— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) August 4, 2019
Contreras’ recovery timeline will not be known until he undergoes an MRI on Monday. If his hamstring strain is similar to the one in 2017, he could be out until early September.
A moderate hamstring strain sidelined Willy from August 11 to September 10 in 2017. After returning, Willson immediately contributed offensively by batting .289 with a .366 wOBA in 50 plate appearances. But despite productivity after his injury, Contreras only hit one double and didn’t hit a homer.
I’m hoping Willy’s injury is a “grade one strain” that would only keep him out for two to three weeks. He was at least able to walk off the field under his own power on Saturday, whereas he was helped off the field in 2017 when he injured the same hamstring.
The Cubs will absolutely miss Willy’s .371 wOBA and 129 wRC+ bat in the lineup. Victor Caratini will likely most start in replacement. In 136 plate appearances this season, Vic’s wOBA is .348, wRC+ is 115, and ranks 28th of 100 qualified catchers in runs framed (1.9).
The Cubs might go outside the organization to bolster their catching depth, but Taylor Davis could be a formidable option. In 216 plate appearances in AAA, Davis batted .250 with a 13.9% walk rate and 14.8% strikeout rate. His overall wOBA was .323, but that was only worth an 82 wRC+ in the hitter-friendly PCL. Davis is nevertheless respected for his defensive competency and especially his ability to receive pitches.
We’ll hopefully have an exact timeline for Contreras’ return after his MRI results are released later on Monday. The injury is undoubtedly a blow to the Cubs, but fortunately, Caratini has been playing plus defense and contributing offensively the entire season.