Chicago Cubs backstop Willson Contreras came into the 2018 season looking to establish himself as one of the league’s premier catchers, but fell short.
It all started with a statement. In January 2018, before spring training, before a whole bunch of free agents had yet to sign, before even the taste of the Cubs 2017’s postseason exit at the hands of the Los Angele Dodgers was a cold a memory, Willson Contreras was making noise.
"“I know that I have a lot of talent, and I thank God every day for giving me this kind of talent that I have,” he said. “In my mind, I want to be the best catcher in the game for a long time — like it was with Yadier Molina, like it is with Buster Posey.”"
A statement fit for baseball lore. Molina was quick to snap back at the youngster, saying something about respecting the ranks. After two strong showings behind the dish for Chicago, we all knew the talent was there. Could he back up his big talk?
Most already know of the cannon-like arm, his ability to pick off runners at every bag and his prowess when it comes to throwing out the some of the game’s best base runners. And his offense ranked as some of the best for a catcher in the game. But there were weaknesses we all knew about, as well. Namely, pitch framing.