When Buster Posey was named Most Valuable Player in 2012, he became the first National League catcher to win the award since Johnny Bench of the Cincinnati Reds in 1972.
Since 1932, only 16 catchers have been named their league's MVP—eight in the NL and eight in the American League. That's the same number of players who've won the distinguished Triple Crown award.
Hall of Fame catchers Yogi Berra and Roy Campanella were three-time MVP award winners for the New York Yankees and Brooklyn Dodgers, respectively. Incredibly, Berra and Campanella swept league MVP honors in 1951 and 1955.
Since that magical '55 season, Bench and Posey are the only catchers to have been named NL MVP.
Long story short, catcher is not a prized position when it comes to MVP selection.
Yet the voters may be left with no other choice in 2013. And it's not Posey who's primed for another MVP run, but rather Yadier Molina of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Long regarded as the premier defensive catcher in baseball, Molina has emerged in 2013 as an impact bat, hitting in the No. 2 spot of the Cardinals lineup.
How good has Molina been in the first half of the season? See how he stacks up statistically against his counterparts among MLB catchers entering the month of July:
- 1st in Hits (100)
- 1st in Doubles (26)
- 1st in Batting Average (.345)*
- 2nd in RBIs (44)
- 2nd in Slugging Percentage (.497)
* leads all National League hitters
Take into account Molina's contributions for the Cards, who currently hold the second-best record in baseball, and it's no wonder Yadi is the midseason favorite to win the NL MVP.
But you don't have to take our word for it. Hear what other observers around the league are saying about Yadi for MVP:
"He started 133 games last year—that points to his durability and the importance [Cardinals manager Mike] Matheny places on having Molina behind the plate. … He is the heart and soul of the best team in baseball." —ESPN's Dave Schoenfield ("Does Yadier Molina have MVP Hopes?")
"Molina gets the slight edge [over Posey] because of his advantage on defense and his superior clutch hitting for one of the best teams in the league." —SI's Tom Verducci ("Game's youth movement apparent in my picks for Midseason Awards")
Reds 1B Joey Votto was the first-round selection for Team Yadi in the Rawlings "Defenders of the Nine" fantasy baseball league, yet Molina and Votto are nose-to-nose considering their offensive outputs over the first half of the season.
Get the scoop on the latest news and updates from the Defenders of the Nine league.
- Stant'n Like His Dad: 63
- Team Tulo: 49.5
- Big Al's Crew:49
- The Beltre Belters: 46
- Big Al's Crew:46.5 The Verlander Band: 43.5
- The Jay-Hey Kids: 42.5
- Manny's Mashers: 39
- Buster's Big Fly Co.:36.5
- Team Yadi: 36
Runs: Chris Davis (Stant'n Like His Dad), 64
Home Runs: Chris Davis, 31
RBI: Chris Davis, 80
Stolen Bases: Jacoby Ellsbury (Manny's Mashers), 32
Batting Average: Yadier Molina (Team Yadi), .345
Wins: Max Scherzer (The Beltre Belters), 12
Strikeouts: Max Scherzer, 131
ERA: Cliff Lee (Big Al's Crew), 2.59
WHIP: Max Scherzer, 0.90
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock