The Cardinals’ pitchers throw so hard they broke Yadier Molina’s mitt

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Cardinals pitching staffs of the past, particularly under former pitching coach Dave Duncan, were famous for the prodigious rate at which they generated ground balls. The 2013 staff, however, will be known for young arm after young arm hitting the upper 90’s and even the 100’s on the radar gun. When closer Trevor Rosenthal shut down the Red Sox in 1-2-3 order in Game 2, he threw 11 pitches. All of them were fastballs. One was 95 MPH, one was 96, four were 97, four were 98, and one was 99. Good luck with that, hitters.

Illustrating just how hard Cardinals pitchers throw, ESPN’s Jayson Stark provides us with this:

[Molina] laughed and reached into his locker. He dug out his mitt. He held it up for his guests to see. At the top of the pocket, where his palm would be when holding it, the leather was so worn, it was torn. Ripped. Split.

[…]

And, he was asked, has that ever happened before — that he chewed threw two game mitts in the same season?

“Never,” he said. “First time.”

He had to ditch the first one at the All-Star break, he said. And that’s a first, too.

“It is,” he said. “These guys are throwing 98-99 [miles per hour]. But I don’t care about that.”

Stark adds in the article that six Cardinals pitchers averaged 93.5 MPH or higher on their fastballs according to Pitch F/X data: Rosenthal (97.3 MPH), Carlos Martinez (96.7), Kevin Siegrist (95.2), Joe Kelly (94.9), Shelby Miller (93.7), and Michael Wacha (93.5).

Mets sign Jose Lobaton to minor league deal

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The Mets signed catcher Jose Lobaton to a minor league contract, the team announced Friday. The deal includes an invitation to spring training, where it’s assumed Lobaton will be in the mix for a backup role behind Travis d'Arnaud and Kevin Plawecki.

Lobaton, 33, is coming off of a four-year stint with the Nationals. He put up his worst career numbers in 2017, producing -0.6 fWAR after slashing just .170/.248/.277 with four home runs in 158 plate appearances. While he’ll give the Mets little to work with at the plate, his near-decade of experience behind the dish should make him a decent emergency option, if nothing else.

In the meantime, the Mets are expected to roll with a d’Arnaud/Plawecki platoon to start the season. Both catchers saw slight upticks in value over the 2017 season: d’Arnaud turned in 0.8 fWAR after hitting a career-high 16 home runs, while Plawecki collected 0.6 fWAR and three homers after raising his batting line over the Mendoza Line for the first time since 2015.