Contreras enjoyed a breakout 2015 followed by a loud and impressive Arizona Fall League performance last fall. Those performances culminated in his ranking as the second-best catching prospect in all of baseball to start this spring. It’s been more of the same to start 2016, with the offensive-minded backstop slashing an impressive .429/.474/.543 through his first ten games of the year. Not only does Contreras show an ability to work for his pitch and drive it, there’s good juice in the barrel helping to project the stick to solid-average playable power at maturity, and perhaps a tick more.
Behind the dish, Contreras is still refining his actions and smoothing out his receiving. After showing progress in 2015, and showing further growth thus far this spring, it’s no longer considered a question as to whether or not the former third baseman will stick behind the plate, but rather how long it will be before he is comfortable enough to handle big league arms on the regular. There is no need to rush Contreras at this point, and the Cubs will give the promising young backstop plenty of time to grow his defensive chops in Iowa before being tasked with a big league assignment. –Nick J. Faleris