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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Cardinals’ Yadier Molina becomes first MLB player to catch 2,000 games with one team

Stalwart Yadier Molina will start Wednesday’s game behind the plate for the Cardinals and that’s nothing new. He started 10 of the team’s first 11 games this season and has been a rock behind the plate for close to two decades now. Wednesday’s start is historic though. It will be Molina’s 2,000th career game at catcher.

Here is the all-time games caught leaderboard:

Ivan Rodriguez: 2,427 games
Carlton Fisk: 2,226 games
Bob Boone: 2,225 games
Gary Carter: 2,056 games
Jason Kendall: 2,025 games
Yadier Molina: 2,000 games and counting
Molina is the only one of those six catchers to spend his entire career with one team.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 14, 2021 at 01:10 PM | 46 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: yadier molina

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   1. Paul d mobile Posted: April 14, 2021 at 01:41 PM (#6013369)
I didn't realize Jason Kendall caught so many games.

So Molina finishes no worse than 4th all time on the games caught list. With a shot at 3rd.
   2. SoSH U at work Posted: April 14, 2021 at 01:49 PM (#6013370)
So Molina finishes no worse than 4th all time on the games caught list. With a shot at 3rd.


I'd say if he's got a shot at third, second wouldn't be out of reach.
   3. Nasty Nate Posted: April 14, 2021 at 01:50 PM (#6013371)
Very cool. Salvador Perez is not quite halfway there.
   4. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 14, 2021 at 02:19 PM (#6013381)
Salvy would have to catch 138 games per year til age 38 to reach 2,000.
   5. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: April 14, 2021 at 03:23 PM (#6013394)
41 BBref-WAR but 166 points on the Hall of Fame Monitor. Do catchers get 50 points for being on a World Series winner?

Most comparable player is A.J. Pierogi. One Hall of Famer in Molina's top 10 comps, and a marginal one at that (Lombardi, #7 comp). Yet I expect him to fare much better with the BBWAA.

   6. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 14, 2021 at 04:09 PM (#6013402)
Not sufficiently versatile to log significant time at other positions? No other team willing to trade for him, either? What’s the fuss about?
   7. The Duke Posted: April 14, 2021 at 04:53 PM (#6013423)
I have no doubt he will chug right past Pudge. Losing 100 games last year really hurt the effort though
   8. Biscuit_pants Posted: April 14, 2021 at 05:00 PM (#6013428)
I have no doubt he will chug right past Pudge.
Which Pudge? Or both?
   9. Walt Davis Posted: April 14, 2021 at 06:17 PM (#6013449)
Further on #4, through age 30, Molina is about 1.5 full C seasons ahead of Perez which is due to Perez missing all of 2019 and then 2020. Very hard to have a shot at MLB endurance records under those circumstances.

It's only a handful of games but Perez has picked up where he left off with the bat. Move over Piazza. His EV and hard-hit % took a sizable jump in 2018 actually with no real reward in results. They've stayed high for 2020-21 with big rewards. No obvious change in GB/LD/FB so launch angle seems about the same but his HR/FB went up a good bit in 2020-21 anyway.
   10. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: April 14, 2021 at 08:28 PM (#6013465)
"First MLB player to catch 2000 games with a single team" is totally going to be somebody's justification for their hall of fame vote.
   11. Rough Carrigan Posted: April 14, 2021 at 09:10 PM (#6013473)
I wondered how close a few other guys came to the list. Ray Schalk had around 1750 games, all with the White Sox till, literally, a few games at the very end of his career with the White Sox. I wondered about Yogi Berra but he had a fair number of games in left and pinch hitting and after a year retired from playing he came back and played a little with the Mets. Sherm Lollar played 1750 games and had bounced from Indians to Yankees to Browns before settling with the White Sox. Not a huge Yadier fan but it's a significant accomplishment.
   12. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: April 14, 2021 at 09:19 PM (#6013477)
"First MLB player to catch 2000 games with a single team" is totally going to be somebody's justification for their hall of fame vote.


I know your are being a bit snarky, but it is a pretty cool stat and definitely falls under the "FAME" part of HOF. I have no issues with this guy being elected to the HOF. I don't think we sufficiently measure catching value overall and to catch 2000+ games in a career is really f*cking hard to do.
   13. SoSH U at work Posted: April 14, 2021 at 09:27 PM (#6013478)
I know your are being a bit snarky, but it is a pretty cool stat and definitely falls under the "FAME" part of HOF. I have no issues with this guy being elected to the HOF. I don't think we sufficiently measure catching value overall and to catch 2000+ games in a career is really f*cking hard to do.


