We’re doing something new at “The Cooperstown case” this week. For the first time, we’ll be looking at the case for a player who is STILL ACTIVE. Yes, I know, that could be tough and unfair.
This player is just one of three brothers who have had a successful career as a Major League Baseball player. All of them have been catchers, and this gentlemen in particular is already considered to be one of the best defensive catchers of all time.
Today, we’ll be looking at Yadier Molina.
As stated before, he is still active, so only time will tell how the rest of his career pans out. That being said, it’s time to look at his career so far and see if there’s enough to warrant a trip to Cooperstown… one that includes a plaque.
Well, first we will look at how well the team has done since he joined the Major Leagues 13 years ago. The Cardinals have had two World Series wins, four National League Pennants, and eight National League Central titles in Molina’s 13 seasons as the Cardinals’ top catcher. From 2009-15, Molina was an All-Star, and was an eight-time Gold Glove winner (his consecutive Gold Glove Award streak ended this season).
His defense behind the plate makes up for his average performances at the plate. When compared to other Hall of Famers, Molina hitting .281/.335/.394 for his career with 103 home runs, 674 RBI, and a 98 wRC+ (weighted runs created +) is pretty average, even a bit below average. Now, with that said, from 2011-13, he was an offensive machine, hitting over .300 all three seasons.
But now it’s time to look at his specialty: defense. One thing Molina does well is his ability to keep the pitchers he is working with calm and provide a good, strong mental leadership role. However, in regards to WAR from 2004-2016, the Cardinals overall rotation has ranked sixth. While that doesn’t seem too bad, it’s not where many Cardinals fans expected them to be (although they do have high expectations).
Molina has never been a bad player, but he has under-performed in certain time-frames. Also, at 34, the time has come to where a future replacement at the very least needs to be considered, but we’ll discuss that another day.
What matters is that Molina is still performing well behind the plate, and gets just enough done at the plate. But “just enough” doesn’t make a Hall of Famer. So while it would seem a sure thing that Molina would be a Hall of Famer once his long career is over, once a long look is taken, maybe it will be a more interesting discussion than you thought.
Feel free to discuss below if you think he is deserving of Cooperstown one day, and tune in next week for another edition of “The Cooperstown case” next week!