When the Braves signed Contreras for just $10,000 in February 2015, it was right before his older brother Willson had a breakout season as a Cubs catching prospect en route to establishing himself as one of the better young backstops in the game. William has all the tools to follow in his footsteps, and the Braves added him to the 40-man roster after the 2019 season because of that upside, but he still has a ways to go in order to get there.
After a nice step forward in his full-season debut in 2018, Contreras back slid at the start of 2019 in terms of consistency in the Florida State League. The Braves sensed he needed to be challenged, so they moved him up to Double-A and he responded with a much higher level of play and focus. He has the skillset to be an outstanding defender, with a strong arm, good hands and excellent agility, but needs to show up for every pitch and he did cut down on those bad innings behind the plate once he moved up a level.
Contreras also needs to keep working on his game plan at the plate. He can try to do too much at times and gave away at-bats too much, though he did have better plate appearances with better pitching in Double-A, and there’s still raw power for him to tap into. He has everything a team would want from a well-rounded big league starting catcher. He just needs to continue to work to employ those tools more consistently at the upper levels in order to reach his ceiling.
Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 45 | Run: 40 | Arm: 55 | Field: 50 | Overall: 50
Having MLB bloodlines can be a very good thing. And there's no question that Contreras, the younger brother of Cubs catcher Willson Contreras, has some of the attributes that have made his older brother a big league regular. While Contreras the younger had a very successful first taste of full-season ball as a South Atlantic League All-Star in 2018, there's also been the flip side of that bloodlines coin, where he's fallen into the trap of believing he can do everything his more established sibling can.
Contreras has all of the tools to be a very successful all-around catcher at the big league level. While he is a bit of a free swinger and sometimes attacks pitches out of the zone more than he should, he has shown the ability to make hard contact and draw walks while relatively limiting his strikeouts. He's starting to come into a little more power as he learns what he needs to adjust at the plate, and the Braves were pleased that he was making those adjustments in his offseason work. Defensively, he's always had a strong arm and has plenty of agility to be a good blocker and receiver.
The biggest thing Contreras needs to learn is that there is a process to becoming a finished product behind the plate, like his brother. As he starts to buy into building the foundation of being able to be a complete receiver, and not think he's already like his older brother, the more he'll be able to develop into the big league starter the Braves envision.
Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 40 | Run: 40 | Arm: 55 | Field: 50 | Overall: 50
The younger brother of Cubs catcher Willson Contreras, William has shown some of the same tools as his sibling as he's started his pro career. Signed back in February 2015, he's moved one station at a time, making his United States debut in 2016 after starting in the Dominican Summer League, then showing good progress in a step up to the Rookie-level Appalachian League in 2017.
While he might not be quite as dynamic as his brother, Contreras is an athletic backstop with intriguing skills on both sides of the ball. He has a strong arm and agility that helps him with blocking and receiving. He runs well for a catcher and has shown a solid approach at the plate, with a solid walk rate and the ability to hit the ball hard to all fields. He might jump on a first-pitch fastball for a home run in one at-bat, then lace a two-strike double to right-center in the next. He can get wild with his swing at times, and while he takes aggressive hacks at breaking stuff, he's also shown an ability to recognize spin.
Bloodlines are always a plus, and there are similarities to his brother in many facets of the game. Contreras has the chance to be an everyday catcher, but he has a long way to go to get there.