Willson Contreras

Willson Contreras

32-Year-Old CatcherC
St. Louis Cardinals
2024 Fantasy Outlook
Contreras' first year in St. Louis was a bumpy one with a .438 winning percentage being the organization's worst since 1995. The drama started early with his new team, as he was pushed out from behind the plate in May due to poor defensive metrics, since the Cardinals apparently didn't realize he's always been a bat-first catcher. He still ended up making 97 appearances at catcher compared to 30 at designated hitter, but the early-season issues set the tone for what ended up being an awful season for St. Louis. Individually however, Contreras was his usual productive self offensively, as he delivered a fourth straight 20-homer campaign (the shortened 2020 season notwithstanding) and a 127 wRC+, which tied for best in baseball among catchers with at least 450 plate appearances. Volume is the only real concern for fantasy managers at this point -- his 495 plate appearances in 2023 being the second-highest total of his career -- with the lack of opportunities keeping his run production at modest levels (55 runs, 67 RBI last season). Despite that ceiling, Contreras should be locked in as one of the better fantasy catchers again in 2024. Read Past Outlooks
RANKSFrom Preseason
#138
ADP
$Signed a five-year, $82.5 million contract with the Cardinals in December of 2022. Contract includes $17.5 million team option ($5 million buyout) for 2028. Contract includes $50,000 annual incentives for each Gold Glove Award and All-Star appearance and $25,000 for each Silver Slugger Award.
Returns from injured list
CSt. Louis Cardinals
June 24, 2024
The Cardinals activated Contreras (forearm) from the 10-day injured list Monday. He'll start at catcher and bat third in the Cardinals' series opener versus Atlanta.
ANALYSIS
Contreras was initially expected to miss around 10 weeks after he suffered a fractured left forearm in early May, but he'll make it back from the IL in just six and a half weeks. The Cardinals could manage Contreras' workload carefully as he settles back in with the big club, but fantasy managers should feel free to activate ahead of this week's action. Contreras posted a .950 OPS with six home runs over 31 games before getting injured.
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Batting Stats
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2024
2023
2022
2021
2020
2019
2018
2017
2024 MLB Game Log
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2023 MLB Game Log
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Batting Order Slot Breakdown
vs Right-Handed Pitchers
vs RHP
#1
#2
#3
#4
#5
#6
#7
#8
#9
10
4
10
vs Left-Handed Pitchers
vs LHP
#1
#2
#3
#4
#5
#6
#7
#8
#9
5
2
Left/Right Batting Splits
Since 2022
 
 
+12%
OPS vs LHP
2024
 
 
+30%
OPS vs LHP
2023
 
 
+13%
OPS vs LHP
2022
 
 
+7%
OPS vs LHP
OPS PA R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
Since 2022vs Left .910 274 37 15 41 4 .266 .358 .553
Since 2022vs Right .810 836 103 33 93 8 .254 .359 .451
2024vs Left 1.157 29 6 2 4 2 .333 .448 .708
2024vs Right .890 99 14 4 8 0 .265 .384 .506
2023vs Left .906 122 16 5 23 1 .296 .369 .537
2023vs Right .799 373 39 15 44 5 .253 .355 .444
2022vs Left .859 123 15 8 14 1 .219 .325 .533
2022vs Right .801 364 50 14 41 3 .251 .357 .444
More Splits View More Split Stats
Home/Away Batting Splits
Since 2022
Even Split
2024
 
 
+25%
OPS at Home
2023
 
 
+5%
OPS on Road
2022
 
 
+1%
OPS at Home
OPS PA R HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG
Since 2022Home .836 550 78 21 64 11 .265 .369 .467
Since 2022Away .834 560 62 27 70 1 .248 .349 .485
2024Home 1.080 51 10 2 4 2 .333 .490 .590
2024Away .867 77 10 4 8 0 .250 .338 .529
2023Home .804 242 29 9 27 5 .259 .351 .453
2023Away .847 253 26 11 40 1 .269 .365 .481
2022Home .821 257 39 10 33 4 .259 .362 .459
2022Away .809 230 26 12 22 0 .224 .335 .474
More Splits View More Split Stats
Stat Review
How does Willson Contreras compare to other hitters?
This section compares his stats with all batting seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 400 plate appearances)*. The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.

