Yadier Molina has always been an amazing defensive catcher, but like most amazing defensive catchers, he hasn’t always been a very good hitter. In fact, for the first three years of his career, he was a pretty terrible hitter, and then he spent four years as an average-ish hitter before his breakout season last year. Well, we thought last year was his breakout season anyway. This year is Breakout 2.0, as Molina has put himself among not just the elite hitting catchers in the game, but has produced at a level that is outstanding for any position. And in the process, he’s having one of the best all-around catcher seasons in baseball history.
There have always been catchers who can hit but can’t throw, and throw but can’t hit, but there haven’t been many who have hit and thrown like Molina has this year
...While invoking Bench’s name might seem like heresy, the reality is that Molina’s 2012 season fits perfectly into Bench’s peak.
Using the custom leaderboards here on the site, we can put all of Molina and Bench’s individual seasons together on one page, then sort as we see fit. Between them, they’ve played in 26 different seasons – Molina’s 2012 ranks 1st in BA, 2nd in OBP, 6th in SLG, 5th in wOBA, and 3rd in wRC+. While Molina can’t quite keep up with what Bench did in 1972 — it might be the best catcher season of all time — his overall performance is essentially a perfect match for any other season of Bench’s career. This year, Yadier Molina is basically performing at Johnny Bench’s normal levels during the prime of his career.
...I don’t have any problem with anyone deciding that they prefer Braun, McCutchen, or Posey for the MVP. They’re all great candidates. Let’s just not ignore the fact that we essentially have a modern day Johnny Bench this year, and Yadier Molina is a pretty great candidate himself.
Posted: September 28, 2012 at 12:37 PM | 43 comment(s)
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