Chicago Cubs: Willson Contreras pacing for huge season

(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jon Durr/Getty Images) /

After a terrible end to the 2018 season, Willson Contreras is the most important hitter in the Chicago Cubs lineup.

The Chicago Cubs 2019 season will hinge on a few improvements from last season with a productive Willson Contreras being at the top of the list. It’s no secret that Contreras struggled mightily down the stretch last season. Part of that was the fault of now fired hitting coach, Chili Davis, and part of it was Willson’s.

In an interview with NBC Sports Chicago earier this year, Contreras openly admitted that “he didn’t deserve to have a good year.” He stated that he got complacent and completely abandoned his 2017 pre-game routine last season.

"“This game taught me that you have to keep working hard like you did the last year and don’t get too comfortable because you’re gonna fail and fail and fail. We learn and we move on.”"

Contreras was voted as the 2018 National League starting catcher in the All-Star game after slashing 0.279/0.369/0.449 with seven home-runs, and 34 runs batted in in the first half. However, he severely tailed off in the second half slashing a putrid 0.200/0.291/0.294 with just three home-runs and 17 runs batted in. Contreras finished the 2018 season with a career worst 22.4% soft contact for balls hit in play.

Flash forward to this season, Contreras is off to a great start. Just 10 games in, he is slashing 0.308/0.455/0.731 with three home-runs and seven runs batted in.  He is seeing the ball well this season, drawing walks in 18.2% of his at-bats.

Obviously, having a healthy Kris Bryant back in the lineup is important, but Willson Contreras is the heartbeat of this team. With both Bryant and Anthony Rizzo having on-base percentages close to 0.400, the Cubs will be relying on Contreras to be the productive bat in the middle of the order. It’s a small sample size to go off of, but it’s an extremely encouraging start for the young catcher.

Read. Chicago Cubs will try to reset their season at Wrigley Field. light

It’s hard to believe that he is still just 26 years old and entering his prime. That being said, if Contreras finishes the 2019 campaign with numbers similar to those of 2016 and 2017, the Cubs offense should be much more consistent. The team has already produced historic numbers becoming the fourth team since 1900 to produce 10+ runs five times in their first 10 games.