MIAMI – For all that is now quantifiable in baseball, there are still some things that cannot be measured. The effect of St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina on a pitching staff is one of them.
‘Now that I get to watch him a little bit, he’s the best,” said former major-league first baseman Carlos Delgado, Team Puerto Rico’s hitting coach in the World Baseball Classic.
“He’ll go to a pitcher and tell him, ‘Make a pitch. I’ll block it. It’s on me.’ He’ll take that responsibility,” Delgado said. “When you’ve got a younger guy on the mound, and he’s a little hesitant about bouncing a breaking ball to put a hitter away, and you’ve got the best catcher in the game that goes to the mound and says, ‘Finish your pitch. Don’t worry about it. I’ll do it. I’ll block it.’ . . . it gives pitchers that confidence that they can finish their pitches.
“They don’t even have to think. Throw what he puts down. Trust him. It takes a lot of weight off them.”