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SI: Yadier Molina is the NL MVP

In the latest edition of Sports Illustrated, a panel of SI judges voted on who they think should win all of the MLB awards. Interestingly, they went with St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina for National League Most Valuable Player. Some may find this pick to be surprising considering the terrific seasons that Buster Posey (SF), Andrew McCutchen (PIT),and Ryan Braun (MIL) are having. However, after further review, I can completely see why they would pick Molina as the MVP.

Let’s dive in.

No Clear Favorite

In the American League, it seems clear that most of the votes will be going to either to Miguel Cabrera (DET - my pick) or Mike Trout (LAA). In the NL, this is not the case. As I alluded to above, I think that you could make really good cases for four different players. However, in my opinion, I think that the race is between Molina and Posey because of their position. It is much easier to find an outfielder with numbers like McCutchen and Braun as opposed to catchers with numbers like Molina and Posey. Also, though I do not always like this argument, it looks like the Pirates and Brewers will miss Postseason play, and that will diminish McCutchen’s and Braun’s hopes of winning the award. So, let’s look a little closer at Molina and Posey.

Offense

As you can see, Posey holds the edge over Molina is most of the important offensive statistical categories. Still, Posey hits third in his lineup and Molina usually hits 6th or 7th; so, some of the statistics are off due to that reality. Even taking that into consideration, it is still easy to see that Posey holds a slight advantage over Molina at the plate.

Advantage: Posey by a little

Defense

In this category, it is not even close. Posey is a decent defensive catcher, but Molina is poised to go down as one of the greatest defensive catchers in baseball history. Molina leads the league in caught stealing percentage, and very few non-elite runners even attempt to swipe 2nd with him behind the plate. Only one runner every 16 innings tries to steal on Molina, where one runner every eight innings runs on Posey.

Advantage: Molina by A LOT

Intangibles

Both men are big leaders on their teams, and their calm demeanors help set an example and inspire their clubs. Toughness is very hard to quantify, but I would say that in order to be a Major League catcher that you have to be both mentally and physically tough. Both Molina and Posey possess that toughness.

I think the difference comes when you look at how they work with their pitching staffs. Arguably, the Giants have the best rotation in the NL (if not the entire league). On paper, the Cardinals have an above average but not stellar staff. Molina has to work much harder with his staff than Posey does with his. Add that to the fact that Chris Carpenter has been out for almost the entire season and that the Cardinals’ legendary pitching coach Dave Duncan has been gone for the entire season and you seen even more how important and impressive Molina has been working with the 2012 staff.

Advantage: Molina by a little

Who SHOULD Win: Probably Molina

Who WILL Win: Probably Posey

Ultimately, I think that a vote cast for Molina or Posey is a smart one. The big question for voters is how they will weigh the three big aspects of a player’s performance (offense, defense and intangibles). If they are all weighted equally, then Molina will get the votes. However, most are aware that MVP voters will likely weigh offensive production above all else. If that is the case, then Posey will get the votes.

Regardless of who wins the 2012 NL MVP, baseball and its fans win because we are able to witness these great players perform in one of the most competitive eras in the game’s history.

Make sure to tweet @MLBFanCave and @KyleOKC using the hash tag #NLMVP and let us know who you think is the 2012 National League Most Valuable Player.

In the latest edition of Sports Illustrated, a panel of SI judges voted on who they think should win all of the MLB awards. Interestingly, they went with St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina for National League Most Valuable Player. Some may find this pick to be surprising considering the terrific seasons that Buster Posey (SF), Andrew McCutchen (PIT),and Ryan Braun (MIL) are having. However, after further review, I can completely see why they would pick Molina as the MVP.

Let’s dive in.

No Clear Favorite

In the American League, it seems clear that most of the votes will be going to either to Miguel Cabrera (DET - my pick) or Mike Trout (LAA). In the NL, this is not the case. As I alluded to above, I think that you could make really good cases for four different players. However, in my opinion, I think that the race is between Molina and Posey because of their position. It is much easier to find an outfielder with numbers like McCutchen and Braun as opposed to catchers with numbers like Molina and Posey. Also, though I do not always like this argument, it looks like the Pirates and Brewers will miss Postseason play, and that will diminish McCutchen’s and Braun’s hopes of winning the award. So, let’s look a little closer at Molina and Posey.

Offense

As you can see, Posey holds the edge over Molina is most of the important offensive statistical categories. Still, Posey hits third in his lineup and Molina usually hits 6th or 7th; so, some of the statistics are off due to that reality. Even taking that into consideration, it is still easy to see that Posey holds a slight advantage over Molina at the plate.

Advantage: Posey by a little

Defense

In this category, it is not even close. Posey is a decent defensive catcher, but Molina is poised to go down as one of the greatest defensive catchers in baseball history. Molina leads the league in caught stealing percentage, and very few non-elite runners even attempt to swipe 2nd with him behind the plate. Only one runner every 16 innings tries to steal on Molina, where one runner every eight innings runs on Posey.

Advantage: Molina by A LOT

Intangibles

Both men are big leaders on their teams, and their calm demeanors help set an example and inspire their clubs. Toughness is very hard to quantify, but I would say that in order to be a Major League catcher that you have to be both mentally and physically tough. Both Molina and Posey possess that toughness.

I think the difference comes when you look at how they work with their pitching staffs. Arguably, the Giants have the best rotation in the NL (if not the entire league). On paper, the Cardinals have an above average but not stellar staff. Molina has to work much harder with his staff than Posey does with his. Add that to the fact that Chris Carpenter has been out for almost the entire season and that the Cardinals’ legendary pitching coach Dave Duncan has been gone for the entire season and you seen even more how important and impressive Molina has been working with the 2012 staff.

Advantage: Molina by a little

Who SHOULD Win: Probably Molina

Who WILL Win: Probably Posey

Ultimately, I think that a vote cast for Molina or Posey is a smart one. The big question for voters is how they will weigh the three big aspects of a player’s performance (offense, defense and intangibles). If they are all weighted equally, then Molina will get the votes. However, most are aware that MVP voters will likely weigh offensive production above all else. If that is the case, then Posey will get the votes.

Regardless of who wins the 2012 NL MVP, baseball and its fans win because we are able to witness these great players perform in one of the most competitive eras in the game’s history.

Make sure to tweet @MLBFanCave and @KyleOKC using the hash tag #NLMVP and let us know who you think is the 2012 National League Most Valuable Player.