Willson Contreras was in the news at the end of last week after Miguel Montero was placed on the disabled list and Tim Federowicz was called up. The Cubs believe in Contreras and think he will be a special player in the big leagues, he’s just needs more time in the minors.
Theo Epstein explained the decision to have Contreras continue his development in the minors right now instead of sharing time with David Ross in the majors.
“We want our guys to have as close to a full year as they possibly can in Triple-A before they come up, especially at the catcher position. There are so many nuances that you have to learn. Relationships with the pitchers, pitch calling, keeping a slow heartbeat as things speed up in the course of a game.”
“Willson Contreras is talented enough to come up here and I think thrive in Major League Baseball and help us win,” Epstein said, “He’s just not all the way ready yet and our plan going into the season was for Willson to develop at Triple-A. Towards the end of the year if things went really well, maybe at some point in the second half of the season, if there is a need he will be ready to help us.”
“We signed Tim Federowicz as a minor league free agent. We felt fortunate to do so. We did it with the purpose in mind if a need happened, a shorter-term need in the first half of the season then he would come up because he’s a perfect guy to make a seamless transition and step up in Miggy’s [Miguel Montero] absence,” Epstein said. “He understands how to run a Major League game. He can translate a scouting report right into a game. He knows National League hitters from his time starting in the Dodgers and the Padres. He’ll fit right in.”
“Willson Contreras is going to be a special player. He’s having a phenomenal year. There are folks pounding the table for him right now, but this is the best long-term move. If you rush somebody you never get a chance to break them in the right way again. He’s benefited from every day he’s at the Triple-A level doing a great job.”
Contreras’ streak of reaching base with either a hit or walk in every game he’s played in this season was snapped Friday. After going 0-for-4 with a strikeout, Contreras went 2-for-3 with two doubles in the first game of Sunday’s scheduled doubleheader. Game two was postponed due to rain.
In 17 games this season, Contreras is batting .359/.432/.453 with six doubles and a .886 OPS. Contreras has not hit a home run yet and has as many walks (8) as strikeouts (8) in 64 at-bats. Contreras is ninth in the Pacific Coast League in batting average (.359) and seventh in on-base percentage (.432).
Willson Contreras is considered one of, if not the top catching prospect in baseball. He has continued playing at a high level and is knocking on the door to the big leagues. And once he’s in The Show, he has plans on staying for a longtime.