Willson Contreras became the Chicago Cubs’ starting catcher in 2017 and took Major League Baseball by storm. He was immediately one of the top defensive catchers in baseball, showcasing one of the strongest arms in the league behind the plate. Contreras also showed off a flashy and powerful bat.
Looking ahead to the future, Contreras has made himself one of the “untouchable” names in trade talks. At this point in time, there is simply no way that Theo Epstein could even consider trading Contreras.
Throughout the course of the 2017 season with the Cubs, Contreras put together impressive numbers. He finished the year with a.276 batting average to go along with 21 home runs and 76 RBI’s, according to ESPN statistics. Those numbers were impressive, but he was able to put up that kind of production even with missing a good chunk of time due to a hamstring injury.
At just 25 years of age, Contreras is one of the rising stars in baseball. Chicago seems to have found a big bat and an arm behind the plate that will continue making plays for years to come.
Looking ahead at the 2018 season, there are big expectations for Contreras. That being said, what three goals can be set for him?
Hit for at Least a.285 Average
Becoming an even better hitter shouldn’t be a problem for Contreras in 2018. If he is able to raise his batting average to at least.285, he will make the Chicago offense even more dangerous than it already was in 2017. He would be able to take even more pressure off of Anthony Rizzo and Kris Bryant and would make himself an even bigger nightmare for opposing pitchers.
Improve His Home Run Total to 30
There is no denying the potential that Contreras showed in 2017 when it comes to hitting for power. Not only could he be a serviceable home run threat, the Cubs are confident that he can become an elite slugger. Improving his home run total to at least 30 in 2018 would be a big step in that direction.
Become More of a Vocal Leader
Following the trade that brought Alex Avila to Chicago, it was clear that Contreras has some work to do as a vocal leader. Contreras started the season off slow as a leader, but did show signs of improvement throughout the season. Now, in 2018, Contreras will be one of the most important players for the Cubs and will be asked to do much more in a leadership role by Joe Maddon.
Expect to see Contreras take a big leap forward in 2018. He has proven himself to be a hard worker and with a full offseason of work, his numbers will take a big jump. Chicago may not have the best catcher in baseball this season, but Contreras should work his way into the discussion for being viewed as a top-three catcher.