Lady and gentleman, I present to you proof that your future Cubs catcher is not currently playing left field. You may have realized that already, but that opinion may have been based on the idea that Kyle Schwarber is not a Major Leauge-caliber backstop. Or you may have realized that the Cubs simply have a better option.
Willson Contreras has shot up the prospect rankings as the result of a breakout offensive campaign in 2015 and athleticism that leaves scouts drooling. That’s all well and good, but a majority of fans have little choice but to believe what they read. Now that the potential star is in camp with the Cubs, however, we can all get a good look at the future.
Just look at him throwing out the Dodgers’ Micah Johnson trying to steal second:
Okay, I know what you’re thinking: It’s a pitch-out, man, of course he was able to throw the runner out. Yeah, alright, you’ve got a point. But how about the very next inning, when he gunned down Chase Utley after the vet got lazy at first base?
Yes, Utley is old and slow, but that doesn’t change the fact that Contreras didn’t make an instant snap throw. He received the pitch, surveyed the situation, and then saw the runner straying a bit. He then executed a quarter eagle as smooth as a Swiss watch made of pure silk and quicker than virgin lightning on a dark and stormy prom night and fired a sidearm rocket to chase Chase.
I know I may be wandering into a demilitarized zone of comparisons here, but that move was every bit as viscerally sexy as Javy Baez’s swing. The kid needs to sand down a few burrs in his game, improve the framing and game-calling and so forth, but the talent is there. Oh, the talent is there. Two plays in a Spring Training game do not an All Star make, but it’s impossible to watch this guy’s game and not drool over what he could eventually become. In the midst of all the irrelevant outcomes, it’s moments like these that stand out.
We’ll probably need to wait until at least September to see this replayed at Wrigley, but you can rest assured it’ll be worth it.
Update: after running this post Sunday morning, I was tagged in a tweet that featured the following video:
— Sam B (@smb6789) March 13, 2016
That’s a catcher running, folks.