Atlanta Braves 2022 Season Review: William Contreras
Coming into the year, William Contreras’ role on the Atlanta Braves was unknown. Contreras was not even on the major league roster to start the year. The Braves started the year with Travis d’Arnuad and Manny Piña as the two catchers on the roster, leaving William in Triple-A. After Piña suffered a wrist injury in early May that required season-ending surgery, William Contreras was called up and was chosen to be Travis’ backup. Contreras proved that he was far more than just a backup in 2022.
How did William Contreras do in 2022?
I think it’s safe to say that 2022 was William Contreras’ breakout season. In a year when there were essentially zero major league expectations for Contreras, he proved to be a young star in this league. In 376 plate appearances this season, Contreras posted a .860 OPS and 20 homeruns, making him one of only 6 catchers with 20+ homeruns in 2022. His 138 WRC+ and 2.6 bWAR in 2022 also show how impactful he was in the limited time he played. His impressive hitting earned him an all-star selection in the DH spot for the NL, which ended up becoming a starter in the all-star game due to Bryce Harper’s hand injury.
Contreras also killed left-handed pitching this year. Through 116 plate appearances against LHP in 2022, Contreras posted an incredible 1.036 OPS. His numbers against RHP weren’t as good, but still solid, with a .784 OPS through 260 plate appearances.
His defense behind the plate wasn’t great, but not awful either. Contreras had negative one outs above average this year and negative three catcher framing runs. While those numbers aren’t great, there is plenty of room for improvement for the young catcher.
One interesting we saw this year was William Contreras play a game in left field early this year. Before the season, the Braves had William Contreras take some reps in the outfield during spring training. While this more than likely means nothing and Contreras will likely remain behind the plate for the Braves for the foreseeable future, it is something to keep in mind.
What can the Atlanta Braves expect from William Contreras in 2023?
Continued improvement and more reps is really all you can ask for from Wild Bill. 2022 was Contreras’ first year of consistent and significant at-bats and playing time and he proved he deserves to continue that in 2023. Last year I thought Contreras should have been utilized as the Braves’ DH more frequently when he wasn’t catching so I would like to see him get more at-bats at the DH next year.