Would you believe Yadier Molina?
There was never any doubt among those inside the St. Louis Cardinals organization that Yadier Molina could handle the duties of catcher behind the plate. But there was always a question about his ability to hit major league pitching.
The Cardinals had gotten used to having light hitting Mike Matheny behind the plate because he was one of the game's premier defensive catchers. It was just two seasons ago that Matheny finished the year with a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage and earning his second Gold Glove. Molina was groomed to take his place and not expected to hit, at least not right away.
If you heard it once, as my mother would say, you heard it a million times, as long as Molina gets the job done behind the plate, the Cardinals were not concerned about his hitting.
In the Cardinals drive to another 100+ victory season, Molina has gotten the job done behind the plate. While he has not been perfect this season, he does carry a .990 fielding percentage and he's allowed the fewest stolen bases (12) among major league catchers.
Molina known for his arm, has picked off a major league high 9 runners. He has also thrown out 55% (23-42) of attempted SB's to begin his career, including 15 of 26 (58%) this year.
Clearly Molina has lived up to expectations behind the plate, but he is getting the job done with the bat at the plate.
Molina was activated from disabled list on August 18, after missing 33 games due to a hit by pitch on the left hand on 7/7 at ARI that caused hairline fracture to his 5th metacarpel. Since then Molina has proven he can contribute offensively as well as being one of the best catchers defensively in all of baseball.
When it counts most, with runners in scoring position, Molina is hitting .571 (12-21) w/RISP since returning from DL.
Going into Tuesday night's game with the Reds, Molina is hitting an amazing .778 (7-9) with RISP this month.
Looking back, the young catcher has hit safely in 45 of last 72 games overall (.279, 68-244 w/36 RBI)and he has hit in 20 of last 35 games at home (.313, 35-112) w/23 RBI.
Molina is also batting .305 (18-59) over the last two road trips, when you need that offensive production the most.
Molina is everything everyone said he was going to be and more. And the more is, he's learned to hit and he's getting it done with runners in scoring position and on the road.
Mr. October, who knows? Maybe.