Chris Stewart has the 8th most passed balls and 30th most innings caught among all MLB catchers in 2013.— Mike Axisa (@mikeaxisa) May 29, 2013
Chris Stewart was acquired and remains on the team because of what he's supposed to be able to do defensively. He's said to be a Grade A master of pitch framing, but watching him do other things behind the plate has been an adventure so far this year. At times it has, frustratingly, seemed like a struggle for him to keep seemingly easy pitches in front of him, and it looks like the numbers jive with what we've seen: Stewart hasn't been great defensively in 2013.
The Yankees dealt with having Jorge Posada behind the plate for years, but his bat more than made up for his defensive shortcomings. Stewart's lack of offense has been brushed off because of his supposed superior defending, but his 81 wRC+ isn't going to cut it for someone who is ranking in easily the bottom half of MLB in the passed ball department. Unfortunately, the Yankees don't have much of a choice right now. Francisco Cervelli is still trying to recover from a broken hand and Austin Romine is somehow even less impressive with the bat than Stewart has been so far.
Pitch framing can mean a lot for gaining the pitcher strikes out of what would have ordinarily been called balls, but allowing runners on first base to advance into scoring position via a passed ball can undo the good of that extra strike here or there in a hurry. We've seen that play out before our eyes the past two nights.
Get well soon, Cervelli.