The Atlanta Braves have found several key contributors this season.
Kyle Wright finally broke out and took over one of the rotation spots; Vaughn Grissom and Michael Harris II are two impressive 21-year-olds helping the team before we all thought they could, and catcher William Contreras has cemented his place as an elite hitting catcher.
“#Braves All-Star William Contreras has 17 HR in 238 AB. That’s a home run every 14 at-bats. Over 600 AB, that’s a 43 HR pace. You know, if you’re somehow into that sort of thing,” Braves insider Grant McAuley tweeted.
#Braves All-Star William Contreras has 17 HR in 238 AB. That's a home run every 14 at-bats.
Over 600 AB, that's a 43 HR pace. You know, if you're somehow into that sort of thing.pic.twitter.com/z68c8BJGkc
— Grant McAuley (@grantmcauley) August 24, 2022
17 home runs over 238 trips to the plate is incredibly impressive, especially from a catcher.
For years, catchers were instructed to focus on their defensive and game-calling skills rather than their hit tool.
Evidently, Contreras did not listen to that advice.
A Productive Hitter In A Tough Position
The younger of the Contreras brothers (Willson, who has a longer and more stable MLB career, plays for the Chicago Cubs), William is not a star defender, but he is not a liability back there either.
With the bat, however, he is extremely productive.
In limited action, he already has 1.8 Wins Above Replacement, or WAR, mostly by virtue of his excellent offensive skills.
Before Thursday’s games, he is slashing .264/.341/.521.
Besides the 17 round-trippers, he has 34 RBI and 37 runs scored.
He has taken a step forward in comparison to his 2021 stats: last year, he slashed a relatively poor .215/.303/.399.
He has formed a fantastic catching tandem with veteran Travis d’Arnaud, and together have made sure the Braves don’t give away any easy outs in the lineup construction.
At just 24 years old, it’s fair to assume that Contreras’ best years are in front of him, and he will likely help the Braves for years to come, not just in 2022.