The last couple of years, I spent the time immediately after the season examining each player that had made an appearance in St. Louis during the season. This series was well received and so I’m bringing this idea back for the 2014 offseason. More summaries than anything, I imagine the player coming into Mike Matheny‘s office and having a short conference before heading home for the winter. Stats are just the ones accumulated for the Cardinals during the regular season.
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Player: Yadier Molina
Season stats: 110 games, 445 PA, 40 R, 21 2B, 7 HR, 38 RBI, 1 SB, 28 BB, 55 K, .282/.333/.386 101 OPS+
Hero/Goat: Hero 9, Goat 8
Overall grade: B+
Positives: While it wasn’t quite up to his normal standards, he still had a fine offensive year, one of the best for a catcher in the league….hit .287 with a .751 OPS in the first half….was extremely dangerous with one out in an inning, hitting .331/.361/.474 in that situation….hit over .300 at home.
Negatives: Missed a good chunk of time after sliding wrong and tearing up his thumb….hit only .267 with no home runs and eight RBI after returning, perhaps due to the thumb still bothering him….hit only .259 on the road, though did have four home runs.
Overview: Yadi is Yadi. It’s tough to say much more than that. Yes, he’s getting older. Yes, the offense is down from the insane highs of two years ago. Yes, he’s found the disabled list twice in the last two seasons. All that is undoubtedly true.
However, he’s still an offensive force, still the top catcher in the league (while it doesn’t mean as much as it should necessarily, he did win another Gold Glove this year), and still the heart and soul of this squad. Adam Wainwright can get close to it, but he plays every five days. Yadi is out there almost literally every day, just generally being awesome.
There’s talk about moving him to first to spell Matt Adams, but I don’t think I’m behind that. Yadi’s so valuable behind the plate and a lot of his value vanishes if you move him to first. I’d rather give him more real rest days with either Tony Cruz or another backup out there than move him around the diamond.
Outlook: Yadi will go out there, play 135 games (barring injury) and put up numbers that most other catchers would only dream about. And we’ll be chanting “Yadi. Yadi. Yadi.” most of the way.