Like I’ve done for the last few years, I’m working through my Cardinals projections for the upcoming season. The process this year is trickier; normally I take a 3 year average of the players stats for a portion of the projections, but this past season saw the 60 game season, so there was a little extra math.
My projections take into account the already mentioned 3 year average and similar players. On Baseball Reference, they list comparable players by career and by age; I factor in what those players did at the same age as the player I’m projecting. Again, if the comp was from 2020, I had to do a little math to equal it out to a 162 game season.
Next up is Yadier Molina.
Comps: A.J. Pierzynski, Benito Santiago, Sherm Lollar, Ernie Lombardi, Terry Steinbach*, Gabby Hartnett, Ramon Hernandez*, Tony Pena, Frank White, Brandon Phillips*, Bob Boone, Jason Kendall*, Bill Freehan*, Orlando Cabrera*.
* Did not play in age 38 season.
Yadi is in rare company here. His comps didn’t do too much for his games played; of the 8 that played their age 38 season, only 4 played over 100 games, and only 2 were at 135 or higher (and 1 of those was White, who didn’t catch). That should be expected at this age for catchers; we’ve seen Yadi’s games play decrease over the last few years. They also didn’t do much for offense; many of the players were backups by this age. I’m expecting that Yadi will play more than the average comparable.
I really think his numbers are pretty solid here. He’s never been an elite hitter, and the little offense he showed is starting to regress. A .260 defensive catcher with 10 homers is better then a lot of teams will have. I could see the WAR a little bit higher (1.5-1.6) due to his defense.
The playing time is the big thing. If he were to start 109 games, that leaves 53 games for Andrew Knizner (or some combination with Ali Sanchez and/or Tyler Heineman). It’s a step up for Knizner at the MLB level, but is it enough for him to take a step forward? I’m worried it’s not and we’ll see him stagnate.
How do these projections match up to Fangraphs?
Most of the projections are pretty close. Mine have a little stronger offensive profile overall; there might be a stat here or there higher, but overall, I’m more optimistic.