The kids are alright.
The Chicago Cubs are the best team in baseball, sitting pretty at 47-20, and have the best collection of young talent in baseball with a core of Jake Arrieta, Anthony Rizzo, Addison Russell, Kris Bryant and more.
Yet, the Cubs aren’t done adding to that collection just yet. Catcher Willson Contreras will be making his first start behind the plate tonight against the rival St. Louis Cardinals.
Here is tonight's #Cubs starting lineup.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) June 20, 2016
Contreras was called up Thursday, with catcher Tim Federowicz being designated for assignment. Willson got his first plate appearance Sunday Night on Father’s Day and promptly ripped a homerun on the first pitch he saw for his first MLB hit of his career.
Tonight Contreras is slotted in the five hole behind first baseman Anthony Rizzo and ahead of third baseman Javier Baez. Willson was ranked as ESPN’s Keith Law’s 27th best prospect and MLB.com’s 50th.
Within the organization, MLB.com ranks him as the 10th best, behind guys like Billy McKinney and Albert Amora. In Triple A, Willson Contreras had a .350 average with 9 homeruns, 23 RBI and 28 walks in 58 games. He’s seen as a real two-way threat with an above average arm behind the plate, due mostly to being a converted third baseman.
With the Cubs having three catchers on the roster – with Miguel Montero and David Ross being the other two – it’s to be seen how much playing time that Contreras will get on a regular basis. Still, if he continues to hit like he did to begin his Cubs career, Joe Maddon will undoubtedly find a way to put the youngster in the lineup consistently.