Catcher hits five homers, drives in 13 runs in six games
By Joe Trezza
Willson Contreras is making a name for himself during what has become a breakout sophomore season in Chicago, where he is swiftly grown into one of the best two-way catchers in the sport. He punctuated that growth last week with a torrid seven-day stretch that earned Contreras the National League Player of the Week honors Monday.
"Personally, it feels great," Contreras said before the Cubs' series opener in San Francisco. "It feels amazing. It means a lot to me and my family. It'll only motivate me to do more to help the team."
Contreras' bat was scalding last week, over which he collected four multihit games against two of the NL's best teams. Contreras went 10-for-22 (.454) overall, with five home runs and 13 RBIs. He hit two homers and drove in six against the D-backs on Thursday, then homered three times over the weekend against the Nationals.
After the week ended, Contreras led all Major League catchers in RBIs (70) and slugging (.532), and he was tied for the lead in homers (21) -- to go along with one of the game's strongest arms behind the plate.
Contreras entered Monday tied with Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton for most home runs since the All-Star break with 10.
"I can't believe it, to be honest," Contreras told MLB.com on Sunday. "I can't believe it. To be able to put a good swing on a fastball and good pitches -- I'm not out there trying to hit homers. I'm trying to put the barrel on the ball, and it just goes."
Contreras is the first Cubs player to win Player of the Week honors this season, and first since Kyle Hendricks in August of last year.
"I anticipate something like this can even propel him even more right now," Cubs manager Joe Maddon said.
Joe Trezza is a reporter for MLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @joetrezz. MLB.com's Roger Schlueter contributed research to this report. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.