As the HoF Monitor illustrates in very stark detail, no one is going to have to justify his HoF vote for Yadi. He's done an awful lot of what Hall of Famers do (9x All-Star, 9x Gold Glover, 2X WS champ, 4X Pennant Winner, etc.).
   14. The Honorable Ardo Posted: April 14, 2021 at 09:48 PM (#6013484)
Yadi is going to waltz into the Hall of Fame. Whether he generated enough offensive value to justify entering the Hall of Merit is a different question, and a fascinating one.
   15. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: April 14, 2021 at 10:27 PM (#6013491)
He's done an awful lot of what Hall of Famers do (9x All-Star, 9x Gold Glover, 2X WS champ, 4X Pennant Winner, etc.).


Except for be qualified for the hall of fame.
   16. SoSH U at work Posted: April 14, 2021 at 10:36 PM (#6013495)
Nah, he’s a perfectly reasonable choice now, and he may still add to his case.
   17. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: April 14, 2021 at 10:48 PM (#6013505)
Except for be qualified for the hall of fame.

Agree.

Nah, he’s a perfectly reasonable choice now, and he may still add to his case.

Not unless he can magically transport his career to pre-WW2. 41 WAR is a joke for a HOFer in 2021. Posada has a better case. At least he was the C on a legit great team.
   18. SoSH U at work Posted: April 14, 2021 at 11:09 PM (#6013516)
Not unless he can magically transport his career to pre-WW2. 41 WAR is a joke for a HOFer in 2021. Posada has a better case. At least he was the C on a legit great team.


Only if you think the Hall is strictly a bWAR count, which is inane. If you look at another measuring system, he's easily qualified (I'd be more inclined to balance the two systems, which still puts him above most others on the borderline).

And, he's got all that other stuff that makes one a Hall of Famer (the A-S games, the GGs, etc) that others are just lacking.

As for Posada (who wouldn't be an unreasonable selection), while he was my favorite from those Yankee teams, his case looks worse with time, not better.
   19. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: April 14, 2021 at 11:33 PM (#6013518)
Posada has a better case.


Only if you think BWAR is the only measure. I think most people would agree that Molina has the better HOF case. Catching is considered a defense first position. Your defensive rep and achievements will always outweigh your offensive achievements unless you someone like Bench who was incredible at both skills.

If you're a bat first catcher, you need to hit like Piazza to make the HOF.
   20. Walt Davis Posted: April 14, 2021 at 11:56 PM (#6013521)
Not a huge Yadier fan but it's a significant accomplishment.

No. 2000 games caught is a significant accomplishment. That they were all with one team is meaningless.

If you look at another measuring system

If you mean HoF Monitor then ... it's not a reliable measuring system. The key problem with the HoF Monitor is that the average is based on all HoFers, including all the not really deserving VC picks. Now in Yadi's specific case, he's got a more than high enough total that he ranks quite well by BBWAA-elected members too. Of course there are still issues here -- by HoF Monitor he has been MUCH better than Fisk, Carter, Cochrane and Hartnett ... and that's just Cs as he's also a bit better than Beltre, Mathews, Kaline, Bagwell, Thome, Appling. By the Monitor, not only is Aparicio a bit better than Appling but Tejada was just as good -- all of those guys better than Yount. By HoFM, Vizquel and Rollins were as good as Larkin and all better than Arky Vaughan. Former Texas Ranger Michael Young scores 112 on HoFM which makes him a "likely HoFer" ... and better than McCovey. AJP is a likely HoFer and just ahead of Stargell. Ryan Howard, Dick Allen and Scott Rolen are all tied.

HoFM wasn't intended as a measure of quality and it does a good job at not being one. Across the top 100 or so ... down to about 135, maybe 130, it's good at "likelihood" and potentially "explains" some curious 1st ballot guys like Puckett and eventually Yadi but below that it's a train wreck.

Being a C on a WS winner is worth 6 points ... being MVP of the whole league is only worth 8 and making an AS team only 3. That might be accurate for BBWAA-voting purposes or VC predictions but it doesn't make sense from a quality perspective. Yadi is famous and respected but I have a hard time seeing why his impressive longevity should give him a 58 point lead over Campanella.
   21. Lowry Seasoning Salt Posted: April 15, 2021 at 12:06 AM (#6013522)
Considering how much "Back in my day us men were real men" crap we often hear, it's interesting to me how recent all the names are. Rounding out the top 10 after Molina is, if I didn't screw up,

Santiago
Ausmus
Pena
Parrish
   22. SoSH U at work Posted: April 15, 2021 at 12:55 AM (#6013526)
If you mean HoF Monitor then ...


