St. Louis Cardinals: Expectations for Yadier Molina
The catcher position of the St. Louis Cardinals has a big question mark remaining as we approach Spring Training. Will their catcher be ready and how effective will he be?
Just recently news broke that St. Louis Cardinals’ catcher Yadier Molina had his cast removed from his second thumb surgery this offseason. With Molina having the two thumb surgeries this offseason, we are left to wonder, what offensive impact will he have if any.
Molina finished the season last year with a measly .660 OPS, his lowest OPS total since the 2006 season. That was when Molina was recovering from thumb surgery on his left thumb. So, now Molina has two surgically repaired thumbs making it all the more harder to be much of an offensive force at all.
Molina has had some great years in the Cardinals’ uniform, and he will continue to be the backstop of this club for a few more years. I even have him ranked in the top 25 of all time great Cardinals. However, let’s take a look at what the projections say about the Cardinals’ catcher.
Steamer: 425 PA .278/.326/.397 30 extra base-hits (22 doubles, 7 homers, 1 triple), 41 RBI, 3.0 WAR. Interestingly enough, Molina’s 3.0 WAR is tied for third among all catchers.
This is a fairly reasonable projection for Molina. I think the RBI number may be a little bit low, but given he may be batting in the eighth spot, it could be accurate.
ZiPS: 497 PA .279/.323/.382 32 extra base-hits (24 doubles, 7 homers, 1 triple), 58 RBI, 3.3 WAR
This is about the same projection, with quite a bit more PA. Another fair and maybe a touch favorable for the Cardinals’ catcher.
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Fans: 499 PA .275/. 323/.362 28 extra base-hits (22 doubles and 6 homers), 42 RBI, 2.4 WAR.
Shockingly, this is the lowest projection for Molina. I kind of expected the fans projection to be a bit more favorable.
My prediction: This is hard, but I can’t see Molina doing much better than these predictions. I would expect him to be somewhere in the area of .275/.330/.370. I think that somewhere around 30-35 extra base-hits is a fair expectation for him.
Anything between 2.0-3.0 WAR would be a good expectation and a really good outcome for the Cardinals, as many don’t see Yadier Molina starting over 125 games this season.
All in all, it is going to be an interesting season for Molina. I doubt we see the power he displayed in 2013, but Molina can still be a contributor for the Cardinals this season. Frankly, whatever the Cardinals get out of Molina offensively this season is a plus. One thing is for sure is that we will see less and less of the Cardinals’ catcher on a regular basis than we have in the past. This is why the Cardinals brought in Brayan Pena.
Molina will still be Molina behind the plate, as his defense has not shown any sign of declining and his mind surely isn’t going anywhere. This is the most important part for the Cardinals. Having Molina there to continue to groom guys like Carlos Martinez and Michael Wacha is incredibly important.
Next: Is Yadier Molina going to end up in the Hall of Fame?
So, what are your thoughts on Yadier Molina’s season?