Yadier Molina
Yadier Molina
36-Year-Old CatcherC
St. Louis Cardinals
2019 Fantasy Outlook
League-wide power was down in 2018 from 2017, but Molina did not get that memo as he upped his home-run total by two despite 40 fewer plate appearances. The 38 homers Molina has hit over the past two seasons are seven more than he hit over the previous four seasons. Say what you will about launch angle, but Molina turned a 9% average launch angle in 2016 into a 15% average over the past two years to the betterment of his hard contact and home-run totals. Beggars cannot be choosers, especially when it comes to catcher, but it would be nice if Molina reached base more frequently and if his numbers were not so dependent upon his ability to hit the long ball. His batting average has decreased in each of the past two seasons as he gets closer to 40, but that's nitpicking at this point. He has two more years on his latest contract and should continue to compile the stats with a large chunk of playing time. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a three-year, $60 million contract extension with the Cardinals in April of 2017. Contract runs through the 2020 season.
Will take it slow in spring
CSt. Louis Cardinals
January 21, 2019
Molina (knee) said he expects to play his first spring training games in mid-March, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
Molina is still working his way back from an offseason knee procedure that he underwent in December. While the veteran backstop noted that his balky knee will likely keep him from catching bullpens early in camp, he's hoping to be cleared to catch at the beginning of March, which would put him on track to be ready for Opening Day. Molina's status will obviously be worth monitoring as the season draws closer. Across 123 games in 2018, the backstop hit .261/.314/.436 with 20 homers and 74 RBI.
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Batting Stats
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Left/Right Batting Splits
Since 2016
Since 2016vs Left .806 391 45 15 50 2 .281 .332 .474
Since 2016vs Right .750 1236 126 31 164 14 .282 .329 .421
2018vs Left .801 122 14 5 21 0 .268 .328 .473
2018vs Right .733 381 41 15 53 4 .259 .310 .424
2017vs Left .850 120 17 7 20 1 .266 .308 .541
2017vs Right .724 423 43 11 62 8 .276 .313 .411
2016vs Left .776 149 14 3 9 1 .304 .356 .420
2016vs Right .790 432 42 5 49 2 .308 .361 .429
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Home/Away Batting Splits
Since 2016
OPS on Road
OPS on Road
OPS on Road
OPS on Road
Since 2016Home .689 781 71 14 94 9 .266 .307 .382
Since 2016Away .833 846 100 32 120 7 .296 .350 .482
2018Home .589 239 19 3 23 1 .228 .268 .321
2018Away .901 264 36 17 51 3 .294 .356 .545
2017Home .734 261 27 7 45 5 .278 .310 .423
2017Away .767 282 33 11 37 4 .269 .313 .454
2016Home .734 281 25 4 26 3 .288 .338 .396
2016Away .836 300 31 4 32 0 .325 .380 .456
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Stat Review
How does Yadier Molina compare to other hitters?
This section compares his stats with all batting seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 400 plate appearances). The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Catchers can often surprise us in their later years. Carlton Fisk stole 17 bases as a catcher at age 34, and did it again at age 37. A.J. Pierzynski hit .300 in a full season at age 38, a year after we thought he was done. In 2017, Molina fell one shy of hitting as many homers as he had in the entirety of 2015-2017. Molina joined the launch angle parade and turned around a four-year skid of beating the ball into the ground and even threw in nine steals from the catcher position for added fun. We don't get too many five-category contributors from that position, which is what makes Molina a coveted player even at this advanced age. He has not shown any signs of decline despite the excessive workload and the demands on his position. Bet on the power backsliding a bit, but don't bet on him slowing down too much offensively as this is a very safe skill set.
Coming off two consecutive seasons that saw his batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage fall, Molina's start to the season seemed to confirm the fear that the former All-Star's tank was starting to run on empty. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, Molina's bat caught fire as he proceeded to hit .365/.398/.529 following the All-Star break. When all was said and done, he'd played a career-high 147 games and owned a .307/.360/.427 line. Such a resurgent season raises the question, just how much does Molina, who turns 35 in July, have left to offer? It's no secret that Molina is at the latter end of his career, and that he's played over 110 games at an incredibly demanding position every season since 2004 doesn't help his case for longevity. The catcher pool is top-heavy, giving Molina an opportunity to finish as a top-10 or top-15 backstop again.
While Molina posted 450-plus at-bats for the sixth time in seven seasons, he also saw his numbers dip for the second consecutive year. Molina hit .270/.310/.350 in 2015 across 488 at-bats, with the .310 OBP mark being his lowest in nine years, and the AVG and SLG haven't been that low since 2010. Thanks to his non-fantasy intangibles like calling games, defense and holding runners, he'll likely be a safe bet for at-bats for fantasy owners but they shouldn't be expecting too much in those at-bats. It's not out of the question that he could have a huge bounce back season and post something close to the .313/.361/.481 slash line he posted from 2011-2013, but it's far more likely we see a much smaller one and we should be prepared for the possibility that his numbers dip even lower in 2016.
Having been arguably the most reliable catcher over the last near-decade, it was only a matter of time before injuries caught up with Molina. Sure enough, he was limited to just 110 games in 2014 largely due to a thumb injury, his lowest number since his rookie year in 2004. Molina still managed decent numbers, posting a .282/.337/.420 line, but his extremely-low flyball rate of 26.6% (over six percent off his career rate) led to a dip in his power numbers with Molina collecting an XBH in just 6.9% of his at-bats, far below the 10.5% rate he had over his prior two seasons. While he may not be quite the player he has been, he should be fully healthy and rested heading into 2015 and is a very good bet to be a top-five catcher again on an improved Cardinals team.
