Its official: Yadier Molina is the best player in the MLB. Okay, that may not be true, but he is certainly up there on the list. And that sentiment is confirmed by Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe, by way of his recent survey that posed the question: “Which player would you build your team around, regardless of age or experience?”
Cafardo asked about 30 people involved in the game, be it players, coaches, GMs, or peanut vendors (maybe not the last one), that very question. And according to those people, “Yadi” would be the go-to guy in said hypothetical situation.
It may seem like an odd choice on it’s face, but when you really get down to it, it makes a lot of sense. Molina has been somewhat under the radar offensively, and is known more for his defense than his bat. However, that is something that very desperately needs to change, as Molina can now do it all.
Molina is absolutely crushing the ball this year, to the tune of a .358/.403/.509 triple-slash. What makes it even more impressive is that he is doing it as a catcher, a position that it home to very few offensive forces. Yadier only has 5 home runs on the year, but he has pumped out 25 doubles to offset the lack of dingers.
All of that has led to a 3.5 fWAR on the season, and that is with a drop in defensive value, at least according to the very spotty UZR. In terms of just his offense, Baseball Reference has him at a 3.1 oWAR, which makes for a 6 win pace if he has the same amount of plate appearances as last year.
Cafardo also said that Buster Posey was his main competition, so these guys may put a lot of value on offensive forces behind the plate. If you were to ask fans, you would likely hear Miguel Cabrera, Mike Trout and Bryce Harper. But if you showed them what I presented above, Molina may get a few votes as well.
He has slid under the radar, but Molina is making a strong case for the NL MVP for 2013. And if he keeps up this pace, he may be the front runner.