All Aboard The Willson Contreras Hype Train (Fantasy Baseball)

Feb 13, 2018

Outside of Gary Sanchez, Cubs catcher Willson Contreras might have more fantasy upside than any other backstop entering the 2018 season.

First, let’s look back at what Contreras did in 2017. For the year he hit .276/.356/.499 to go along with 21 homers, 74 RBI, and even five stolen bases. These are impressive numbers considering he played in only 117 games. The Chicago backstop was on a tear before straining his hamstring, which cost him most of August and the beginning of September. Between the All-Star break and when he went down, Contreras hit .311 with 10 homers in 90 at bats.

Gear up for your draft with our MLB Draft Simulator >>

Heading into this season there’s really no reason to think Contreras can’t repeat his 2017 production. He’s only 25, he’s on a team that scores lots of runs, and he hits behind two on-base machines in Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo. If anything, fantasy players will be able to buy low on Contreras in 2018 drafts since he missed that month. More casual players may have forgotten about him somewhat, or maybe they’re not realizing how productive he was.

I’m not going out on a limb by saying Contreras is a good offensive player. Most everyone knows that. However, one of the big fantasy debates this offseason has revolved around what to do at the catcher position. Sanchez is (probably) going to be the first catcher off the board. Like Contreras, he is young and hits in a great lineup. Sanchez has even more home run upside, though.

This pits Contreras against Buster Posey for who should be the second catcher off the board. The argument for Posey centers entirely around batting average. Posey hit .320 in 2017, which was a good 44 points higher than Contreras. What helps Posey’s case is that in this age of relief pitcher specialization a consistent average hitter is tough to find. Power is more prominent and therefore easier to find in fantasy than it once was.

Still, Contreras doesn’t kill your batting average, and his power potential is a lot higher than that of the 31-year-old San Francisco catcher. Posey’s home run totals have decreased each of the past four years, bottoming out at 12 in 2017. The former MVP is a stable fantasy selection this spring, but right now give me the upside of the younger Contreas as the second catcher off the board.

Brendan Tuma is a correspondent at FantasyPros. To read more from Brendan, follow himĀ @toomuchtuma.

What's your take? Leave a comment

Fantasy Games
FanDuel photo
New players get a free NFL contest every week until they win cash.
Get our Mobile App!

Enter your phone number below, and we'll text you a link to download the app.

1Todd Gurley (LAR)RB
2Saquon Barkley (NYG)RB
3Ezekiel Elliott (DAL)RB
4Kareem Hunt (KC)RB
5Joe Mixon (CIN)RB
6David Johnson (ARI)RB
7Adam Thielen (MIN)WR
8Alvin Kamara (NO)RB
9Julio Jones (ATL)WR
10Christian McCaffrey (CAR)RB
 View all Flex Rankings 
11Tyreek Hill (KC)WR
12A.J. Green (CIN)WR
13Odell Beckham Jr. (NYG)WR
14Sony Michel (NE)RB
15Robert Woods (LAR)WR
16DeAndre Hopkins (HOU)WR
17Brandin Cooks (LAR)WR
18Michael Thomas (NO)WR
19Mike Evans (TB)WR
20Keenan Allen (LAC)WR
21Travis Kelce (KC)TE
22Tevin Coleman (ATL)RB
23Stefon Diggs (MIN)WR
24T.J. Yeldon (JAC)RB
25Jarvis Landry (CLE)WR
26Tyler Boyd (CIN)WR
27James White (NE)RB
28Nick Chubb (CLE)RB
29Austin Ekeler (LAC)RB
30Zach Ertz (PHI)TE
1Mike Trout (LAA)CF,DH
2Mookie Betts (BOS)CF,RF
3Nolan Arenado (COL)3B
4Max Scherzer (WSH)SP
5Jose Altuve (HOU)2B
6Bryce Harper (WSH)CF,RF
7Manny Machado (LAD)3B,SS
8J.D. Martinez (BOS)LF,RF
9Freddie Freeman (ATL)1B,3B
10Charlie Blackmon (COL)CF
 View All Rankings 
11Corey Kluber (CLE)SP
12Jose Ramirez (CLE)2B,3B
13Paul Goldschmidt (ARI)1B
14Francisco Lindor (CLE)SS
15Trea Turner (WSH)SS
16Giancarlo Stanton (NYY)LF,RF
17Carlos Correa (HOU)SS
18Justin Verlander (HOU)SP
19Joey Votto (CIN)1B
20Anthony Rizzo (CHC)1B,2B
21Jacob deGrom (NYM)SP
22Chris Sale (BOS)SP
23Clayton Kershaw (LAD)SP
24George Springer (HOU)CF,RF
25Kris Bryant (CHC)3B,RF
26Luis Severino (NYY)SP
27Andrew Benintendi (BOS)LF,CF
28Aaron Judge (NYY)RF,DH
29Starling Marte (PIT)LF,CF
30Christian Yelich (MIL)LF,CF
1Anthony Davis (NOR)PF,C
2James Harden (HOU)PG,SG
3Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL)SF,PF
4Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN)C
5Kevin Durant (GSW)SF,PF
6LeBron James (LAL)SF,PF
7Stephen Curry (GSW)PG,SG
8Nikola Jokic (DEN)PF,C
9Damian Lillard (POR)PG
10Russell Westbrook (OKC)PG
 View All Rankings 
11Victor Oladipo (IND)PG,SG
12Paul George (OKC)SG,SF
13Joel Embiid (PHI)PF,C
14Kawhi Leonard (TOR)SG,SF
15Chris Paul (HOU)PG
16Jimmy Butler (MIN)SG,SF
17Kemba Walker (CHA)PG
18Kyrie Irving (BOS)PG,SG
19Ben Simmons (PHI)PG,SF
20Jrue Holiday (NOR)PG,SG
21Rudy Gobert (UTH)C
22Andre Drummond (DET)PF,C
23John Wall (WAS)PG
24Kyle Lowry (TOR)PG
25Khris Middleton (MIL)SG,SF
26Donovan Mitchell (UTH)PG,SG
27Bradley Beal (WAS)SG
28Kevin Love (CLE)PF,C
29Draymond Green (GSW)PF,C
30LaMarcus Aldridge (SAS)PF,C
Follow the Pros!

Follow us on Twitter @FantasyPros for exclusive advice and contests