There are many players who can make plays with either their glove or bat to help their teams. But those who can do both are truly special. And when a player is perhaps the best in the league at either hitting or defense, he can definitely impact a game and, in the case of the postseason, a series.
Yadier Molina, the catcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, is one of those players. Throughout his major league career, Molina has been respected for his work on defense. During the 2013 regular season, he threw out 20 of 46 (43.5 percent) of attempted base stealers, while making only four errors all season (a .996 fielding percentage).
He also helped to groom young pitchers like Shelby Miller and Michael Wacha, while also working with veteran pitchers like Adam Wainwright and Jake Westbrook. The Cardinals, as a team, posted a 3.45 ERA this season, which was fifth in the National League, and much of that can be contributed to Molina.
The biggest difference now, as compared to his early career, is that Molina has become a solid force on offense for St. Louis. He batted .319 this season, which tied him for third in the National League. Molina had 12 home runs and a career-high 80 RBIs. This marked the third-straight season that Molina has hit over .300, something he had done only once in seven prior seasons.
When Albert Pujols left for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Molina became the leader of this team. He leads by his words and his actions. And he hopes to lead them to their second World Series title in three years.
Tim Letcher is a contributing writer for RantSports.com and a member of the Football Writers Association of America. Follow him on Twitter @TimLetcher , on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.