Yadier Molina strengthened his case for the Hall of Fame Sunday night when he was announced as the winner of the Rawlings Gold Glove Award for catcher in the National League. Kolten Wong was also a finalist at second base, but he came up short behind DJ LeMahieu.
The Rawlings Gold Glove Award winners are decided by two factors: twenty-five percent of the decision is made by a sabermetric component put together by the Society for American Baseball Research and the other seventy-five percent of the vote comes from managers and coaches around the league.
Molina Wins Rawlings Gold Glove Award
Yadi had a very good year behind the plate, especially when compared to the other catchers around the league. He caught far more innings than the other two finalists, at 1017.2, and had a .998 fielding percentage. The Redbirds’ backstop didn’t make an error from July 12th through the end of the season.
In Yadi’s 121 games behind the plate, he only made two errors, had 966 put outs, 42 assists, started four double plays and turned two more. He also only had four passed balls over all those innings.
Clearly, a big part of being a good defensive catcher is having the ability to stop the running game. Most times that is measured solely by caught stealing percentage, but with Yadi, it’s a little different. His presence alone is enough to shut down most team’s running games. There were only 39 attempted steals against the Cardinals this season when Molina was behind the plate and he cut down 12 of them.
By far the most impressive things about Molina, though, are his intangibles. That’s where he garners a lot of respect and votes from the opposing coaches. Yadi handles a pitching staff like no other catcher in the game. In 2018, he guided a young pitching staff led by Miles Mikolas, who hadn’t thrown a pitch in the MLB since 2014, to a 3.52 ERA. That was the fifth lowest starting rotation ERA in baseball this season, and third best on the Senior Circuit.
Cementing Yadi’s Hall of Fame Case
Molina has now won nine Gold Gloves over his fifteen year career. He’s just the third catcher ever to win at least nine. Ivan Rodriguez won 13 and Johnny Bench won 10. Both of those players are in Cooperstown.
Yadi’s Hall of Fame case goes beyond the Gold Glove Awards, though. He’s also been an All-Star nine times, won four Platinum Gloves, one Roberto Clemente Award, also this season and has one Silver Slugger Award. On top of all that, he’s helped win two World Championships and four National League Pennants.
Wong Finishes Runner Up
The Cardinals other Gold Glove finalist was Kolten Wong, at second base. Wong had a very compelling case to win the award, but finished behind DJ LeMahieu of the Rockies.
Nonetheless, Kolten had a very impressive season. Over 896.2 innings at second base, he had 19 defensive runs saved, a 13.4 UZR and a 17.6 UZR 150. He also had 306 assists, started 24 double plays, turned 47 more and had a fielding percentage of .981, which may be what cost him in the end. He did make nine errors despite making 16 percent of plays with a remote chance, 42.9 percent when unlikely and 97 percent of the routine plays.
This being just his sixth year in the big leagues, Wong should have plenty of opportunities in the future to win the Rawlings Gold Glove Award. He has gradually improved every year, and will hopefully continue that trend as he moves forward with St. Louis.
Vote Yadi For The Platinum Glove Award
By winning the Gold Glove, Yadi became a candidate to win his fifth career Rawlings Platinum Glove Award. The Platinum Glove Award is given to the best of the best defenders in each league.
Every Gold Glove recipient qualifies for the Platinum Glove. There will be one winner in each league, as voted on by the fans through Rawlings.com. This is where Yadi needs your help.
You can click here to vote for who you think should win in the American League, and for Yadi in the National League. You’re allowed to vote once a day until November 7th, and by voting you will be entered to win a $1,000 Rawlings.com promo card.
Featured Image by Billy Hurst of USA Today Sports
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