* Exit Velocity and Barrels/PA % are benchmarked against 2019 data (min 400 PA) and Hard Hit Rate is benchmarked against last season's data (min 400 PA). See here for more exit velocity/barrels stats plus an explanation of current limitations with that data set.
  • BB/K
    Walk to strikeout ratio
  • BB Rate
    The percentage of plate appearances resulting in a walk.
  • K Rate
    The percentage of plate appearances resulting in a strikeout.
  • BABIP
    Batting average on balls in play. Measures how many of a batter’s balls in play go for hits.
  • ISO
    Isolated Power. Slugging percentage minus batting average. A computation used to measure a batter's raw power.
  • AVG
    Batting average. Hits divided by at bats.
  • OBP
    On Base Percentage. A measure of how often a batters reaches base. Roughly equal to number of times on base divided by plate appearances.
  • SLG
    Slugging Percentage. A measure of the batting productivity of a hitter. It is calculated as total bases divided by at bats.
  • OPS
    On base plus slugging. THe sum of a batter's on-base percentage and slugging percentage.
  • wOBA
    Weighted on-base average. Measures a player's overall offensive contributions per plate appearance. wOBA combines all the different aspects of hitting into one metric, weighting each of them in proportion to their actual run value.
  • Exit Velocity
    The speed of the baseball as it comes off the bat, immediately after a batter makes contact.
  • Hard Hit Rate
    A measure of contact quality from Sports Info Solutions. This stat explains what percentage of batted balls were hit hard vs. medium or soft.
  • Barrels/PA
    The percentage of plate appearances where a batter had a batted ball classified as a Barrel. A Barrel is a batted ball with similar exit velocity and launch angle to past ones that led to a minimum .500 batting average and 1.500 slugging percentage.
  • Expected BA
    Expected Batting Average.
  • Expected SLG
    Expected Slugging Percentage.
  • Sprint Speed
    The speed of a runner from home to first, in feet per second.
  • Ground Ball %
    The percentage of balls put in play that are on the ground.
  • Line Drive %
    The percentage of balls put in play that are line drives.
  • Fly Ball %
    The percentage of balls put in play that are fly balls.
BB/K
0.51
 
