What can Statcast tell us about the St. Louis Cardinals' catching situation?
So, what does Statcast tell us about the Cardinals catchers?
It tells us it was too bad the Cardinals couldn't close the deal with the As for Sean Murphy. A leader in most of the Statcast categories for catching would have given the Cardinals a catcher closer to what Yadier Molina was in his prime.
It seems too much of a mixed bag with Knizner and Contreras for the Cardinals to make the move they made. Knizner is the much better catcher at blocking and framing, and Willson Contreras has a stronger arm than Knizner.
It's unlikely Knizner's better blocking and framing were the reason Contreras was removed from catching for a week. The Statcast difference between the two are just not that significant. It had to be beyond what Statcast tells us.
What Statcast doesn't tell us
What Statcast doesn't tell us is the impact of Yadier Molina's leadership in the clubhouse, especially when it comes to game planning with the pitchers and managing the game while in progress.
Molina's impact on the organization is best described by A.J. Pierzynski, who backed up Yadi during the last half of the 2014 season. In an interview with the Foul Territory podcast, Pierzynski said, "I never seen one player run an organization the way Yadi did."
Yadier Molina's defensive accomplishments are easy to measure, even before Statcast was in existence. Winning nine Gold Gloves during his career attests to it. What Statcast can't measure is his leadership and his baseball IQ.
This is something Contreras can't duplicate or even should be expected to. Molina is a generational talent.
The Willson Contreras controversy was less about Contreras and his catching skills than it was about a franchise learning to live without Yadier Molina.