Chicago Cubs: What to expect from Willson Contreras in 2018

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 12: Willson Contreras
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 12: Willson Contreras /
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WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 13: Willson Contreras
WASHINGTON, DC – OCTOBER 13: Willson Contreras /

Contreras looks to continue success in 2018

Last season, the majority of Contreras’ at-bats came in the clean-up spot (153). That was good news because that is a role that Contreras thrived in. He slashed .307/.404/.608 in the four-hole and slugged 13 home runs.

Because Contreras proved he could hold his own in the middle of the order, there is no reason why Joe Maddon would take him out of that spot moving forward. It’s for that reason that’s it is so vital for Contreras to continue to produce offensively. Looking at the numbers, it seems like Contreras is headed in the right direction as the 2018 season approaches.

First off, Contreras’ walk rate and strikeout rate both headed in the right directions from 2016 to 2017. His 10.5% walk rate was 1.3% better than in 2016 and Contreras’ 22.9% strikeout rate was 0.8% lower than his 2016 mark. In addition to that, Contreras’ ISO rose from .206 in 2016 to .223 in 2017.

Contreras’ fly-ball rate increased slightly in 2017 to 29.3% at the same time that his ground ball rate dropped a percentage point. Lastly, Contreras hit the ball harder in 2017 as 35.5% of his contact was classified as “hard” by Fangraphs. That number is up from 32.3% in 2016.

In summary, Contreras hit more balls in the air and harder in 2017 than he did in 2016. In addition to that, Contreras’ increase in ISO suggests that he collected more extra-base hits from year to year.


One thing needs to happen on the defensive side of the ball for Contreras moving forward. He needs to cut down on the errors. Nineteen errors in just over 1,200 innings behind the plate puts Contreras solidly below league average in fielding percentage.

While it’s always exciting to see Contreras pick someone off first base or throw-out someone attempting to steal, his early defensive numbers do not reflect his ability and talent level.

Moving forward, there is no doubt that Contreras has the starting catcher’s job locked down. I, and the rest of Cubs’ nation would just like to see a decrease in errors in 2018.