The secret of Francisco Cervelli’s success

Okay, because you asked — nay, DEMANDED it, here are you five most unlikely All-Stars!*

* Not including relief pitchers. Relief pitchers aren’t like regular baseball players. Darren O’Day and whatnot.

5. DJ LeMahieu

4. Hector Santiago

3. Brock Holt  

2. Stephen Vogt

and …

1. Francisco Cervelli

Cervelli turned 29 during spring training this year. At that point, he’d started 194 games in the majors, never more than 80 in a season … and that was five years ago. He suffered a broken wrist in 2008, multiple concussions in 2010, a broken foot in 2011, a broken right hand in 2013, and a serious hamstring injury in 2014.

Oh, also in 2013, Cervelli served a 50-game suspension for his association with the Biogenesis scandal.

Shortly after the 2014 season, the Yankees traded Cervelli to the Pirates for pitcher Justin Wilson.

And now here’s Cervelli, a deserving All-Star … which would be true even without his pitch-framing, which seems to be exceptional. So how does Cervelli explain all this? 

"A lot of it’s probably just getting mature," he told me on the phone recently. , and knowing more about yourself. Playing every day gives me better timing, and I’m just trying to hit the ball hard anywhere."

And what kept him going for all those years?

"I knew deep down in my brain that the opportunity would come, so I always was preparing for this. I went down a lot of times with injuries. But in my dream, I wasn’t going to retire from baseball without giving everthing I’ve got."

It’s a hard game to figure. Justin Wilson’s pretty good, though.

ADDENDUM: Hey, welcome to the dumbest thing I’ve written in my whole career! I mean, everything up there is true … except Cervelli’s not an All-Star. I was staring right at the National League roster when writing this, and wanted him to be an All-Star so badly that I somehow turned him into one.

Maybe next year.