In a discussion about the greatest catchers of all time, there are at least two contemporary players who deserve to be part of the discussion. Both Buster Posey and Yadier Molina are not only among the best catchers of their generation but among the best MLB catchers ever. Both have had standout careers and have stayed with one team throughout their entire career. But if you could only choose one, which one would it be? Let’s take a closer look at the Posey vs Molina debate.
While Molina has the benefit of playing a few more years than Posey, the latter has more impressive career stats offensively.
Heading into 2021, both have had five seasons in which they hit over .300. But Posey has had fewer seasons in which to do that. He also has a career average that’s a shade over .300. Of course, nobody should knock Molina’s .281 career average. However, Posey has been a better contact hitter and hit for more power than Molina, as the San Francisco catcher has a career OPS that’s nearly 100 points higher than the St. Louis catcher.
Defensively, there is nothing wrong with what Posey brings to the table. He’s always been a great receiver who knows how to call a game and manage a pitching staff.
However, even he pails in comparison to Molina in that regard. Even late in his career, Molina is the master of managing a pitching staff and throwing out base runners.
The nine Gold Gloves he’s won speak for themselves. Keep in mind he won eight in a row from 2008 to 2015, beating out Posey most of those years. Meanwhile, Posey has just one Gold Glove, falling short against Molina time after time.
Molina began the 2021 season at age 38 and will be 39 before it’s over.
The fact that he’s still the primary catcher for his team says everything about his longevity. From 2005 to 2019, Molina started over 100 games behind the plate. Posey, to his credit, has lasted over a decade as a big league catcher.
But he’s also missed time due to injury, sat out the 2020 season, and been used as a DH whenever possible.
In contrast, Molina has served as the DH just four times in his career, rarely getting a day off from working behind the plate.
If you don’t count Molina’s huge edge in the Gold Glove department, Posey has an advantage in post-season awards.
He won Rookie of the Year in 2010, MVP in 2012, Comeback Player of the Year in 2012, and has four Silver Slugger Awards. Molina has just one Silver Slugger Award and also trails Posey in World Series wins 3-2.
However, Molina has nine all-star selections compared to Posey’s six, albeit in more years in the league.
Posey vs Molina: The Verdict
Frankly, it’s impossible to go wrong with either one of these catchers.
If you had to pick one, the question is whether Posey’s superior offense is enough to offset Molina’s defensive prowess.
However, Molina’s longevity and the fact that he’s an elite defensive catcher who’s no slouch offensively gives him a slight advantage over Posey overall.
All things considered, Molina has had a slightly better career.