Chicago Cubs: Which players could take a step back in 2017?
The flood of young prospects performing well in the Majors continued in 2016. Willson Contreras took the Chicago Cubs by storm. The 24-year old catcher hit a two-run homer when called to pinch hit for Kyle Hendricks against the Pirates. It was his first at-bat in the MLB. In his first 13 games, Contreras had a .325/.426/.600 slash line, and started 10 of those games.
Contreras finished his first season in the majors batting .282/.357/.488 with 12 home runs, 35 driven in, and scoring 33 runs. Additionally, he provided amazing defense, showing an ability to throw out would-be base stealers. The only true downside is that he allowed several pitches to get past him while catching.
He is a very aggressive player, taking chances when he thinks the time is right. However, his baseball instincts deceive him from time to time. While he started off hot, he cooled down tremendously because of aggressive swings and misses. In 2017, he will be taking on a larger catching role with the retirement of David Ross. With the focus on calling a game and being aware of defenses and runners, Contreras could struggle at the plate. Expect some valleys offensively for him.