Chicago Cubs: What to expect from Willson Contreras in 2018
Projections for 2018
Contreras will be entering his age 26 season in 2018. After turning in two solid partial seasons, Contreras will look to stay healthy enough to play in at least 150 games next season. With that being said, it is never too early to start looking at projections for the upcoming season.
Let’s start with fangraphs.com which has two projection models: the “steamer” and “depth charts.” These two projections differ when it comes to how many games Contreras will play in in 2018. The consensus seems to be 128 which seems a bit low to me. Nevertheless, the models suggest that Contreras will hit 20-21 home runs and drive in anywhere between 72 and 75 RBI.
Which will it be?
The two projections do agree that Contreras’ walk rate will drop to 9.6% in 2018. Also dropping in 2018, according to the projections, is Contreras’ strikeout rate, to 20.7%. The projections also agree that Contreras will slash .271/.346/.463. If that holds, those would be the lowest numbers of Contreras’ career.
There is one final projection that I like to use, the one on Baseball-reference.com. According to it, Contreras will hit 20 home runs and drive in 67 runs. He will also slash .276/.354/.491.
These projections seem to come to the same conclusion. Contreras will hit around 20 home runs and have a .270-.275 batting average. Personally, I think Contreras will blow past 20 home runs and knock on the door of 30 while easily setting a career-high in RBI.
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With Contreras under team control until 2023, the young backstop is the catcher of the future for the Cubs. That means that steps will need to continue to take place both offensively and defensively. I don’t think there is any doubt that Contreras will continue to progress, eventually turning himself into an elite player on both sides of the ball.