St. Louis Cardinals: Yadier Molina and Puerto Rico prepare for U-23 championships

LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 22: Seth Lugo /

In two days, St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina’s managerial debut will begin at the Pan American U-23 Baseball Championship.

On November 2nd, St. Louis Cardinals catcher, Yadier Molina, was named the manager of the U-23 Puerto Rico baseball team scheduled to play in the Pan American Championships in Panama. At this moment, there perhaps is no bigger star from Puerto Rico than Molina. It is only fitting for a player who has played in all editions of the World Baseball Classic, including two silver medals and other various honors, to be named the manager of highly ranked team.

This will be Molina’s managerial debut, and, for some, perhaps a glimpse at what future endeavors Molina has in the managerial world. After all, the current manager of the St. Louis Cardinals is a former catcher, so it only seems natural Molina would explore the same route.

What makes Molina such a compelling figure for the young players on the Puerto Rican national team are the tangible and intangibles he displays on the field during each game for the Cardinals. As Cardinal fans, we have seen Molina develop from a lowly hitter to one of the best hitters in the game, especially in the clutch.

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His knowledge of the offensive part of the game will surely help the young players approach. I wouldn’t be surprised if some of the players even adopted Molina’s aggressive style at the plate.

Yadier Molina’s tendency to swing at the first pitch can be a down-right frustrating thing. However, I think everyone would do well to remember he only does so mainly when he believes a fastball is coming. Naturally it is an easy pitch to handle.

However, being a catcher also help young hitters understand what to expect in certain counts. Molina can explain to the hitters what kind of off-speed pitch a hitter will most likely face.

At the end of the day, Molina’s hitting prowess is something the national team should embrace.

On the other side of the game, the part Cardinal and MLB fans know Molina for, Molina’s defensive mastery is something most teams at the championships won’t have. Another thing most teams do not have is Molina’s intangibles of working with a pitching rotation, especially a young one.

In the 2017 World Baseball Classic, Molina guided a young Puerto Rican rotation to the finals for a second consecutive tournament. While failing to capture gold unfortunately, Molina’s work with the staff did not go unnoticed by many. With the likes of Seth Lugo, Hector Santiago, Jose Berrios, and Edwin Diaz, Molina showed why he is regarded as one of the best catchers of his generation.

The Puerto Rican national team will begin play on November 24th, with the hopes of a nation still dealing with the catastrophic damage left behind by Hurricane Maria. Molina also named fellow St. Louis Cardinal Jose Oquendo and his brother Jose Molina to the coaching staff.

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The team will continue to prepare for the games at the Spring Training site of the St. Louis Cardinals in Jupiter, Florida. Good luck to the national team and to Molina in the championships. Vamos arriba mi gente!