The 2009 baseball season is getting underway as spring training starts for teams across the MLB. The St. Louis Cardinals are no different, and with excitement and renewed health among the team's themes going into the new season, there have been players in Florida for weeks.
The catching position is one of the most important in baseball, both as a signal caller and as a defensive staple. And luckily for the St. Louis Cardinals, they seem pretty well off at the backstop position.
Yadier Molina has long been one of the most underrated catchers in the National League. His cannon throwing arm has been known for years, but his pitching-calling is second to none, and his swinging stroke has improved greatly as he has gotten older.
Yadi hit .304 last year, good for third in the MLB among starting catchers, with seven homers and 56 RBIs in only 124 games. If he can stay healthy and continue to improve, there's a chance that he'll be the latest Molina to make an All-Star appearance.
Jason LaRue is not too shabby as a backup catcher. Although he clearly left his best days with the Reds, LaRue provides good leadership and hit better than his .213 average said. Pitching coach Dave Duncan also really liked his pitch-calling, something crucial for a La Russa-Duncan catcher.
The Cardinals are just fine at catcher. If something happens to Yadi or LaRue, there is also highly touted prospect Bryan Anderson, who hit Triple-A pitching at a .300 clip for most of the season in 2008. The depth is there, Molina is improving, and the coaching staff has the type of players that they want for the catching spot.