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July 2018
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National League Player of the Week honors goes to Cubs catcher Willson Contreras

Willson Contreras in catching gear 2016 By Minda Haas Kuhlmann on Flickr, CC BY 2.0, https

Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras has been named the National League Player of the Week for the period ending August 6th. The announcement was made earlier today on MLB Network.

All-Star first baseman Paul Goldschmidt (.435, 5 XBH, 11 RBI) of the Arizona Diamondbacks also posted an impressive week. In Thursday’s game against the Cubs, Goldschmidt recorded his first career three-home run game and collected six RBI. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, joined by Willson’s six-RBI effort, the contest marked the first game since RBI became an official statistic in 1920 that each Club’s cleanup hitter tallied six-or-more RBI in a single game. Other noteworthy performances last week included All-Star first baseman Joey Votto (.474, 4 XBH, 7 RBI, 5 BB) of the Cincinnati Reds; newly acquired starting pitcher Yu Darvish (1-0, 0.00 ERA, 7.0 IP, 10 SO) of the Los Angeles Dodgers; and second baseman César Hernández (.393, 6 R, 11 H, 3 SB) of the Philadelphia Phillies.

In recognition of his National League Player of the Week Award, Willson Contreras will be awarded a watch courtesy of Rockwell.

Contreras batted .455 (10-for-22) with six runs scored, a double, five home runs and 13 RBI to claim his first career NL Player of the Week Award. Among his NL counterparts, Willson finished the period first in home runs, extra-base hits (6), RBI, total bases (26) and slugging percentage (1.182); second in batting average; tied for second in hits; tied for fourth in runs scored; and sixth in on-base percentage (.478). This is Chicago’s first Player of the Week Award this season, and Contreras is the first Cubs position player to take home weekly honors since his teammate and three-time All-Star Anthony Rizzo on July 20, 2014.

On Thursday afternoon against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Wrigley Field, Contreras went 3-for-5 with a pair of home runs and six RBI. The multi-homer output was the second of his career, while the six RBI established a new career best. The Puerto Cabello, Venezuela native continued his impressive week with another multi-hit performance on Saturday against the Washington Nationals. The 25-year-old clubbed his 19th round-tripper on the season and plated three runs in Chicago’s 7-4 victory over the Nationals. In Chicago’s final game of the week yesterday against Washington, Willson logged his second multi-homer game over a four-game span (third career), reaching 21 home runs on the campaign. The sophomore slugger became the sixth Cubs backstop since 1901 to notch 20 home runs in a single season, joining Geovany Soto (2008), Rick Wilkins (1993), Jody Davis (1983, 86), Dale Long (1958) and Gabby Harnett (1925, 30, 34), who is the only catcher in team history to accomplish the feat in three seasons. Since the All-Star break, Contreras has slashed .346/.414/.782 with 15 runs scored, 27 hits, four doubles, 10 home runs and 29 RBI across 20 games played. Among all Major League hitters since the All-Star break, Willson enters play today first in RBI and slugging percentage, and tied for first in home runs (also Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton). Led in large part by their young catcher’s hot bat, the 2016 World Series Champion Cubs now sit atop the NL Central with a 58-52 (.527) record.