Yesterday, we checked in on Javy Baez’s insane hot streak and potential MVP candidacy, as well as Ben Zobrist’s 2018 resurgence and enviable contract. Together, those two went on to reach base nine times last night, including five hits, three walks, and two doubles. So, you know, they deserved the extra love.
But they’re not the only one who could use some attention, after a big game last night:
The Cubs catcher is going all John Hughes on us.
DON'T YOU …. forget about me. He's 3-4 with a walk, a double and a homer tonight. pic.twitter.com/C28jnNfOWs
— Michael Cerami (@Michael_Cerami) August 2, 2018
The Cubs’ catcher has been just as good – if not perhaps slightly better overall – offensively this season than he has in the past, but has seen a notable drop off in in-game power:
2016: 125 wRC+, .488 SLG, .206 ISO
2017: 121 wRC+, .499 SLG, .223 ISO
2018: 124 wRC+, .458 SLG, .175 ISO
But that power showed up last night, when he cranked his 21st double of the season (matching last year’s total on the 1st of August!) and his 9th home run:
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 2, 2018
Statcast had at it a 96 MPH off the bat and 381 feet. But thanks to a pretty steep launch angle (31 degrees), it looked a lot deeper than that off the bat.
In related news, that three-hit game (plus a walk!) extended Contreras’ hitting streak to six games, and helps make his last ~50 plate appearances look mighty strong: .341/.426/.537 (162 wRC+) and feature plenty of power. In fact, there are all sorts of a arbitrary cutoffs I could point to (150 PAs, 200 PAs, etc.) to make Contreras look good, bat over .300, slug a lot higher, whatever, but it’s really unnecessary. He’s already having a great full season – with slightly less power than we expected, but just as much overall damage.
Of course, if this recent slugfest is here to stay … well, just watch out.