St. Louis Cardinals: Fantasy Outlook-Yadier Molina

Jun 29, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA Mandatory Credit: Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 29, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA Mandatory Credit: Billy Hurst-USA TODAY Sports /

As the St. Louis Cardinals catcher enters his 14th season, many fantasy owners are wondering what value Yadier Molina has and where he ranks among the other catchers around the league. Let’s take a look at his projections for the upcoming season.

When you think of the St. Louis Cardinals catcher, Yadier Molina, certain phrases come to mind. Phrases like “Gold Glove” and “best defensive catcher” are synonymous with his name. In fantasy baseball, however, much more emphasis is given to hitting.

While Molina certainly doesn’t have the power of most catchers, he has quietly become one of the most consistent and clutch producers behind the plate. If you have followed Molina’s career closely, you’ll remember his first three years were not impressive at all.

Molina began to prove he was not all defense after the St. Louis Cardinals 2006 championship season. Since 2006, Molina has a .294 BA, a .348 OBP, a .412 SLG, and a .759 OPS.

What should we expect during the 2017 season? Molina is 34-years old and many owners may shy away from drafting him early on. However, based on two projections for 2017 season, Molina is set to have another solid year at the plate. I used two projections, FantasyPros and CBS, to give us a better sense of where Molina’ season might end up.

  • FantasyPros projected the below stat line for Molina in 2017:

Yadier Molina: 484 AB, 45 R, 7 HR, 54 RBI, .289 BA, 140 H, 31 2B, 2 3B, 31 BB

  • CBS projected the below stat line for Molina in 2017:

Yadier Molina: 589 AB, 50 R, 7 HR, 61 RBI, .290 BA, 171 H, 36 2B, 2 3B, 37 BB

At first glance, both projections show Molina having a very capable season. These numbers are certainly not out of reach for him, but there are some discrepancies between the projections. The most obvious ones are at bats, hits, doubles and, RBI.

It’s possible that FantasyPros might be adjusting for days off and/or injuries, but as many Cardinals fans know Molina is not one to take a day off. Based on his 2016 season totals, the CBS projection seems to be a little closer to the mark. Both are good indicators of what type of season Molina might have.

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Fantasy Value

If you are looking for power next season, then you’re better of with players like Gary Sánchez, Kyle Schwarber (assuming he catches), or Jonathan Lucroy. All three of those players project to hit twenty or more home runs compared to Molina’s seven.

Molina’s hitting strength is his consistency. His projected totals show an ability to hit for a high average and some power. He projects to lead all catchers in hits, singles, and doubles according to CBS. Also, consider the retooled St. Louis Cardinals lineup. Dexter Fowler‘s presence may add extra opportunities for RBI throughout the year.

Given Molina’s steady production at the plate, owners can afford to sit on Molina and draft other needs earlier on.

Catcher Ranking

So where does that leave him in terms of ranking among his fellow catchers? Based on the FantasyPros projection, Molina ranks 14th overall. His minimal power diminishes his over fantasy value, but it is respectable.

According to the CBS projections, however, Molina ranks as the 6th catcher. His 100 extra at bats, according to CBS, adds more value to Molina even with diminished power. The number of at bats projected for 2017 is consistent with his at bat total in 2016, so not necessarily an overrated ranking.

Next: A Preview of the NL Central in 2017

Based on his projections, Molina will offer a solid year at the plate. If you’re expecting power, then you are better off looking elsewhere; if you are looking for consistency and total hits, then the wait is worth it for Molina. But, hey, this is fantasy. Anything can happen. Go Cards!