It is my belief that every great team starts with a good catcher. The reason why there’s so few good teams is because there just aren’t very many good catchers. In the case of the St. Louis Cardinals, they have baseball’s best one. For my money, Yadier Molina is the best catcher in baseball and potentially baseball’s most valuable player.
Let me preface this by saying that I am a Chicago Cubs fan and hate the Cardinals with all my DNA. But, I am also not ignorant or blind to good baseball. Molina plays great baseball and makes the Cardinals one of the best teams in baseball.
Let’s start in the field. If you try to run on Molina, he will throw you out 45% of the time in his career. Last season, he improved that mark to 48% putting him second in baseball behind Cincinnati Reds backstop Ryan Hanigan.
Offensively, he hit .315 with 22 HRs and 76 RBI. That is pretty darn good. It is even more amazing considering that he also stole 12 bases last season. Is it possible to call a catcher a five-tool player? Molina fits that mold. What’s more amazing is he raised his game when Albert Pujols signed with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Ask any pitcher on the Cardinals and to a man they’ll tell you how much they love throwing to Molina. He makes them better by understanding strengths and weaknesses of his pitchers as well as blocking everything the hurler will throw.
Here’s the final part to my argument. Without Pujols, the Cardinals won 97 games. With Pujols the previous season, the Cardinals won 90 (and yes, a World Series). My point is you can name me guys with better statistics, but I use the eye test. And the Cardinals win because of Molina. More so than any of the other guys you can throw out there.