After his final at-bat on April 10, during the St. Louis Cardinals game in Atlanta, I tweeted this:
“Lazy defense by Braves gives Yadier Molina a double. It is his 1st extra-base hit since last Sept 7, 90 PAs incl. NLDS and spring training.”
Obviously, I was expressing concern about the strength of the left thumb of St. Louis’ catcher, operated on twice during the off-season. The 33-year-old seemed to rush back this spring, to the point he was not allowed to swing the bat in his first handful of Grapefruit League games.
10 days later, I no longer have any concern about Molina’s extra-base prowess. In fact, the situation is just the opposite. His first double of the season may have been fluky, but several of his hits in the current Chicago Cubs series have been knocked off the padded outfield walls of Busch Stadium.
Since April 10 – including Wednesday afternoon when Molina doubled against Cubs starter Kyle Hendricks – he has been hitting the ball extremely well. Specifically, in his last 33 plate appearances, the right-handed hitter has collected five doubles and an amazing occurrence Tuesday night, his sixth career triple (in 5,629 plate appearances to that point). Molina also added nine singles and three walks during his hot stretch.
In the process, Molina improved his season batting line from:
On April 10: .200/.273/.200/.473
to its current (through Wednesday’s rain delay)
April 20: .333/.390/.463/.853
If it could be sustained over an entire season – which would be unfair to expect – Molina’s .463 SLG would be his most powerful season in his 13th year in the Majors. And he has yet to go deep in 2016.
Hats off to Molina for impressive improvement this month!
Follow me on Twitter.
Latest posts by Brian Walton (see all)
- Cardinals Minor League Spring Training Notebook: 03/25/17 - March 25, 2017
- Cardinals Minor League Spring Training Notebook: 03/24/17 - March 24, 2017
- Cardinals Minor League Spring Training Notebook: 03/17/17 - March 17, 2017