Well, that was a nice explanation, but that isn't what I was talking about, because the Monitor isn't a measuring system.

By Fangraphs, he has 55 WAR. Now I understand some reluctance to use it, but I don't think it's unreasonable to believe his value falls somewhere between bWAR and fWAR. And any kind of approach that balances the two WARs pushes Molina ahead of most of the others who sit on the catcher borderline.

I don't think he's a lock, by any stretch, and wouldn't claim anyone who leaves him out is crazy. But when I look at the totality of his case, he looks like a perfectly reasonable choice to me, which is what I said.
   23. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: April 15, 2021 at 08:16 AM (#6013534)
No. 2000 games caught is a significant accomplishment. That they were all with one team is meaningless.


From an analytical standpoint sure. As a baseball fan I love seeing guys play their whole career with one team.
   24. My name is Votto, and I love to get Moppo Posted: April 15, 2021 at 08:40 AM (#6013537)
Considering how much "Back in my day us men were real men" crap we often hear, it's interesting to me how recent all the names are. Rounding out the top 10 after Molina is, if I didn't screw up,

Santiago
Ausmus
Pena
Parrish


B-REF has a slightly different list. Other than Molina, the next active player is Kurt Suzuki at #41 on the list, and nearly 600 games behind Yadi.
   25. The Duke Posted: April 15, 2021 at 09:03 AM (#6013543)
I just don’t think Yadi is close to done yet. If he can keep muddling along as a league average catcher and play 120 games a year for three more years, he’ll get in on the sheer weight of catcher counting stats. He looks to be in great shape and is hitting up a ton this year (a league leader in WPA so far ).
   26. DL from MN Posted: April 15, 2021 at 09:09 AM (#6013544)
My question for all the Yadier naysayers is if not him, then who? Mauer and Posey I guess but some people don't seem to like them either. Catcher workloads have been shifting gradually to give the 2nd catcher more playing time. I think part of the reason is the length of games; it's a lot harder to sit in a squat for 3-1/2 hours than it is for 2-1/2 hours. I think teams also noticed that more rest for the catcher improves their offense.

Next on the list for catchers is Sal Perez with 25 WAR and he's certainly not a safe bet to reach 40. Realmuto is at 20 WAR with a peak lower than Yadi. Are we going to stop electing pitchers and catchers to the Hall of Fame and make it the "Hall of Batters"? I guess that could fit the 'home run derby' era of baseball where defense is pointless because nobody puts the ball in play. However, the one guy who actually has to play defense in this era is the catcher.
   27. greenback used to say live and let live Posted: April 15, 2021 at 10:41 AM (#6013558)
B-REF has a slightly different list. Other than Molina, the next active player is Kurt Suzuki at #41 on the list, and nearly 600 games behind Yadi.

So it seems that catcher usage went through a phase, starting with the Fisk/Boone/Bench (you have to mention Bench) generation, of heavy usage, and that phase seems to be ending with Molina.
   28. greenback used to say live and let live Posted: April 15, 2021 at 10:48 AM (#6013561)
It's funny that the B-REF list referenced in #24 has name, number of seasons played in the majors, number of games at catcher, and... throwing arm. Maybe the list was generated by Jack Clements' grandkid.
   29. The Duke Posted: April 15, 2021 at 10:49 AM (#6013562)
The Hall is already short of catchers. There’s a number of them that should be in. Simmons was a good first step. I’ve warmed up to Munson and always thought Freehan should be in. Posada is an interesting decision. I’d tend to say yes due to the strength of the teams he played on. Then you will have Mauer, posey, McCann and Molina. I’m not sold on McCann but the numbers don’t lie.

   30. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 15, 2021 at 12:01 PM (#6013575)
I’m not sold on McCann but the numbers don’t lie
The numbers that give McCann 18 WAR or whatever for framing probably do lie.
   31. Russ Posted: April 15, 2021 at 01:48 PM (#6013597)
I didn't realize Jason Kendall caught so many games.


