Chicago Cubs: Addressing the value of top catcher prospect Willson Contreras
If you’re a fan of the Chicago Cubs, you’ve heard the name Willson Contreras by now. A top Cubs’ prospect who broke out in a big way last year, and continues to impress the Cubs in Spring Training.
Last year Contreras put up a very nice .333/.413/.478 stat line, not to mention being very good defensively. Thus far in the spring, he is hitting .417, with four walks and no strikeouts — not to mention he has also picked off a base runner.
In the span of a year, Contreras has gone from a guy the Cubs weren’t sure fit with the future plans, to a guy who is now the top candidate for the “catcher of the future,” and has been deemed untouchable by Epstein and company.
Oh, and not to mention, he is the top catching prospect in baseball, and the 50th best prospect in baseball, according to MLB Pipeline’s rankings, which you can check out here.
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Remarkable, what a transformation. The biggest thing for the transformation could have something to do with his improved plate discipline, as he cut his strikeout rate nearly in half in 2015.
The speculation currently, is that Contreras will be called up sometime in the summer and be eased into the catcher’s role, being mentored by Miguel Montero and David Ross in the process. Another rumor is that he could be held back until 2017, to gain an extra year of control.
ZiPS feels like Contreras will be up sometime this year, as they project him for over 400 plate appearances while Steamer projects him for just 13 plate appearances, which makes it seem like he would be just a September call-up.
The only certainty here is that he has cemented himself as the catcher of the future, adding to an already loaded young core, right now, though, it’s just a waiting game to see when this front office will bring him up and put him back there.
Contreras also has a little pop in that bat, as he hit 34 doubles last year, which led the Smokies, and was second in his league, behind Brewers’ star prospect Orlando Arcia.
He also added in eight home runs, not to mention, he led the Southern League in batting average, over the likes of Max Kepler, Tim Anderson, and the aforementioned Arcia. That’s not bad company. Contreras seems like the total package, and Cubs fans can’t wait to see him in Wrigley.