COMMENTARY | Fans of the St. Louis Cardinals are passionate about their players and the contributions they bring to the field. Catcher Yadier Molina is arguably one of the best all-around players to ever take the field at his position. His continued growth, especially on the offensive side of the discussion, has many fans starting to whisper about a potential MVP award. That talk seems a bit premature.
You could call it the "Buster Posey Effect". The catcher for the San Francisco Giants brought home the National League MVP award in 2012, becoming the first catcher in 40 years to do so. Many Cardinal fans would begin to wonder when their own catcher would achieve the same level of acknowledgement.
Like it or not, MVP awards are traditionally based on "counting stats" or stats that are easy to compare against other players. Home runs, runs batted in, batting averages, slugging percentages, on base percentages, walks and strikeouts all contribute to the overall value assigned to a player. MVP voters do not tend to look at the intangibles that a player like Molina brings to the table. Voters will look at the offensive categories and find a player that ranks high in batting average, on base percentage and hits. However, they will also find a player that fails to rank in the top 10 in any other category.
Defense alone will not help
Molina may be the best backstop in the game today when you are looking strictly at the defensive side of the game. His abilities to field his position, throwing out base runners, and handling the pitching staff are seldom rivaled. While all of those abilities keep him in the forefront of the minds of many baseball people, they very seldom figure into the discussion around naming the MVP of the league.
The big hit
Molina has continued to progress at the plate offensively throughout his career and he does not show any signs of that changing. His progression has led to him being a feared hitter that is capable of reaching base in most situations. While he reaches base, drives the ball to the opposite field, and seldom strikes out, he also fails to deliver the "big hit" in situations where it is needed. He has had his moments in his career, but he is much more likely to deliver the hit that keeps the inning going than he is to deliver the extra-base hit that puts his team on top.
Overall, Molina is a great player that is truly the most valuable asset to his team, all things considered. That does not translate to him being the MVP of the league.
At least not yet.
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