Yo, Willson Contreras is smashing opposing pitchers. His overall stat line doesn’t suggest he’s been on fire, but the raw data darn well does.
Going into Monday’s snow storm, the man they call “Killer” was laying pitches to rest with an average exit velocity of 98.5 mph. That’s tops in MLB (min 40 PA), even better than Bryce Harper’s 96.3 mph. And Harper has been on an absolute tear so far with six homers.
The difference between the current and future Cubs, though, is that Harper is launching baseballs at an average of 19 degrees, whereas Contreras has only 12 degrees of loft. Still, that early launch angle is three times better than last year.
As my good friend Aaron Kennelly pointed out on Twitter, Contreras’s recent success was heavily driven by his at-bats in Milwaukee.
Of those 12 balls in play, Willson hit 9 of them at launch angles between 10° and 38°, which is where basically all power and line drives come in at. Willson's hit 5 balls that were "barreled" according to Baseball Savant (all in the last series). The league high is 6.
— Aaron Kennelly (@aaron_kennelly) April 9, 2018
Just give him a little more time and all of this should translate to an extraordinary amount of extra-base knocks. As for those baseballs that would dare enter his wheelhouse in the future, Contreras has a stern message…
whomever Willson was beefing with in the opposing dugout, he was NOT mincing words. pic.twitter.com/DFBwEx4UHQ
— Randall J. Sanders (@RandallJSanders) April 8, 2018