January 31, 2014

Yadier Molina of the #Cardinals — Hall of Famer?

If ESPN can do wrong-headed fluffery on the Cooperstown chances for the likes of Lance Berkman, a full year ago (no, David Schoenfield, he was not "on the bubble" and you didn't allow for decline, even short of career-ending injury) and only halfway backtrack now, let me tackle Yadier Molina's case for the Hall at the young age of 30.

 Yadi currently has 26.8 WAR, and a seven-year best (not necessarily consecutive) of 25.3 WAR.

Now, let's project out, and see where that puts him in stead with other catchers on Jay Jaffe's JAWS system.

Let me do some easy numbers. Let's say Yadi puts up two 5-WAR years, two 4-WAR years, then two 3-WAR years in the next six. (He's playing somewhere, hopefully still in St. Louis, after his current Cardinals contract is done.)

That's through his age 36 year. He's now at 50.8 WAR. Let's give him three more years, at a total of 3.2 WAR.

Is this reasonable? Given his 6.9 and 5.7 WAR the last two years, I say yes. Manager Mike Matheny is also going to learn to spot him a few more days off than in the p ast, which will keep him fresher, and p aradoxically, benefit him as a catcher. I don't expect any real defensive decline for four years, or much offensive for the next two, then a gradual slide after that. So, I'll stand behind this.

That's 54 career WAR. And 33.3 WAR for his seven-year best. Averages are 52.4 and 33.8 for catchers currently in the Hall, though Pudge Rodriguez and Mike Piazza, assuming they get in, will raise that a bit. The numbers I gave you are in the same range as HOFers Mickey Cochrane and Bill Dickey, so this is a reasonable guesstimate, especially if you add in that he is currently tied for third in career zone runs among catchers. He's tied with Bob Boone, whom he has started besting offensively. Ahead of that? Rodriguez and Jim Sundberg. He may catch Rodriguez before retirement; he'll at least get close, barring serious injury.

Meanwhile, that projects him to move past Ted Simmons and well past Tim McCarver as the Cards' best all-time catcher, especially if he spends his full career in Cardinal red, or any period of time past 2017 and his current contract's expiration.

So, David Schoefield? Or similar? Some Cardinals love? Blog about Yadi's HOF chances.

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