Cubs: 5 most important players heading into 2022 – #1: Willson Contreras
Willson Contreras is and always has been a highly important member of this team with a key role. Contreras is not the guy on the team that has to hit 40 home runs and drive in 100 runs every year to be looked at as valued. In fact, more importantly is simply how fantastic of a defensive catcher he has become over the years. All-Star catchers are few and far between. In fact, there are fewer catchers in the Hall of Fame than any other position.
Contreras’ fiery nature and defensive ability speaks for itself. His energy is a spark plug and major momentum boost for the Cubs whenever they need a big play. With all this being said, it is important to note that though Contreras doesn’t have to be the team’s biggest offensive weapon, at the same time he needs to stop trending in the direction he has for the last two seasons.
His early career-success hasn’t translated to that monster breakout performance yet. After all, he slashed just .237/.340/.438 in 2021. At least at surface level, he is trending in the wrong direction offensively.
His defensive abilities make him nearly irreplaceable as it is, but if Contreras can add some more points to that average in 2022, there is a very strong chance he can record the highest WAR on the Cubs in 2022. Regardless of potential trade talks, it is hard to envision a scenario where Contreras doesn’t give it his all as he enters the final year on his contract.