With the All-Star game fast approaching, here are three National League catchers who are deserving of a spot in the mid-Summer Classic.
Brian McCann, Atlanta Braves: McCann, 25, and only in his fourth full season as the Braves’ every-day catcher has already established himself as a perennial All-Star. Through 46 games McCann, a career.300 hitter, is hitting a robust .331, best among National League catchers. McCann started the year slowly and missed some time due to eye trouble, but has since heated up considerably. McCann is also eclipsing his contemporaries in on-base percentage with a .424 clip. Though he has more than 75 fewer at-bats than the leading NL-catcher in that category, Bengie Molina, McCann’s 26 RBI are third-best behind only Molina and Houston’s Ivan Rodriguez. Furthermore, his 80 total bases have only been bested by Bengie Molina. Finally, McCann has thrown out a respectable 33% of runners who have attempted to steal on him. From an offensive stand-point, Brian McCann is heads-and-shoulders ahead of his nearest competition.
Bengie Molina, San Francisco Giants: Molina is one of the most important cogs in San Francisco’s anemic offense. He has produced, however, and leads NL-catchers in several important offensive categories, including hits (60), home runs (10), RBI (39), total bases (103), and (among eligible catchers) slugging percentage (.454). Molina is tied for the league-lead in doubles (11) with Pittsburgh’s Jason Jaramillo and is second in runs scored with 24. Like most catchers, Molina displays no speed and his offensive game is one-dimensional. However, this problem is exacerbated by the fact that he takes few pitches and rarely draws any walks, recording just 2 through June 17th. As a result, Molina has the lowest on-base percentage of any eligible catcher. Though Molina is certainly deserving of a spot on the All-Star team, his numbers are not nearly as impressive as McCann’s.
Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals: Like his brother Bengie, Yadier is among the league leaders among catchers in most offensive categories, where he is third in runs scored (22), second in hits (53), third in total bases (73), second in stolen bases (4), while posting a very respectable .270 batting average. Furthermore, his .348 on-base percentage is reflective of his 22 walks, a statistic his brother Bengie is woefully deficient in. Finally, last year’s Gold Glove winner has thrown out an outstanding 45% percent of runners attempting to steal, and has recorded only 1 error so far this season. As an all-around catcher, Yadier Molina must be included on the National League All-Star team.
Statistical Sources: http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/m/molinya01.shtml