Chicago Cubs: Contreras has regained his 2017 form early on this season
Willson Contreras has never shied away from the spotlight or suffered from a lack of confidence. In fact, he famously went on the record saying that “he knows he is going to be better than Yadier Molina and Buster Posey.” After an uneven and ultimately not-so-great 2018 season, however, there were skeptics.
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Let’s just say, the Beast is back. While this guy wasn’t worried about Contreras after he was possibly overworked and worn down in 2018, many were. His pitch framing is still a source of contention for many, but his raw emotion, bat, and arm have erased a lot of doubt that was in a holding pattern over his head to start this spring.
Contreras has been one of, if not the best catcher in all of baseball in the early going in 2019. Accounting for the majority of the phenomenal cumulative stats for the Cubs’ catchers, Contreras himself has posted an impressive and completely sustainable .299/.421/.644 slash line, with 8 home runs and 19 RBI in only 87 at-bats.
We all know what Contreras is capable of offensively when healthy and fresh, and he’s showing out in full force so far. If Joe Maddon can keep him crisp and unwilted by maneuvering the other heads of the Cubs’ catching monster, Davis and Caratini, around successfully, this summer is going to be really fun.
Add to the offensive firepower a cannon on Contreras right shoulder, and some more favorable framing numbers and technique, and you are looking at the best catcher in baseball, regardless of what J.T. Realmuto, Yasmani Grandal, Buster Posey, or arch-nemesis Yadier Molina do.
Even if the triumvirate of Cubs’ catchers isn’t able to continue this level of success (and really, how could they?), they’ve not only provided the offense with a solid start to the season but helped the pitching staff look outstanding over the past month. If they can keep that going, a reduction in offensive production will be a totally acceptable outcome.