Best Cardinals Player - 2008
If Albert Pujols is the heart and soul of the Cardinals, then Yadier Molina is the guts, a player whose importance you might not consider — until, from his knees, he throws out the tying run diving back into first base, or until you see his calming, but no-BS attitude when talking to one of the many pitchers with whom he has worked this season. Molina's confidence as a field general is remarkable when you consider he is only 26 years old, an age when most ballplayers are just about to enter their prime. Even if you add a couple of years to his baseball age to account for the wear and tear of being an everyday catcher, Molina still has many great years ahead of him. At this writing, his batting average stands at .305 (complete slash line, for all you stat buffs: .305/.349/.393). While the vast majority of his hits are singles, he remains a fine complement to the lineup's bashers. Besides, Molina is already guaranteed a place in Cardinals history thanks to a single home run: his blast, in the rain, to win Game 7 of the 2006 National League Championship Series against the New York Mets at Shea Stadium.