As you likely know by now, Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates was the overwhelming winner in the National League Most Valuable Player voting, capturing 28 of the 30 first place votes. Yadier Molina received the other two first place votes — cast by Derrick Goold and Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch — yet finished in third place with 219 total points. Paul Goldschmidt of the Arizona Diamondbacks was second with 242 points. Matt Carpenter finished fourth with 194 points.
Frankly, I figured McCutchen would win — though I did think Yadi would finish second. Because for as great as Yadi is and as invaluable as he was to the Cardinals’ success in 2013 (and 2012, and 2011, and …) it seems to me every single thing he does is just expected from him now.
All the unquantifiable “intangibles” being touted as reasons why Yadi is without a doubt most valuable are all very true. Defensively, he is without peer. He strikes fear in opposing baserunners so that they often don’t even attempt to steal second. He is the heart and soul and leader of the team, taking charge of the pitching staff — no matter who comprises it, from veterans to rookies — and provides whatever type of counsel and calming is needed during the heat of a game. Plus he’s improved his batting average, number of hits and RBI every year since 2010 and even led the National League in hitting for a stretch this season.
He exemplifies this quote from Aristotle: “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
Excellence and Yadier Molina? Absolutely you’d use that word to describe him. It’s just Yadi being Yadi.