A lot of my friends (enemies) in my fantasy baseball league made fun of me after our draft, because I took … well, I took a lot of Chicago Cubs (hey, I can’t help it if they have all the best players).
And sure, in some case, I might’ve gotten a little too homer-y (Come on, Ian. Four strikeouts?!), but one selection I definitely do *not* expect to regret is Willson Contreras.
Sure, the power results have been lacking this early-season (.080 ISO, .360 SLG), but if last night was any indication, we are in store for a power explosion very soon:
Holy crap. Look at the exit velocity leaderboard from last night's game, and note Willson Contreras's FOUR(!!!) balls over 100 mph. pic.twitter.com/ZaeuQfAvIX
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) April 6, 2018
Altogether, Contreras managed to get on base four times last night (2 singles, a double, and a walk), but it was his exit velocity that really had us turning heads:
2nd Inning: Line-drive 1B (110.4 MPH)
3rd Inning: Line-drive 1B (108.5 MPH)
5th Inning: Walk
6th Inning: Fly-out (105.2 MPH)
8th Inning: Line-drive 2B (114.1 MPH)
Four balls in play, four balls hit over 105 MPH. According to Matt Trueblood, Contreras became the first player in 2018 to accomplish that feat – a feat that was only accomplished four times *total* last season. That’s impressive.
And it’s not entirely new.
In his first season at the big league level, Contreras’ contact was just slightly better average, with a 17.7% soft-hit rate and a 32.3% hard-hit rate. Last year, those numbers improved (17.0% soft-hit and 35.5% hard-hit) and this season, well, things are looking very good in a small sample:
Soft-hit rate: 11.8%
Hard-hit rate: 47.1%
Obviously, you can’t expect those numbers to stay that high, but it sure isn’t a bad start to the year – especially when “power” is the only part of his offensive game that hasn’t shown up yet this season.