Although the dislocated ankle in 1999 was the more spectacular injury, the fact that the criminally asinine Pirates management allowed him to play through a torn ulnar ligament in his thumb in 2001 cost him his shot at the HOF. He was never the same hitter after, as it robbed him of his ability to drive the ball.
   32. The Yankee Clapper Posted: April 15, 2021 at 01:54 PM (#6013598)
Posada has a better case.
Only if you think BWAR is the only measure.
Actually, just about any offensive statistic will do, and it’s not just Posada. The Hall is overdue for a proper positional adjustment for catchers, and my gripe is with those willing to elect Molina while continuing to overlook those who played earlier. Perhaps Ted Simmons election by the Veterans Committee is a sign of things to come, but Bill Freehan made 11 All-Star teams, including 10 in a row, and he’s still languishing.
   33. SoSH U at work Posted: April 15, 2021 at 02:04 PM (#6013600)
my gripe is with those willing to elect Molina while continuing to overlook those who played earlier


Who exactly is this gripe directed at?
   34. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: April 15, 2021 at 02:44 PM (#6013608)
My question for all the Yadier naysayers is if not him, then who?


We might just be in a catcher dry spell right now. There's only 30 of these jobs, given the vagaries of injuries and luck, it could just be that no one from the current crop measures up.
   35. DL from MN Posted: April 15, 2021 at 04:06 PM (#6013635)
There's only 30 of these jobs


You're just wrong here. There are "only 30 catcher jobs" the same way there are "only 30 starting pitcher jobs". Every team carries 2 catchers at all times. The backup is expected to play at least 25% of the time and often plays 30-40% of the time. Look at 2019 - the 20th catcher on the list in games played had 95G and 10th was 106G. 20th among SS was 122 games played and 10th was 140G.
   36. Lowry Seasoning Salt Posted: April 15, 2021 at 04:13 PM (#6013637)
Votto #24: Thanks for the link to the accurate list of all-time games played at catcher. Good to see the correct names.
   37. cardsfanboy Posted: April 15, 2021 at 04:39 PM (#6013647)
That is the thing, there are always going to be era's where we don't have a hof player at a position, and there is always the possibility that a position is not worthy of producing as many hofers over the course of baseball history. There is no reason to assume all positions are equal, in fact I don't think there is any justification for that argument.

Third base has been historically under represented in the hof, at least by the bbwaa, and the reason some people argue is that an incorrect assumption of the value of the dual aspect of the position, but another argument can be made is that we just haven't had many long career great players at the position, simply playing the position long term deserves some respect of course, but that doesn't automatically put you in the hof. I don't see any reason for Vizquel for the hof, even though he had a long career and was decent almost every year, same with Jason Kendall at catcher or other positions (Baines as a DH)

So someone arguing that Yadier simply being good enough to play 2000 games, isn't a reason to put him in the hof, I fully agree. I don't actually agree with their position, but I agree with their argument. (if that makes sense)


Not every era is going to have a hof player at every position. With the lack of steal attempts now, catchers arm defense is dramatically less important than it was in the past. Yadier who has a historically great caught stealing percentage, and that reputation alone has reduced the number of steal attempts against him, still isn't remotely in the discussion for most caught stealing in his career, because he played in an era where only the best even really tried to steal..



At the same time, there was a stat going around earlier this season that really did cement my personal opinion that Yadier is hof worthy, and it's simple... since 2005, the Cardinals have allowed 847 stolen bases... The Diamondbacks are second in allowed steals since that time at 1250. (the 25th best team is closer to the second best team than the second is to the first) Same with attempts, same with history (in history the Cardinals 17 year gap between the best and second best is nearly double any other 17 year stretch---this is a Tom Tango data dive)


