Minor League Monday: Willson Contreras
Willson Contreras had a really unusual path to the big leagues. Today we'll take a look at his story, and see how he became the fantastic catcher we all love.
Tho Willson signed in 2009, at the young age of just 17, he wouldn't get to the big leagues until age 24. He began as a third baseman, then bounced around a bit before getting 39 games behind the plate in 2012. From there he became a full time catcher, and also developed with the bat in a big way. Let's see the stats:
As you'll notice, Willson took some time to develop. He spent 4 years at A class ball, basically putting up a .250/.319/.375 slash line. Not great numbers. He showed some promise in 2013, with a solid SLG for the Cougars. Other than that, there wasn't much upside offensively.
But the Cubs stuck with him, and then 2015, he had a great season for Tennessee. His numbers shot up to the tune of an .891 OPS. He had huge increases in batting average, walks, and power. Some kind of adjustments were obviously made, and it paid off huge.
From there, Willson got a half season at AAA before making it into the show for good. He had an even better time with the bat in AAA, putting up a Kris Bryant OPS over 1.000. The explosion was about a year and a half, but led to big things at the MLB level. Even though he toiled for a few years, once he emerged with the bat, he got to the show pretty quickly.
Willson's career is basically a case in point example of why having a lot of Class A teams can pay off. It allows for plenty of regular playing time and gives more guys opportunities. Yes, most don't pan out, but sometimes, you find a diamond in the rough. I'll have to figure out what kind of changes he made to explode with the bat back in 2015. I'm glad he developed!