Cards catcher Yadier Molina had a career year with the bat, setting career marks in batting average (.315), OBP (.373), hits (159), runs (65), homers (22), RBIs (76), steals (12), slugging % (.501), and total bases (253). Molina’s comprehensive offensive improvement is even more special when combined with his usual spectacular defense and reliable handling of the Cardinals pitching staff. Unfortunately, gold gloves are often handed out based on reputation and name recognition rather than relevant stats, leaving those most deserving with nothing to show for their defensive prowess. Yadier Molina does not fall into this category, and here’s why:
In 2012 Molina was second in games caught, first among NL catchers in assists, third in putouts, second in caught-stealing %, third in runners caught stealing, second in fielding %, and second in total zone runs as a catcher (which takes into account stolen bases allowed, caught stealing, errors, pickoffs, passed balls, and wild pitches). Therefore, not only was Molina extremely durable for his position, but he was also a complete defensive catcher, ranking in the top-3 in seven different defensive categories.
Yadi was also ranked fifth in defensive wins above replacement among all players in baseball, which was also first among all catchers. Molina’s glove is so golden that he is ranked in the top-5 in a category that doesn’t include any other catchers in the top 10, and is instead dominated by shortstops and center fielders (together make up 8 of the top 10).
Player input isn’t considered when awarding gold gloves, but a look at the player reaction to Molina’s 5th-straight gold glove award will show the type of defensive player Molina was in 2012, and has been for his entire career:
@DanielDescalso (Daniel Descalso): “Just another Gold Glove #WhatUThink”
@Joe_Kelly_Jr. (Joe Kelly): “Congratulations to the best catcher in all of baseball yadi!!!”
@IanDesmond20 (Ian Desmond): “Congrats, gotta get a bag off a 5 time gold glover next year!”
@jonjayU (Jon Jay): “#Legend”
@JMotte30 (Jason Motte): “Congrats to my man @Yadimolina04 for his 5th GoldGlove. I think there will be some new ink in spring next [year]”
Congratulations to Yadier Molina on another gold glove — just the fifth of hopefully many more to come.