Writing these sorts of posts is always difficult. And by “these sorts of posts,” I mean ones that can be interpreted as uber-negative, especially when the player in question is beloved and respected by so many fans. But here we go…
No other MLB catcher has cost their team more runs due to framing than Willson Contreras (-14.9 runs). Granted, no other MLB catcher has also played as many innings as Contreras. But even when scaling framing runs per chance, Contreras’ score is lower than 93 percent of all MLB catchers.
Despite the poor framing scores, Willson has been one of the most difficult catchers against whom to run. You also won’t find a quicker catcher in the game, one who can pounce on bunts and softly hit grounders. FanGraphs even ranks his overall defensive value as best in MLB among catchers.
Clearly, the good outweighs the bad. Throughout most of the season and his career, he’s been an offensive force who will nail down runners trying to steal or taking a big lead. His biggest bugaboo, however, has been unsuccessfully stealing strikes for his battery mates. If or when Contreras hones his pitch framing skills, he’ll undoubtedly become not just one of the league’s most valuable catchers but players in general.