Blue Chip Stocks:
Willson Contreras: The first time All-Star had a great showing at the plate this week, one that perhaps propelled him into becoming the starting catcher for the Senior Circuit in the Mid-Summer Classic. Willy went 7-for-14 with two doubles, a home run, and three walks, amounting to a .500/.588/.857 (282 wRC+) line. Contreras ranks second among all Major League catchers with a 2.6 fWAR, and I think I can speak for everyone when I say his All-Star selection couldn’t have happened to a nicer person.
Come from Behind Victories: During this past eight-game home stand, the Cubs trailed in all eight games, despite going 7-1. The Cubs lead all of baseball with 25 come from behind victories, and this team is quickly becoming reminiscent of the 2016 team. These Cubs truly never quit.
Javier Baez: The other All-Star game starter that will be wearing a Cubs hat, Baez had an electric week at the plate and on the base paths. In 22 at-bats this week, Javy had eight hits, including a double, a home run, and four runs batted in. El Mago also stole three bases this past week, including his second steal of home this season. Baez’s season line sits at .295/.328/.565 with a 132 wRC+, and a .270 ISO, which ranks first among all qualified second basemen. Baez also has 16 stolen bases this year, which is second to only Dee ‘Flash’ Gordon for second basemen. Like Contreras, the selection of Baez is justified, and he will
probably be the most entertaining player on the field come July 17.
Victor Caratini: Caratini was understandably upset after he was optioned down to Iowa to bring up veteran backstop Chris Gimenez. All Caratini did was rake in Iowa to the tune of a .313/.409/.478 line, and he quickly made his way back to Chicago after Gimenez was DFA’d. Caratini has the tools to be one of the best backup catchers in baseball for the Cubs, or he could also be an attractive trade piece here in the next few weeks. Whatever team he finds himself on come August 1, that team will not only have a standup professional, but also a very solid catcher.
David Bote: Like Caratini, Bote could be used a trade piece here in the next few weeks. In just 17 games this season in a Cubs uniform, Bote has batted .294/.395/.441 with a 120 wRC+ and has already been worth 0.4 fWAR. McBoteface could be the heir apparent to Ben Zobrist after next season, providing Joe Maddon with his coveted Swiss army knife player.
Pitching to Billy Hamilton: For whatever reason, Billy Hamilton always seems to be Kryptonite every time the Cubs play the Reds. In 43 plate appearances against the Cubs this year, Hamilton is hitting .324/.419/.378 with seven stolen bases and a 124 wRC+. Against all other opponents that don’t call Wrigley Field home, Hamilton is batting .26/.295/.305 with a 65 wRC+. Whatever the Cubs scouting report against Hamilton is, it needs to be shredded and turned into confetti.
Anthony Rizzo: It was a brutal week at the plate for Rizzo, going 3-for-20 with three singles and three runs batted in. Rizzo’s .158/.200/.158 line was worth a -3 wRC+. Here’s to hoping Anthony can get it going after the All-Star Break, where he has a lifetime 121 wRC+.