Yadier's hof discussion is going to always be interesting, I'm in the camp he's going to go in easily, just like Lou Brock, and then end up in discussions about how the writers aren't any better than the veteran's committee. I put him borderline personally but over the line, as I've always been a big fan of durability. Add in that I do think that catchers values are massively underrated, especially when it comes to the plus defenders/game callers. (it's the game calling that is most important, not really the arm, only a bit about the ability to block the plate to prevent wild pitches, and a little more with framing, but it's really about game calling... Irod gets almost no credit for game calling because his own pitchers have called him out on it--- would rather get a caught stealing by calling a fastball than a put away pitch type of thing)
   38. cardsfanboy Posted: April 15, 2021 at 04:45 PM (#6013648)
And I have to agree with Walt's first sentence in post 20, the 2000 games is significant, with one team not as much so, although it at least does allow us to cull data... I lost the page, will need to see if I can find it, but during Yadier's time the fip for the Cardinals vs actual runs allowed was a bit more higher than other teams in that time period. Sadly I gave up my pi so I can't actually research it to see if it is true. (Pi is great and all, but not worth $80 a year for basically 100 or so searches)
   39. Ziggy: social distancing since 1980 Posted: April 15, 2021 at 11:11 PM (#6013732)
#35 actually helps my argument. My point was that there are few enough catchers at any given time that random chance might mean that none of the current ones are hall of fame worthy. The back up catchers aren't HOF candidates, so that there's 30 more guys who sometimes wear the tools of ignorance isn't any extra indication that there are HOF-worthy catchers around. And that some of them essentially share catching duties with the "starter" means that effectively there are fewer than 30 guys at any given time who might be HOF candidates.
   40. baxter Posted: April 15, 2021 at 11:47 PM (#6013738)
29 & 32 Yes on Freehan; always like to see that him mentioned.

Interesting discussion of what is hall worthy for a catcher.

It is tough to catch a lot of games. Surprising that Rick Ferrell got in; I remember when it happened; I didn't know who he was.

Then again, Jim Hegan caught quite a few games and he's not getting in.
   41. DL from MN Posted: April 16, 2021 at 09:14 AM (#6013764)
There is no reason to assume all positions are equal


No, but there is also no reason to assume all value is in plate appearances. The "position switcher" model of replacement value completely falls apart with catchers because it is a one-way street. There are no outfielders switching to move behind the plate during the season. A "replacement level" catcher is the guy you can pick up on waivers or from AAA - Tomas Telis or Erik Kratz. Players who hit with a 60 OPS+.

We're in an era where the pitchers and catchers are doing more of the run prevention work than ever before (as measured by strikeouts). That work is being divided among more players than before because the managers realized how to maximize the performance of the team by asking each individual to do a little less. But for hall of fame arguments we're going to ignore the players in the game who did all the work and just induct the guys who hit dingers (and, god only knows why, relief pitchers). That is a distorted and really boring view of the game. Maybe that fits perfectly with the distorted and really boring "Home Run Derby" era of baseball we are in right now.

We should probably stop inviting pitchers and catchers to the All-Star Game now since they aren't that valuable and we're taking All-Star honors away from the players who really deserve it. Just have the Home Run Derby and go home or maybe play the All-Star Game with a tee.
   42. jmurph Posted: April 16, 2021 at 01:17 PM (#6013802)
The numbers that give McCann 18 WAR or whatever for framing probably do lie.

I also find it kind of difficult to compare catchers when we've got the bat #### framing numbers floating around that no one honestly takes seriously.
   43. Darren Posted: April 16, 2021 at 01:25 PM (#6013804)
Fisk caught way more than that for the Sox.
   44. DL from MN Posted: April 16, 2021 at 01:32 PM (#6013809)
Bill Freehan made 11 All-Star teams, including 10 in a row, and he’s still languishing.


It would have been nice for Freehan to get elected while he could still enjoy it. He's been retired 45 years.
   45. jingoist Posted: April 17, 2021 at 09:30 AM (#6013960)
What, no love for Smoky Burgess?
   46. Hank Gillette Posted: April 17, 2021 at 07:17 PM (#6014068)
41 BBref-WAR but 166 points on the Hall of Fame Monitor. Do catchers get 50 points for being on a World Series winner?


No, but they get six for winning and five for losing.

“Strong up the middle” used to be a thing that sportswriters talked about. If the idea wasn’t initiated by the great Yankees, Dodgers, and Giants teams of the 1950s (with Mays, Mantle, Snider, Berra, Campanella, Robinson, McDougald, Rizzuto, and Reese), that probably reinforced it. Of course, four very good to great players on a team at any position is a huge advantage.

The Hall of Fame Monitor is another Bill James toy, and (necessarily) looks backward. I think the sabermetrics revolution he had a major role in generating has lowered the accuracy of the Monitor. A revision would probably give a nod to WAR (I don’t think it is a major part of the voters’ thinking yet, but as younger voters become qualified and older voters drop out it will increase in influence). How many eligible players with 80 WAR or more are outside of the Hall, other than steroid cases? Not that those guys are borderline.

Harold Baines remains inexplicble by any measure. 38.7 career WAR (best season: 4.3), and 66 on the HOF Monitor. I believe is the worst pick in my lifetime, much worse than Jack Morris and Jim Rice.

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