Wilson Contreras, the premiere catcher for the Chicago Cubs, is having an incredible season thus far. He’s exciting to watch, an incredible hitter, and has quite the arm.
So what makes him so special?
At the beginning of the season, Contreras had this to say about what people can expect from him this season, “There is a lot, a lot of people that doubt about myself, because of last year,” Contreras said, “Don’t believe me, just watch.”
Wilson was able to accept that he had quite the underwhelming 2018 campaign, and he used it as his fire this off-season. Wilson had this to say during spring training, “Last year, I was late on a lot of pitches. It was just timing.” “You have to start loading a little bit earlier and then everything will click. The other thing is don’t try to do too much with a fastball. I’m just trying to take my BP swing into the game.”
It’s safe to say that whatever he worked on this off-season has paid off. Hes hitting a fiery .304 at the plate, with a .417 OBP through 115 at-bats this season.
His power has also been a very big thing of interest, as he has a solid ten home runs on the season, matching his total from last year.
So where does this sudden surge of power come from?
Most would say it’s his new and improved exit velocity and launch angle. His exit velocity has increased from 87 MPH in 2018, to 88.9 MPH in 2019. His Launch angle has increased from 6.8 in 2018, to 11.1 in 2019.
Not only has his offensive production improved, but so has his defense.
When exchanging the ball from his glove to his hand to throw out a stealing runner, he has gone from 0.74 seconds in 2018 to 0.70 seconds in 2019. Now, that may not sound like a lot, but when it comes to getting the tag down in time, that is quite a bit.
The most important jump; however, is his arm velocity. He has always had a cannon behind the plate, but now it is even more incredible. He went from throwing 86.2 MPH in 2018 to 89.1 MPH in 2019. It’s safe to say nobody will be confidently stealing on Wilson throughout the rest of the season.
So, I said the future king of catchers for a reason. The premiere catchers for a long time now have been Buster Posey and Yadier Molina. Two problems: injuries and age. Both have been dealing with both of these problems for a while now. While they are both productive, don’t expect them to be for much longer.
You can make an argument that JT Realmuto could also be the future king behind the plate, but take my word for it. This guy is special. You can expect an all-star appearance for Wilson this season. And don’t be shocked when you see him win a batting title or two for catchers in the near future.