LOS ANGELES — Cubs catcher Willson Contreras is heading to the 2022 All-Star Game as a starter, beating out the Braves’ Travis d’Arnaud, Major League Baseball announced Friday. It’s the third such honor of his career.
Contreras entered Friday leading National League catchers in most categories, including batting average (.274), on-base percentage (.392), slugging percentage (.498) and wins above replacement (2.9), according to FanGraphs. Contreras was also tied for first with Dodgers catcher Will Smith in walk rate (11.3 %) and home runs (13).
This All-Star appearance could be Contreras’ last as a Cub. He’s in his final year of club control, the trade deadline is nearing and speculation about his future continues to swirl. But last week, Contreras said representing the Cubs for a third time “means everything to me.”
Contreras, 30, has been a Cub for almost half his life. The club signed him out of Venezuela in 2009, when he was a 17-year-old third baseman.
The process of converting to catcher, which he began in 2012, prolonged Contreras’ time in the minors. But when he debuted in 2016, he was just in time to contribute to a World Series title.
Two years later, he was named an All-Star starter for the first time. And in 2019, he became the first Cubs catcher since Gabby Hartnett in the 1930s to start in consecutive All-Star Games.