BB Rate
14.1%
 
K Rate
27.3%
 
BABIP
.364
 
ISO
.271
 
AVG
.280
 
OBP
.398
 
SLG
.551
 
OPS
.950
 
wOBA
.410
 
Exit Velocity
90.3 mph
 
Hard Hit Rate
36.1%
 
Barrels/PA
7.8%
 
Expected BA
.267
 
Expected SLG
.519
 
Sprint Speed
22.5 ft/sec
 
Ground Ball %
38.9%
 
Line Drive %
20.8%
 
Fly Ball %
40.3%
 
Advanced Batting Stats
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Additional Stats
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Defensive Stats
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Recent RotoWire Articles Featuring Willson Contreras See More
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41 days ago
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42 days ago
Jeff Stotts discusses the differences in MRIs and X-Rays, with the latter just used for Willson Contreras's recent fractured forearm diagnosis.
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43 days ago
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44 days ago
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44 days ago
A few Cleveland hitters are being recommended against the White Sox on the Saturday DraftKings MLB evening slate.
Past Fantasy Outlooks
2023
2022
2021
2020
2019
2018
2017
2016
Contreras posted a career-high 132 wRC+ which could have been even better, except he had to deal with a multitude of injuries, most notably recurring hamstring and ankle woes. Even so, Contreras managed 487 plate appearances, the third most of his career. Serving as the designated hitter 39 times helped keep Contreras' bat in the lineup when he was hurt. Fueling the career year was a personal-best 21.1% strikeout rate and a career-high 48.6% hard-hit rate. Contreras 21.2% HR/FB was typically high, but a 33% flyball rate limits Contreras' power. Many expected Contreras to be dealt at the trade deadline, but he finished the season with the Cubs before declining their qualifying offer. Contreras signed a five-year, $87.5 million deal with the rival Cardinals and will presumably hit in a favorable spot in a far superior lineup -- the park move was neutral. The top end of the catcher pool is improving, but Contreras still warrants upper tier status.
Contreras is facing an uncertain 2022 given it's the final year of his contract and the Cubs are all but certain to move the veteran catcher. Contreras resumed his power-hitting abilities in 2021, but did so while posting a career-worst 28.6% strikeout rate which pulled his average down to a career-low .237. His plate discipline was mostly consistent with previous efforts and the strikeouts were more correlated to him taking called strikes (16% rate was also a career worst). Sensing a trend here? Being a veteran who was around for the good times only to see all of your friends leave cannot be easy. A new location may not offer the same playing-time guarantees that Contreras enjoys in Chicago. Regardless a change of scenery should serve him well in 2022.
Contreras is capable of better than what he produced at the plate in 2020, as his 109 wRC+, the product of a .243/.356/.407 slash line, represented the second-lowest mark of his five-year career. In the context of a rather weak catcher pool, however, those numbers were perfectly adequate. He chipped in with seven homers, tying him for fourth at the position. His 25.3 K% was the worst mark of his career but was barely worse than his 24.9 K% from 2019. When he did hit the ball, he actually hit it harder than ever before, generating a career-high 47.8% hard-hit rate that helped him to a .441 xSLG. Contreras has pretty much settled into a stable spot in the catcher hierarchy through five big-league seasons, sitting not quite at the top of the pile but not far from it. Since his debut season, he ranks in the top seven among backstops in all five standard fantasy categories.
Contreras was an above-average offensive catcher in 2019 for the third time in four seasons. The one "down" season saw him perform at a league-average level relative to his position. Last year looked a lot like the guy we fell in love with in 2017, which is what owners who bought him on the cheap wanted to see from the catcher. He maintains his excellence against left-handed pitching, but the bounce-back numbers from 2019 came from his resurgence against righties as he improved his OPS against them by 150 points over 2018. The Statcast numbers do not validate the performance as most of Contreras' expected statistics are nearly a full deviation below his actual outcomes from 2019. That's despite the fact his 42% hard-hit rate was easily the best of his four-year career. Bake in some regression in the numbers, but the skills here have proven to be relatively stable even if the outcomes are a bit wonky.
Contreras was one of many disappointing catchers as 2018 was an off year for the position. His primary downfall was a precipitous drop in power, fueled by a plummeting HR/FB mark. Contreras hits over half of his batted balls on the ground so he needs to maintain a lofty HR/FB level to generate power. While some pullback from 2017's 26% was likely, falling to a meek 9% was a shock, though supported by a drop in hard-hit rate in a year where the average rate increased. Contreras' plate skills held steady as did his BABIP, so his batting average drop was due to homers converted to outs. Contreras will be 27 years old this season, so chances are 2018 was more fluke than fact. Expect a power rebound, though capped by a 30% flyball rate. Since he'll remain a bell cow behind the dish, hitting in the meat of the Cubs' order, Contreras is a strong candidate to return top-five backstop status, likely at a discounted price.
Although he was limited to just 117 games last season, mainly due to a hamstring injury which cost him almost a month, Contreras still finished as a top-six catcher in standard formats. He posted a mighty healthy .223 ISO, which would have been a top-50 overall mark in baseball had Contreras logged enough plate appearances to qualify, and he improved both his strikeout (22.9 percent) and walk (10.5 percent) rates from his already strong marks as a rookie. The 25-year-old barrels the ball up consistently and he hits same-handed pitching well, as evidenced by his .273/.347/.486 career line against righties (.292/.379/.514 against lefties). Contreras has established himself as a legitimate middle-of-the-order bat in a good offense, and his ability to play the outfield and first base in a pinch helps pad his counting totals a little more than other starting catchers. Buster Posey may go ahead of Contreras in a lot of drafts, but Contreras could outproduce the veteran in 2018.
After taking a big step forward at the plate during his 2015 campaign at Double-A, Contreras raked at Triple-A Iowa to begin the season and forced his way onto the Cubs' 25-man roster in short order. Especially for a 24-year-old, his performance was impressive, as he continued to show a discerning eye (9.2 percent walk rate) while flashing 20-25 home run pop. Additionally, Contreras proved to be an above-average defender, which should give him the starting job again in 2017 regardless of what the team does with Miguel Montero. Although his overall line fell during the second half, Contreras cut his strikeout rate from 26.9 percent to 22.1 percent during that span. Moreover, Contreras demonstrated the ability to handle righties and lefties, swatting 10 of his 12 homers against the former while maintaining a slightly higher OPS against the latter (.854). Contreras' pop and run-production potential give him a chance to finish as a top-five catcher in 2017.
Contreras spent the whole year with Double-A Tennessee in 2015 and easily had the best season of his professional career. The 23-year-old backstop batted .333 with 75 RBI and 71 runs for the Smokies and has played his way into the Cubs' long-term plans. With Kyle Schwarber possibly sticking in the outfield, another good year in the minors for Contreras could put him in contention for a spot on the 2017 roster. His BB:K ratio was abysmal coming into 2015, but he learned to take pitches last year, and it paid off in spades. That 57:62 BB:K is appealing, especially coming from a catcher, but he'll need to do it again before we should get too excited.
More Fantasy News
Expected back Monday
CSt. Louis Cardinals
Forearm
June 24, 2024
Contreras (forearm) is expected to be activated from the 10-day injured list ahead of Monday's game versus Atlanta, Katie Woo of The Athletic reports.
ANALYSIS
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Could be activated June 24
CSt. Louis Cardinals
Forearm
June 17, 2024
Contreras (forearm) could be activated from the 10-day injured list as soon as next Monday, Katie Woo of The Athletic reports.
ANALYSIS
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Beginning rehab assignment Tuesday
CSt. Louis Cardinals
Forearm
June 16, 2024
Cardinals manager Oliver Marmol said that Contreras (forearm) is likely to begin a rehab assignment Tuesday with either Triple-A Memphis or Double-A Springfield, John Denton of MLB.com reports.
ANALYSIS
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Aiming for return in late June
CSt. Louis Cardinals
Forearm
June 15, 2024
Contreras (forearm) is targeting a return in late June, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.
ANALYSIS
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More BP, then games
CSt. Louis Cardinals
Forearm
June 15, 2024
Contreras (forearm) came out of his Friday's batting practice session with no issues and will repeat the step for the next few days, John Denton of MLB.com reports.
ANALYSIS
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Latest Fantasy Rumors
Not locked in at catcher
CSt. Louis Cardinals
July 17, 2023
Cardinals president of baseball operations John Mozeliak wouldn't commit to Contreras being the team's primary catcher beyond this season when asked Monday, Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
ANALYSIS
Here we go again. Contreras was pulled off catching duty for a short period of time during the first half while he worked on some of the finer points of the position. He has been St. Louis' primary backstop since then, but it would appear the team isn't ready to lock him into the role for the long term yet. Mozeliak noted that the topic would be better revisited over the offseason.
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