The rotation has been good, unbelievably good thus far for the Cardinals. Historic numbers through April with a starting rotation ERA of 2.25 after Saturday’s game against the Brewers. Yet perhaps the most important person to help spark that success seems to have gone unnoticed. He is lurking in the shadows and that’s the way he likes it. Yadier Molina has to be applauded for the great pitching we have been observing from this rotation. His work studying hitters and guiding pitchers is clearly paying dividends early on this season.
It is extremely hard to make an argument that there is someone more valuable to their team than Yadier Molina is to the Cardinals. Seriously, think about it. Sure, Molina doesn’t muscle 40 bombs a season or give you 100+ RBI (although it would not surprise me if he does one day) but he gives you all the intangibles you need from an impact player. He gives you the stellar defense, durability, a clear leader on this team, and he can handle a pitching staff like no one else in the game. Think about that for a minute, what else could you want from a player? He is the definition of a complete baseball player. He provides more than expected offense from the catcher position and he is a force defensively. I won’t bore you with his stats, but I do want to let you know of one huge stat I believe he deserves credit on that isn’t on his stat sheet. Team earned run average for the Cardinals from 2009-2012 is 3.67. That is a very respectable number. We have a laundry list of guys to thank for the great pitching we have received over the years and that list starts with Dave Duncan, but let’s remember the man behind the plate responsible for calling those games. Molina has never finished lower than 9th in catcher’s earned run average from 2009 through this season.
As we relish in the success of the rotation thus far in 2013 and as we see the bullpen improve upon a disappointing April, be sure to give Molina a nod of appreciation. Acknowledge the success he provides to this team because we are witnessing something special in St. Louis. There will never be another number 4 to walk on the diamond as a Saint Louis Cardinal.