Originally posted on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 1/11/13
We all know Yadier Molina for his defense behind the plate, but that never really helped out your fantasy team. His best fantasy quality up until 2011 was that he was a catcher you could rely on to get you 450 at-bats, hit for a decent batting average and surprisingly swipe some bases. However in his last two seasons, he has really started to contribute offensively by hitting .310 with a combined 120 R, 36 HR, 141 RBI and 16 SB. Not too shabby at a position where it’s extremely difficult to find offense. In addition to these offensive numbers, Molina rarely strikes out (career 8.7 K%) and draws an average amount of walks (career 7.3 BB%). He has also decreased the amount of ground balls that he hits, which could explain the uptick in power. From 2004-2010, Molina posted a 47.9 GB%, but that number has dipped to just 42.4% in the last two years. The numbers are suggesting that he’s transforming into a different type of hitter and even at a catcher’s 30 years old (that’s 34 in human years) he should be a safe bet to continue the power trend.  At a Glance: Strengths: BA, OBP Neutral: R, HR, RBI, SB, SLG, OPS Weaknesses: None Player Comparisons: Best-case scenario: Victor Martinez (DET) without R/RBI Likely scenario: Salvador Perez (KC), Miguel Montero (ARI), Carlos Ruiz (PHI) Worst-case scenario: Jonathan Lucroy (MIL) Yadier Molina 2013 Fantasy Projection We have Molina closer to his 2011 season than his career-best 2012 numbers, but that’s not a bad thing at all. Molina seems to be driving the ball with more authority now that he’s traded some ground balls for liners and fly balls. In fact, Molina’s 24.8 LD% was by far his career best and with the increase in fly balls it’s not surprise that he also posted a career-high in HR/FB (13.2%). He may be a bit worn down, having logged 8,830 innings behind the plate in his career, but he sure didn’t show any signs of slowing down last year. He posted career highs in every standard 5×5 category including 12 stolen bases, which is downright nasty for a catcher. I don’t see him slowing down too much in 2013 so draft with confidence.
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