Which player has been the most valuable to the Chicago Cubs?

(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /
3 of 5
Chicago Cubs
(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: Contreras is back on top of the catching world

We all know the story of 2018 when it comes to Willson Contreras. He turned in a torrid start, earning the first All-Star selection of his young career. That really came as a surprise to no one – but what came to follow certainly wasn’t anticipated.

In the second half, Contreras cratered, leaving a gaping presence in an already struggling Chicago offense. But this winter, he rededicated himself to his game – and owned his lack of preparation down the stretch last year. The results have been nothing short of powerful.

Entering play Sunday, the Venezuelan-born backstop leads all qualifying big league catchers with a .945 OPS. He’s tracking well above his career marks in both batting average (.289) and on-base percentage (.383). Contreras trails only Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo when it comes to OBP – and his 18 home runs also rank third on the club.

Behind the dish, Contreras has gunned down 31 percent of would-be base stealers – keeping any team on their toes with his cannon of a right arm. He’s still got work to do defensively, but given his offensive contributions, he’s heading into the second half as not only one of the most valuable players on this Cubs team – but as one of the most valuable catchers in the game today.