Yadi=Cooperstown…NO WAY

As a life-long fan of the Cardinals, I’ve seen several HOF’ers as a Card fan. Here in 2022, I’m continually hearing “HOF’er Yadier Molina” being said to me over & over again, as if to brain-wash me into believing that he’s a real MLB HOF candidate. But…he really isn’t!!
…. First of all, NO ONE enters the HOF because of defense alone. Batting for power, proliferation of hits, or both earn you a spot in the hallowed hall in Cooperstown, NY. Here’s a classic example of a good field, little hit star–Mark Belanger. Belanger was the Baltimore SS starter for 17 years. He’s 2nd in the Defensive WAR—All-time with a 39.1. He was the every-day SS for the Orioles in their glory years of the late 60’s-70’s. But, he never achieved the necessary votes and now he’s been dropped off the ballot. Yadier Molina’s Defensive WAR is 27.0, tied for #14 on the D-WAR list. Soooo…rule out fielding as opening the HOF door for ANY player. Other players with a Defensive-WAR above Yadi and NOT in the HOF are: Omar Vizquel, Bill Dahlen, Art Fletcher, Andre Beltre. Beltre’s batting numbers makes one take notice—477 HR, lifetime OPS .819, 1707 RBI, and received votes 8x in the NL MVP voting.
…Yadier’s career batting stats are “OK” but not HOF’ish. He’s batted over .275 just 7 times in his 19 year career. His 173 career HR is approximately 9 HR/year. He’s been an All-Star just a notch above ½ of his career — 10x in his 19 year career.
….The HOF was opened, basically, to honor Babe Ruth. The HOF was designed to recognize the super, outstanding batters. Some were good fielders…in fact, most of them were good fielders..but fielding isn’t what got them into the HOF. Just like pitchers, having “good stuff”..it didn’t matter…. you MUST win games (or save games) usually with many strikeouts to make the HOF. Fielding alone doesn’t open the HOF doors.
…There have only been 10 catchers elected to the MLB HOF by the BBWA (Baseball Writers Association). Johnny Bench, Yogi Berra, Roy Campanella, Gary Carter, Mickey Cochran, Bill Dickey, Carlton Fisk, Gabby Hartnett, Mike Piazza, Ivan Rodriguez. Six others were named by the Veterans Committee (including Ted Simmons). 3 other catchers were named as players from the Negro Leagues.
When considering batting, does Molina match up to any of these catchers?
…Has/Is his defense made a difference? Yes—for many years. But, our impression that he’s the best @ Throwing out base stealers is not accurate. He’s led the NL just 4x in his 19 seasons in Runners Caught Stealing percentage. The last time that he won that award was in 2014. Recently named HOF’er Ivan Rodriguez held that honor 9x in his career.
…His pitch calling is now his strongest quality and he still does own a strong arm. But, during this season, other teams seem to be running more on him. He clearly has lost the agility to block pitches in the dirt (any pitch in the dirt is now called a WILD PITCH)-especially those just to right of him. His baserunning, while keen, is a detriment for trailing runners. He’s been a valuable member of the Cardinals but….he isn’t a Hall of Famer.
…Another catcher/1b becoming eligible in 2024 is Joe Maurer- Minnesota Twins (2004-2018). His Best Season of 2009 – .365/.444/.587 with 28 home runs, 96 RBIs, 76 walks, 1.031 OPS, 7.7 offensive WAR, 0.7 defensive WAR and an 8.4 fWAR has to make one take notice. In his Career, Maurer batted .306/.388/.439 with 143 home runs, 923 RBIs, 939 walks, 2,123 hits, .827 OPS, 124 OPS+, 53.0 offensive WAR, 3.1 defensive WAR and 52.5 fWAR. He was one of the five most valuable offensive players in baseball between 2006 and 2013, per FanGraphs. There will likely be quite the debate about Mauer when he becomes eligible for the Hall of Fame ballot in 2024.
….Listed below is Yadi being compared to a contemporary—Ivan Rodriguez, and 2 other hopefuls– Bill Freehan & Joe Maurer
HITS HR RBI RUNS Lifetime Avg. OPS All-Star Years Def War
Molina 2134 173 1006 767 .279 .731 10 years 27.0
Rodriguez 2844 311 1332 1354 .296 .798 14 years 29.6
Freehan 1591 200 758 706 .262 .752 11 years 12.0
Maurer 2123 143 923 1018 .306 .827 15 years 3.1
As you can see, Yadi doesn’t match Ivan Rodriguez in ANY category! Freehan & Maurer are probably behind Molina but comparing yourself to players who DON’T get in doesn’t make YOU a HOF’er.
… Should a player be considered a HOF’er if his team regularly makes the playoffs? During Belanger’s career 1965-82, Baltimore reached the World Series 5x & the playoffs 2 other times. Sooo.. he DID play a key spot on a big winning team. Those facts didn’t drive Belanger into the HOF. Further, in those ancient days, there wasn’t 3-4 rounds of playoffs like today. For many of them, the only post-season play was the World Series (after a Division championship in regular season) Being a good player on a continually good playoff team, doesn’t guarantee HOF status.
….Has Yadier Molina been a vital, good player for the Cardinals? Without a doubt—YES! Have the Cardinals been better with him than without him? Certainly! On the other hand, throughout his career, Yadi has been surrounded by a talented lineup that keeps the team in the national spot light. Makes me wonder if Yadi had been on Pittsburgh, KC, Detroit or numerous other teams that seldom attain national prominence, would we even be having this discussion?
….If voters were expecting a BIG last year for Yadier, they’re in real disappointment. Yadi arrived in spring training very late & was badly over weight. Once the season began, he has been away from the club for several days for “family” issues. This season isn’t bringing the curtain down on him in a brilliant light.
…I’m suspecting that many of you will have strong, different views about Yadier. I realize that I’ve treaded on “hollow ground” with this blog…sooo, it won’t surprise me if you disagree. It’d be super to hear from you. Put them directly on Facebook(BobRyan) or on my Web site— http://www.bobryansportsblog.com . Or….send them to me & I’ll post them for you on Facebook. As always Thanks for the time & the read! Have a super week! Bob

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