Molina continued on as one of the best catchers in baseball in 2013 hitting .319 thanks to a somewhat high .338 BABIP (he posted marks of .311 and .316 during the previous two campaigns), but nothing to indicate an overwhelming drop in average is coming. He posted the lowest walk rate of his career at 5.5% and it looks like his power may be fading slightly as his HR/FB rate and ISO dropped. Molina struggled with some nagging injuries during the second half and that likely contributed to those numbers falling. Molina won his sixth straight Gold Glove and should still be a top-five fantasy catcher again heading into 2014, even if manager Mike Matheny elects to give his workhorse more consistent rest throughout the season.
Molina has been the best defensive catcher in the league for years, but he's long past the time when the Cardinals - and fantasy owners - had to merely tolerate his offensive stats. He's now a legitimate fantasy superstar at a shallow position, establishing career highs in nearly every significant offensive category in 2012. Despite a few nicks and bruises in 2012, Molina has been remarkably durable, although heavy workloads behind the plate could become more of an issue as he moves into his 30s. Coming off of a season where he slugged a career-high .501, Molina looks poised to deliver another campaign on par with the league's elite backstops.
Molina notched career-highs in many offensive categories, with his 14 home runs nearly doubling the eight home runs he hit way back in 2005. He cracked .300 for the second time in four years, and his .814 OPS was easily his best figure ever. He's always been a defense-first catcher (he won his fourth Gold Glove in a row last year), but if he can repeat his 2011 offensive numbers, he'll be worth a nice amount again this year.
Although Molina won another well-deserved Gold Glove in 2010, his offense, which had been steadily improving the last few years, took a step back. His slash numbers were his lowest since 2006, and he struck out a career-high 51 times. On the other hand, he also drove in a career-high 62 runs and stole eight bases, so given the lack of options, he's still one of the best fantasy catchers in the National League. He's in line to start about 130 games behind the plate again in 2011.
Molina reached career highs in runs, stolen bases, walks, on-base percentage, and OPS in 2009. It was a far cry from three years ago, when it looked like he couldn't hack it as a major league hitter. Now, in addition to being the best defensive catcher in the game, he has a few offensive skills that will help fantasy teams as well. He should be able to hold off Bryan Anderson for a few more years.
Molina keeps getting better and better. He's already the best defensive catcher in the league, but after hitting .304 with 56 RBI - both career bests - he's starting to show plenty of fantasy relevance as well. He's still just 25, so even though Bryan Anderson should be up in the bigs soon, Molina isn't going anywhere. This could be the year he finally makes the All-Star team.
Lost in an injury-plagued season were improvements across the board for Molina. He hit .275/.340/.368 last year, all career highs. Considering these numbers came on the heels of a miserable .216 campaign in 2006, the Cardinals are happy that Molina's offense is starting to catch up with his outstanding defense. Knee surgery ended his season prematurely, but Molina will be ready to serve as the Cards' top backstop again in 2008.
Molina was one of the worst hitters in the National League in 2006, hitting .216 and scoring only 29 runs in 129 games. He’s obviously in the lineup for his defense, but when your own pitchers show more patience and skill with the stick, you know you have a problem. There are some signs that he’s not all that bad—he’s tough to strike out and he has a little bit of doubles power that could turn into home runs eventually. Ten home runs and a .250 batting average in 2007 wouldn’t be a huge surprise, but don’t expect it. A $1 catcher with 200 at-bats could end up being more valuable than the full-time Molina.
Molina is a future gold-glover and showed flashes offensively in his first year as the Cardinals backstop. He could develop some power when he matures as a hitter, although the eight homers in 2005 aren't bad after missing six weeks with a fractured hand. You could do worse than taking a flyer on him.
Molina wows with his arm and defense and teases with his bat. He's been major-league ready behind the mask for a couple of years but he's never shown very much with a bat in his hands. Cardinals coaches think he could develop some power and his 13/20 BB/K ratio shows a hitter patient enough to learn how to hit. The Cardinals will likely turn full-time duties over to him after the departure of Mike Matheny. However, Molina may need some more time in the minors to hone his offensive skills.
His stat lines look terrible, but there was some improvement during 2003, and Molina turned 21 at midseason, making him very young for the Southern League. Like his brothers, he gets raves for his work behind the plate. Unlike them, he might someday be an asset at the plate. No fantasy value until 2005, maybe later.
More Fantasy News
Set for minor procedure
CSt. Louis Cardinals
December 8, 2018
Molina will undergo a minor knee procedure sometime this upcoming week, Brian Stull of St. Louis Baseball Weekly reports.
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Held out Sunday
CSt. Louis Cardinals
September 30, 2018
Molina is not in the lineup Sunday against the Cubs.
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Clubs three-run home run
CSt. Louis Cardinals
September 25, 2018
Molina went 1-for-4 with a three-run home run in Tuesday's 12-4 loss to the Brewers.
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Slugs 19th homer
CSt. Louis Cardinals
September 23, 2018
Molina went 1-for-4 with a two-run home run in an extra-inning win over the Giants on Saturday.
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Three more RBI in win
CSt. Louis Cardinals
September 18, 2018
Molina went 1-for-4 with a two-run home run in a win over the Braves on Monday. He was also hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
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