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Pat Murphy on William Contreras: ‘It’s epic what he’s doing’ to start 2024 season

William Contreras Brewers
Brewers catcher William Contreras has been baseball’s best catcher, and one of the league’s most productive players, through 44 games. (Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports)

Pat Murphy on William Contreras: ‘It’s epic what he’s doing’ to start 2024 season

Only two players in MLB entered Saturday with at least a .350 batting average, 20 extra-base hits, an OPS+ surpassing 175 (75 percent better than league average) and a 2.5 bWAR.

One of those players is Shohei Ohtani, a two-way phenom who signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers for $700 million last offseason; he leads the National League in hits, home runs, batting average, slugging percentage and OPS. The other is Milwaukee Brewers catcher William Contreras, who’s helped buoy the Brewers to a top-3 offense in baseball and eight games above .500.

“Contreras is out of his mind,” Brewers manager Pat Murphy said earlier this week, per Curt Hogg of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “It’s epic what he’s doing every at-bat.”

Contreras, 26, is playing every day at baseball’s most taxing position–and doing it at an exceptionally high level. He entered Saturday with a .353/.430/.543 slash line with six home runs, 34 RBIs, 13 doubles, one triple and 23 walks to just 37 strikeouts. He currently ranks in the 92nd percentile or better in expected batting average, expected slugging, expected weighted on-base average, average exit velocity and hard-hit rate, according to Statcast.

His biggest deficiency has been his framing, but he hasn’t really needed it. He’s got slightly below-average pop time, but has thrown at runners at a 73 percent clip. He has helped the Brewers’ pitching staff be an above-average unit despite trading ace Corbin Burnes to the Orioles mere weeks before the season’s start.

He’s been the best catcher in baseball through the first six weeks of the season. Point. Blank. Period. It’s not every day you get elite offensive production behind the dish–among the best in baseball, at that. If he can continue this torrid pace, the Brewers–who own a two-game lead over the Chicago Cubs for the NL Central crown–could be on their way to the postseason for the sixth time in eight years.

Contextualizing everything that Contreras has done while having not missed a game: Yeah, it is epic what he’s doing.

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