MLB Pipeline’s positional rankings continued Thursday. After taking a look at the top right-handed pitching prospects and best left-handed pitching prospects in the game, MLB Pipeline shifted to backstops and one of the best young players in the Cubs’ system topped the list of catching prospects.
Contreras was the Cubs’ Minor League Position Player of the Year last season after excelling on offense and defense. Contreras won the Southern League batting crown and was among the league leaders in several offensive categories.
Willson Contreras hit .333/.413/.478 with 34 doubles, four triples and eight home runs for a .891 OPS. Contreras had 57 walks and 62 strikeouts in 126 games. Contreras was first in the Southern League in batting average (.333), second in on-base percentage (.413), third in slugging (.478), second on OPS (.891), third in hits (151), second in doubles (34), and first in extra basehits (46).
Willson Contreras is only 23 years old (May 13).
Theo Epstein said last weekend Contreras will play at Triple-A Iowa this season, which is the appropriate age for the level.
The Cubs are extremely high on Contreras, very excited about his development and future. Epstein said he’s “an incredibly talented, athletic catcher who can really throw, can really block and his receiving is much improved.”
Theo Epstein thinks Contreras can be a frontline catcher in the big leagues for a long time.
Contreras spent time with Mike Borzello this off-season. And Jason McLeod feels he will benefit greatly this spring from working with David Ross and Miguel Montero in big league camp.
Comcast SportsNet reported Contreras “is one of the strongest players in the entire organization and a more advanced catching prospect than Welington Castillo.” The Cubs think Contreras can be a big league catcher, where Castillo was not able to put it together during his time in the organization.
According to MLB Pipeline, “Contreras’ athleticism and arm strength give him a good chance of sticking at the position, though his receiving still needs work.”
MLB Pipeline’s Top 10 Catchers: Willson Contreras (Cubs), Gary Sanchez (Yankees), Jorge Alfaro (Phillies), Reese McGuire (Pirates), Tyler Stephenson (Reds), Elias Diaz (Pirates), Dom Nunez (Rockies), Jacob Nottingham (A’s), Max Pentecost (Blue Jays) and Aramis Garcia (Giants).
• MLB Pipeline – 2016 Prospect Watch: Top 10 Catchers
• Comcast SportsNet – Cubs Prospect Willson Contreras could be next core player to hit Wrigley