How good is Yadier Molina?


It's #YadiWeek, boys and girls! Why are we doing this ridiculous exercise? Why wouldn't we? Yadier Molina is absolutely ridiculously good and we should celebrate every day, much less every week, much less THIS WEEK that we have left with the future Hall of Famer and current Cardinal great.



His Hitting


Let me build this up a bit. Cardinals fans marvel at Ozzie Smith's transformation as a hitter. In Smith's first 4 years in the league, as a San Diego Padre, he had an OPS+ of 66. He was 34% worse than league average over his first 2,536 plate appearances as a major league baseball player. Ozzie then came to St. Louis, where he played 15 more seasons. He was a full-time starter in 13 of them and in 4 of those seasons, he had an OPS+ above league average.


Yadier Molina came up as a defensive wizard not know for his offense. In fact, like Smith, it was said that his defense was so good that he could basically not hit his weight and he'd still be worth the contract and starting position.


How #good is Yadier Molina, you might ask?


After Molina's rookie year, in which he only played in 51 games and only had 151 PA, he has started 110 games or more for 14 straight seasons. Much like Smith, Yadier's first 3 years in the league were spent at 36% below league average (by OPS+) hitting. If you exclude the 151 cup of joe in year 1, Yadier Molina is on pace in 2018 to have his 7th (of 14) season over a 100 OPS+.


This guy absolutely transformed himself as a hitter, in front of Cardinals' Nation's eyes.



His Defense


There are 30 teams in the league. By the law of averages, the St. Louis Cardinals should have 3.3% of all caught stealings, all attempted steals, all pickoffs, etc. Entering tonight's game, Yadier Molina has caught 15,344 1/3 innings for the Cardinals, representing 70.7% of their innings caught in that time (74.0% from 2005 to present, taking out his cup o joe). Even if you say that Yadier should have 75% of the Cardinals' percentages, Yadi should have 2.5% of the league totals in caught stealings, attempted steals, pickoffs, etc. That's if he were just an ordinary, run-of-the-mill, average catcher.


So, again, I ask: How #good is Yadier Molina?


Yadier Molina has only faced 1.44% of the league's stolen base attempts in his 15 year career. That's decreasing the running game by 42.37%!


The league has thrown out 27.78% of runners trying to steal in Yadier's career. Yadi has thrown out 40.75% of runners. That's 46.71% better than league average!


If you include pickoffs in the caught stealing percentage (CS+PO)/(SB+CS), the league has thrown out 29.40%. In the same time frame, Molina has thrown out 48.49%. That's 64.91% better than league average!


An average catcher playing as often as Yadi plays would have somewhere around 2.5% of the pickoffs for the entire league. Yadier Molina has 6.85% of the league's pickoffs since he arrived on the scene! If you take out his first partial season, it goes up to 7.15% of the league's total pickoffs. That's 186% better than league average!



How #good is Yadier Molina, you might ask?


He's ridiculous.


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