Molina Deserves to Start All-Star Game

Unless the deciding factor is which player’s organization does a better job generating votes, Buster Posey doesn’t deserve to start over Yadier Molina in this year’s All-Star Game.

As of Wednesday, Posey had 216,000 more votes than Molina in National League All-Star Game balloting. Yet Posey’s average is lower than Molina’s, he’s hit fewer home runs, has collected less RBI, and he has a lower on-base percentage as well.

And-oh-by-the-way, Posey’s defense isn’t nearly as good either.

Posey calls a nice game and doesn’t receive a lot of help from guys like Tim Lincecum (who often forgets or completely negates to hold runners) when it comes to throwing runners out. Much like Molina at the dish, Posey is still growing as a defender and will get better with experience.

But whereas Posey is merely a good defender, Molina is the best defensive catcher in the game.

This isn’t meant to be a slap at Posey, who is a terrific player in just his third year. Not once in Molina’s nine seasons has he hit 18 home runs. Posey did it as a rookie in just 406 at bats in 2010. At 25, Posey has yet to reach his prime and if you want to understand how much he means to the Giants organization, look at what happened to San Francisco last season.

Fresh off a World Series title in 2010 (a championship the club wouldn’t have won without Posey), the Giants scored just 570 runs (second worst in baseball) and finished eight games out of first place in the NL West. What was the main reason for the collapse? Posey missed four months of the season with a fractured fibula and torn ligaments in his ankle following a horrific collision at home plate with Marlins outfielder Scott Cousins.

But Posey’s injury situation only strengthens the argument that Molina should be behind the plate July 10 when the National League tries to once again secure home-field advantage at the World Series. Because of his leg, Posey either plays first base or rests every fifth day, and there’s growing sentiment that he won’t be able to last as a catcher for his entire career. Molina, on the other hand, is a catcher down to his core and has been so for nearly a decade.

Honestly, the National League would be fortunate to start Posey, Molina or Carlos Ruiz (who has been an absolute freak this year, albeit for a poor Philadelphia club) at this year’s Midsummer Classic. This is hardly a case of Posey not being deserving of an ASG appearance because any player that consistently hits .300 after not swinging a bat in a regular-season game for nearly 10 months is worthy of high recognition. (Let’s not forget that Posey also caught Matt Cain’s perfect game this season.)

But look at the numbers and, more importantly, watch the games. For as much as Posey has meant to the Giants this year (and Melky Cabrera has arguably meant more), Molina has been that and then some for the Cardinals. Molina has simply been the better all-around catcher this season and, marketing departments be damned, deserves to start in Kansas City next month.