Rant Sports MLB Top 50 Players of 2014: No. 7 Yadier Molina
The Cardinals’ stud catcher has long been known for his fantastic defensive play, deservedly winning the NL Gold Glove Award for catchers each of the past six seasons. One aspect of Molina’s game people often forget about is his bat. 2013 was arguably Molina’s best offensive effort of his 10-year MLB career as the 5-11 catcher hit career highs in batting average (.319) and RBI (80) on his way to winning his first Silver Slugger Award.
This season wasn’t the first time Molina managed to crack the .300 mark, however, as the 31-year-old Puerto Rican has done so in each of the past three seasons. In fact, Molina has batted .293 or better in five major league seasons. Since 1901, there have only been 15 catchers in MLB history who have accomplished that feat more times than Molina and only Joe Mauer has an active streak longer than the Cardinals’ catcher.
Molina was an integral component to the St. Louis’ 2013 run past the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NLDS, the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLCS and into the World Series. Although the Redbirds could not pull off a series win against the Boston Red Sox, Molina was great in the Fall Classic, hitting .304 while catching all six games.
In order for the Cardinals to make another run to the World Series in 2013, they will certainly need Molina to continue to be a stalwart wall behind the plate as well as continued success from the batter’s box. At just 31 years of age, Molina still has some solid years of productivity left in his tank. It will be entertaining to watch one of the game’s best active catchers continue to do his craft in the future, but soak it up it while it lasts. Players of Molina’s caliber don’t just show up every day.