Cubs’ Willson Contreras leads NL catchers in Phase 1 All-Star voting

PITTSBURGH – Initial polls are in, with good news for Cubs catcher Willson Contreras.

Major League baseball released its first update on All-Star voting Tuesday, and Contreras leads National League catchers with 801,630 votes. He’s already put some space between him and the Braves’ Travis d’Arnaud (471,921) at No. 2 in the race, and the Cardinals’ Yadier Molina (454,685) at No. 3.

Contreras is already a two-time All-Star. And this year, his numbers are generally on par or slightly better than they were at this point, 67 games into the season, in his All-Star 2017 and 2018 seasons. He also leads the Cubs in on-base percentage (.393) and slugging (.524).

It’s well documented how much Contreras has improved his framing in recent years. And he’d taken a more prominent mentorship role on this young Cubs team this season.

Voting for Phase 1 closes on June 30, and the top two vote-getters in each position – and top six outfielders – advance to Phase 2.

This year, the most popular player in each league after Phase 1 automatically claims a starting spot in the All-Star Game. Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge (1,512,368) and Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts (1,446,050) are on pace to claim those Phase 2 byes.

Cubs trade Stout

The Cubs announced Tuesday that they’d traded left-hander Eric Stout to the Pirates for a cash consideration. The Cubs designated Stout for assignment last week to clear a spot on the roster for Adrian Sampson, another multi-inning reliever.

Before being DFA’d, Stout provided that length for the Cubs in two games against the Padres, allowing a total of two runs in 3 2/3 innings.

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