ST. LOUIS -- Yadier Molina is guaranteed a top 5 finish in the National League Most Valuable Award race. The question now is how close to the top will the Cardinals catcher land?
The Baseball Writers' Association of America will hand out a National League and American League winner for each of its four awards next week -- Rookie of the Year, Manager of the Year, Cy Young and MVP -- and they provided a tease on Wednesday by unveiling finalists for each honor.
The only St. Louis representative among the finalists is Molina, who joins Milwaukee's Ryan Braun, San Diego's Chase Headley, Pittsburgh's Andrew McCutchen and San Francisco's Buster Posey in the running for NL MVP.
Posey is considered by most to be the favorite, but that should not take away from the career year Molina had in 2012. Already widely considered the league's best defensive catcher, Molina had a standout year on offense, too.
He led the Cardinals with a .315 batting average and had a career-best 22 homers and 76 RBIs. Molina also hit 28 doubles and swiped 12 bases in 15 attempts. He has already won a Gold Glove Award this fall and was an All-Star for the fourth straight year.
Molina has been named on MVP ballots before, but he has never finished higher than 21st.
The voting for BBWAA honors concluded prior to the postseason. A total of 32 ballots were cast by BBWAA writers, and each listed 10 players. A point system is then used to determine the winners.
Though Kyle Lohse likely received votes for the NL Cy Young Award, he did not garner enough to be included among the three finalists who were announced in that category -- New York's R.A. Dickey, Washington's Gio Gonzalez and Los Angeles' Clayton Kershaw. The winner of the NL and AL Cy Young Awards will be announced on Nov. 14.
Lohse, who recently declared free agency, finished with an NL-best .842 winning percentage. He ranked in the top five among NL starters in ERA (2.86) and WHIP (1.09). His 211 innings pitched tied for seventh-best in the league.
The NL and AL Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award winners will be named on Monday. The two Manager of the Year Awards will be handed out Tuesday. All announcements will be made at 5 p.m. CT on MLB Network.