Francisco Cervelli: Underrated Fantasy Player

Jun 3, 2015; San Francisco, CA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli (29) hits an RBI single against the San Francisco Giants during the ninth inning at AT&T Park. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Pirates are currently breaking out of their offensive shell that they were stuck inside of for the first two months of the season. The Pirates have scored 22 runs during their current 6-game winning-streak, and they have pitched 30+ scoreless innings heading into Wednesday night’s game.

The Pirates are starting to become a fantasy powerhouse because they are getting base hits, stealing bases, and driving in runs, which is the best way to produce fantasy points. However, one may think that Andrew McCutchen or Starling Marte is leading the team in batting average because those are the big name guys on the team. But, in fact, the team leader in batting average is actually Francisco Cervelli.

Cervelli is currently batting .324 with 2 home runs and 19 RBI.

While his home runs and RBI numbers aren’t eye-popping, Cervelli does get on base quite often, which allows the top of the order to knock him in. Cervelli is one of the guys who is helping break through that shell that the Pirates offense was stuck in by giving opportunities for the top of the lineup guys to manufacture runs.

Another thing that is helping Cervelli at the plate, his defensive steadfastness.

Fun fact, Cervelli has caught a Pirates record of 50 straight scoreless innings. The pervious record was held by Pirates great Manny Sanguillen at 38 consecutive innings.

I realize that defensive numbers mean absolutely nothing when it comes to actual fantasy numbers, but I will say it again, it does provide that particular player confidence when he comes up to bat. If a player is struggling defensively, chances are, they will struggle at the plate because they are so focused on their mistake(s) that they made out in the field.

If you have a solid fantasy catcher, there is no point in trading for Cervelli, but if you are having issues at the catcher position, Cervelli could be your cheap answer. He would also make for a solid backup catcher.

You won’t have to give up a lot for him because he isn’t a top-tier fantasy catcher; yet. He will be a top fantasy catcher in the next couple season, so I would try to snag him now before his price tag skyrockets.

FOR MORE by Caleb Luketic, check out CalebOnSports.com and follow him on Twitter @CalebOnSports