The best defensive players in baseball

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Apr 25, 2014; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Trevor Rosenthal (26) celebrates with catcher Yadier Molina (4) after defeating the Pittsburgh Pirates 1-0 at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Catcher: Yadier Molina, St Louis Cardinals

Not only has Molina won six straight Rawlings Gold Gloves at catcher, he also won the GIBBY award for best overall defensive player of the year in 2012 and 2013. If the awards aren’t enough to persuade you, have a look at the numbers.

In 2013 he made 976 putouts and contributed 63 assists. In 1115 innings behind the plate, he committed only four errors despite catching a plethora of young and untested rookies.

From behind the plate, Molina even made six “remote” plays, or plays in which the player only has a 1-10% chance of making. According to his RRP, he saved his team six runs by stopping balls in the dirt. Molina prevents so many runs due to his amazing defense, his superb bat is almost irrelevant.

He caught a whopping 20 players stealing and allowed only three passed balls. Another thing to consider, and something metrics can’t cover, is how many times did Molina prevent a stolen base by simply being behind the plate? Even the best runners know they have to be careful when Molina is catching.

Contenders: Buster Posey

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Tags: MLB Best Defensive Players

  • Patrick Green

    Good article, Tim. I would’ve put Pedroia over Cano and at least give Shane Victorino an honorable mention.

    • Timmy Kennedy

      Thanks! I thank metrically Pedroia is much better, but I just love watching Cano play.