In a shocking move late this morning, the Cubs promoted catcher Willson Contreras to Chicago from the Iowa Cubs. Contreras hit .350 in AAA Iowa with 9 HRs and 43 RBIs in just 54 games. Contreras, who just turned 24, has improved a lot defensively this year. He has thrown out 10 out of 34 runners attempting to steal. Last year, Contreras was the Cubs Minor League Player of the Year after hitting .333 and winning the Southern League batting title at AA Tennessee. Cubs Central recently rated him as the #1 prospect on our Top 21 List just this week.
At Chicago, Contreras will be one of three catchers. He will not play full time, but he will likely catch 2-3 times per rotation to rest David Ross and Miguel Montero. Ken Rosenthal tweeted the impetus behind the call up.
#Cubs‘ plan is for Contreras to gain experience, adjust to MLB environment, learn from Montero, Ross. Will be third catcher for now.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) June 16, 2016
I am very OK with this. The days he doesn’t catch he can be a valuable bat off the bench. In addition, he gets to learn the ways of the major leagues without the pressure of being the everyday catcher. It will help pave the way for next year for Contreras to step into a bigger role after Ross retires at the end of 2016.
I am excited to see what he can do at the plate. I am excited to see what he can do behind the plate with some of the best pitchers in the league.
To be honest, I did not expect to see Almora or Contreras this summer barring injury, at least until late August or early September. It’s good that Contreras’s play forced the issue. This only makes the Cubs better. He gives Joe another option, another bat, and a more athletic and healthier player.