Hello there guys. Been a while. Like the Cards, I got off to a slow start this season.
Last night though, the Cardinals were full speed ahead, thanks to a brilliant outing by Carlos Martinez, who struck out 10 Milwaukee Brewers in 8 and a third innings and didn’t allow a run. More performances like that from Carlos and he’ll firmly ascend to the mountain of being an ace.
Helping Carlos’ cause was Yadier Molina, who in addition to his usual excellent game planning and being a second pitching coach on the field, launched a homer, his third of the season in only six games. I realize it could be just a hot start (though aside from the homers he’s only hitting .261 with a .282 OBP) but that is the fun of early season musings like this, the what if scenarios.
Yadi’s career high in homers was 22, back in 2012. From 2013 until 2016 he didn’t hit more than 12. Last year however, he hit 18, the second most of his career, to go along with a career high of 82 RBI. Now, we all know that just about *everybody* homered more last year and the overall total of homers hit, 6105, was the most ever in a single season, so it makes sense to ask whether how many of Yadi’s homers were Yadi himself, and how many were just balls traveling farther, whether it be to balls being different, batters uppercutting their swings more, etc.
Let’s start with the basics: the ball can’t leave the yard if Yadi doesn’t hit it. His .273 average last year wasn’t his best ever, but the man is a career .284 hitter, which is pretty solid, and often gets lost when people talk about him, as they generally focus on his defense and his ability to guide pitchers (and the team) when he’s on the field. Yadi is a regular field general.
The key, in my mind, is patience. Yadi only had a .310 OBP last year, 37 points above his batting average, due to taking only 28 walks, his fewest since 2014. He does however have a career .336 OBP, which isn’t the worst mark I’ve seen, but it’s not exactly Matt Carpenter’s or Dexter Fowler’s either.
Even last night his homer was on a pitch out of the zone and the swing looked more like a golf swing than a traditional baseball swing. Obviously it got the job done. So far this season though, he’s only drawn one walk in six games. Pitchers notice trends quickly, so they will try to get him chase pitches out of the zone until he stops chasing.
I think he’ll hit 20 or more homers. Whether he’ll have a good batting average and OBP to go with that is another story. As I said above, it’ll come down to patience.
As always, thanks for reading.