Cubs’ Willson Contreras named All-Star ballot finalist, lobbies for Ian Happ

Cubs catcher Willson Contreras was asked to imagine on Thursday what a third All-Star start would mean to him.

“It would be nice for me, my family and the city of Chicago, who have my back and support [me],” Contreras said Thursday. “And doing it with the Cubs also, it means everything to me.”

Contreras likely won’t have to imagine it much longer. Major League Baseball announced the 2022 All-Star ballot finalists on Thursday, including Contreras, who led National League catchers in Phase 1 with 2,146,343 votes.

The second phase of voting runs July 5-8, and Contreras will be going up against Braves catcher Travis d’Arnaud for the NL starting spot behind the plate.

No other Cubs were named finalists, but Contreras’ brother William, a catcher and designated hitter for the Braves, is competing against the Phillies’ Bryce Harper for the NL DH spot in Phase 2. Harper is the favorite to win but recently underwent surgery on his broken left thumb and will need a replacement in the All-Star Game.

“I’m not thinking about it yet because a lot of things can change from now until then,” Willson Contreras said of the possibility of playing with his brother in the All-Star Game. “But if we can make it together, I’m sure that we will both enjoy it a lot, and my family would be really proud.”

The pitchers and reserves for both sides are determined through player ballots and Commissioners Office selections, so the Cubs could end up sending more than just Contreras and athletic trainer PJ Manville.

“The work [outfielder Ian Happ’s] done this year is impressive,” Contreras said, pointing to Happ’s breakout stats. “And I 100% know that he deserves to be there with me.”

Entering play Thursday, Happ ranked No. 4 in FanGraph’s wins above replacement among NL outfielders.

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