Chicago Cubs: Willson Contreras named National League Player of the Week

CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 06: Willson Contreras
CHICAGO, IL - AUGUST 06: Willson Contreras /

Monday, the MLB named Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras as National League Player of the Week for the week of July 31st-August 6th.

Willson Contreras has been on fire since the start of July, and the MLB has finally started taking notice. Monday, the MLB named Contreras, 25, the National League Player of the Week for the week of July 31-August 6.

Ironically, Contreras is the first Cub to be named Player of the Week since Kyle Hendricks won the honor last August 1-7. Last week, Contreras hit .455 (10-for-22), with  five home runs, 13 RBI, good for an OPS of 1.660.

Although the MLB’s honor is just for the past week, Contreras deserves credit where it is due. The second-year catcher is hitting .346 since the All Star break, hitting 10 home runs with 29 RBI along the way. For the sake of comparison, he hit .261 with 11 home runs and 41 RBI before the break.

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Contreras had a season-best month during July, where he posted his highest monthly AVG, SLG, OBP and OPS of the season. He also had a monthly-high for home runs and RBIs, though he could top all of these numbers in August.

The Cubs and Contreras have experienced tremendous success almost simultaneously, for what it’s worth. The Cubs are 15-7 since the break, with Contreras and a reinvigorated offense leading the charge.

Before the break, the Cubs hit just .239 in 88 games, 20th overall in the MLB. Since then, they have hit .273 in 22 games, fourth best in the league during that span. Baseball is a team game, but by hitting the way that he has, Contreras has definitely positively affected the Cubs’ offense.

Contreras supplying offense where others could not

Not only has his personal success jumpstarted the offense, but it also has solidified a spot in the Cubs lineup. The team’s fourth spot in the lineup has been a revolving door at times this season, as last year’s cleanup hitter, Ben Zobrist, has struggled this season.

While Zobrist is hitting .333 in five August games, he hit just .208 in 21 August games and is hitting just .225 for the season. Contreras playing so well at a time when Zobrist has struggled may be just what the Cubs’ offense needed.

With two months left in the MLB season, the Cubs currently are clinging to a 1/2-game lead on the second-place Milwaukee Brewers. For Chicago to make another deep October run, Contreras must deliver.

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