Willson Contreras is Getting Better and Better Behind the Plate and Other Bullets

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Willson Contreras is Getting Better and Better Behind the Plate and Other Bullets

Chicago Cubs

willson contreras cubs catcherFor the second day in a row, the Bullets are coming later because of earlier stuff to get to – the Jason Heyward defense discussion and Minor League Daily, but mostly (in terms of time consumption) the Tommy La Stella post. Given the inherent complexities in that one, it was a “make sure you get this right” kind of thing. Took a while.

  • John Lackey was open – as open as pitchers are, anyway – about the adjustment period that would be required as youngster Willson Contreras caught him more frequently. Game-calling and staying in rhythm takes a while between a pitcher and a catcher, and you could see early in their starts together that there was some choppiness. Last night, though, was incredibly smooth, Lackey pitched very well, and Contreras looked good behind the plate. And Lackey even had some praise for Contreras, saying he’s getting “way better” on calling the game, and generally expressing a great deal of pleasure at Contreras’s performance last night (Cubs.com).
  • Contreras also showed off his great defense on this pounce-and-throw. That’s a ball that should result in an extra base for the runner 9 times out of 10, but Contreras got to it quickly and then fired a rocket to second.
  • Also, for what it’s worth – and be careful with sample sizes here, though they theoretically stabilize quickly given the volume of pitches – Contreras rates as one of the best pitch-framers in baseball on a per-strike basis this year (Baseball Prospectus and StatCorner). I will now allow you to dream about a future where Contreras is an above average bat, with above average defense behind the plate, is good at getting the most out of his pitchers, AND is above average on framing. (If that all comes together for enough games in a season? I won’t do it. I won’t say the three letters. But that’s a really, really rare player who can do all that.)
  • Speaking of rare catchers who can do it all, Buster Posey might be the best example in the game today … unless you count sliding. Because my word, Buster. You’re not supposed to slam your face into the base. (Like Michael says there, I can’t stop watching the loop and laughing, and then feeling bad for him, and then laughing again … )
  • Trevor Cahill has been starting at Iowa as he rehabs a knee issue, but the plan is for him to start one of the Cubs’ double-header games on August 16 against the Brewers (Tribune). The Cubs can carry 26 players that day, so he may not be activated from the disabled list until then. And, then, of course, the Cubs will once again have to make a tough roster decision. It’s possible they’d option Carl Edwards Jr. to Iowa at that point, allowing them to keep Cahill, and then bring back Edwards just two weeks later on September 1.
  • Miguel Montero reading mean tweets … wow. This is gold, and also a little uncomfortable:

  • Also, people remain too hard on a guy who has done his best to evolve into more of a supporting role this year (keep in mind: he has always been one of Willson Contreras’s biggest supporters).
  • Hey, if you’ve wanted a Fergie Jenkins signed ball, today’s your day – just $35 at Amazon.
  • The Cardinals lost to the Reds last night, so I guess that huge comeback wasn’t going to set them on a long winning streak after all.
  • Hugs and fist bumps and good thoughts going out to John Arguello of Cubs Den. John is a great guy and he’s going through a fight right now (though his opponent doesn’t stand a chance).
  • Former Cubs righty Carlos Zambrano stopped by the ballpark yesterday:

Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.