|Yadier Molina and Buster Posey are going where few catchers have gone before. (US Presswire)|
I break no news when I point out that Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina and Giants catcher Buster Posey are each having an outstanding season. Molina, besides soldiering on as the best defensive catcher on the planet, is batting .320/.378/.512 with a career-best 22 homers (and counting). He's doing this despite playing his home games in a park that's not too accommodating to right-handed power hitters.
As for Posey, despite last season's grievous leg injury, he ranks fifth in the NL in innings caught (Molina is second). Most notably, though, Posey boasts a stellar slash line of .334/.407/.544, and he leads the majors in OPS+. (Joe Sheehan has rightly pointed out that park adjustments might be doing Posey too many favors, but there's no doubting the brilliance of Posey's season.)
To etch all this in sharper relief, consider that the average major-league catcher this season is hitting .249/.318/.401. So Molina and Posey are obviously crushing their tools-of-ignorance peers in 2012.
In fact, the Baseball-Reference version of WAR (abbreviated bWAR and explained here) ranks Molina and Posey as having, respectively, the 10th- (6.9) and 15th- (6.7) best seasons ever by a catcher. And keep in mind that WAR is an accumulating stat, so there's a handful of games left for Molina and Posey to pad those totals.
Take them as a pair, and their 2012 bestowals are even more impressive. Leaning again on bWAR and the Baseball-Reference play index, here are the top-10 single-season catcher duos of all-time ...
|1||1972 - Johnny Bench, CIN (8.5) and Carlton Fisk, BOS (7.0)||15.5|
|2||1997 - Mike Piazza, LAD (8.5) and Ivan Rodriguez, TEX (6.2)||14.7|
|3||2012 - Yadier Molina, STL (6.9) and Buster Posey, SFG (6.7)||13.6|
|4||1993 - Mike Piazza, LAD (6.8) and Chris Hoiles, BAL (6.5)||13.3|
|5||1979 - Darrell Porter, KCR (7.4) and Gary Carter, MON (5.8)||13.2|
|6||1982 - Gary Carter, MON (8.3) and Lance Parrish, DET (4.8)||13.1|
|7||1984 - Gary Carter, MON (7.2) and Tony Pena, PIT (5.7)||12.9|
|8||1970 - Johnny Bench, CIN (7.1) and Thurman Munson, NYY (5.3)||12.4|
|T-9||1974 - Johnny Bench, CIN (7.7) and Gene Tenace, OAK (4.6)||12.3|
|T-9||2003 - Javy Lopez, ATL (6.7) and Jorge Posada, NYY (5.6)||12.3|
As you can see, Molina and Posey rank as the third-best duo ever, and -- NL fans, take note -- they're tops among duos who played in the same league.
To be sure, WAR is a bit of a blunt instrument, as there's no such thing as a single stat that accurately reflects all there is to a player. Still, WAR paints a useful general picture, and that picture tells us Molina and Posey are making history of a kind. Has a single league ever enjoyed such performances from two catchers in the same season? It seems not.
Oh, and if you never saw Gary Carter play, then you have my sympathies.