyes' recent injury. Even after thousands of slides a split second of indecision will cost Reyes a couple of months on the DL.


Reyes' injury has absolutely no bearing on Cano at SS. Anybody can get hurt at pretty much any time. If you really want to limit Cano to the smallest injury chance possible, then keep him on the bench.
   25. Jack Carter, calling Beleaguered Castle Posted: April 15, 2013 at 01:02 PM (#4414532)
It's too much to hope you can think, I suppose, but can't you even try to fucking read?

Anybody can get hurt at pretty much any time.


And the Inane Prize goes to...!

By all means, let's play anybody absolutely anywhere without any regard for injury because, after all, anybody can get hurt pretty much at any time!!

   26. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: April 15, 2013 at 02:31 PM (#4414723)
By all means, let's play anybody absolutely anywhere without any regard for injury because, after all, anybody can get hurt pretty much at any time!!


How many SS get injured by someone sliding into them? Two a year? I mean, just look how many times Jeter has been injured there, clearly the double play is just a timebomb waiting to go off on a SS's knee. It's probably because of the elite training SS's do during spring training, as coach's send scrub after scrub charging into them. Or maybe you are just completely overreacting, and injuries happen rarely, on freak plays that cannot be predicted or prevented, regardless of the side of the bag the defender is used to. It's probably me though.

And, why do you feel the need to circumvent the nanny? Just to be a #########?

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