Molina is putting together an MVP-caliber season
He doesn’t get the attention of fellow catcher Buster Posey or Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen, but St. Louis Cardinals backstop Yadier Molina is putting together an MVP-caliber season.
The 30-year-old Molina – who hit .305 last year and then batted .333 in both the NLCS and World Series – has a .319 average, a .503 slugging percentage, an .880 OPS, 20 home runs, 70 RBI and even 12 stolen bases. Those numbers do not compare to McCutchen’s .336 average, 30 home runs, 93 RBI and .970 OPS or Posey’s .332 average, .946 OPS, 23 home runs and 98 RBI, but Molina’s exceptional defense and game-calling abilities add to his resume and why he is so important to the Cardinals.
Posey is a plus defensive catcher as well, and he is the heart of a Giants ballclub that just clinched another National League West title. Posey is to the Giants what Molina has been to the Cardinals since he emerged as a complete player in 2007.
Molina – who signed a five-year, $75 million contract extension last February – is the younger brother of retired Major League catcher Bengie Molina and Tampa bay Rays catcher Jose Molina. He left Saturday’s game with back spasms and was kept out of the lineup on Sunday for precautionary reasons.
The Cardinals pitching staff has a 3.66 ERA with Molina behind the plate. St. Louis is 82-71 and owns a three-game lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Milwaukee Brewers for the second wild card spot in the National League.
With Chris Carpenter back in the rotation – joining Adam Wainwright and National League Cy Young Award candidate Kyle Lohse – the Cardinals are poised for another post-season run. Molina’s health is critical because of his breakout season at the plate and his leadership behind the dish.