Willson Contreras caught 43 more innings (1109.2) than any other MLB catcher last season and experienced a dramatic offensive drop-off after opening the season with MVP hype. Naturally, everyone blamed Contreras’ excessive time behind the dish for his cratering production down the stretch.
Joe Maddon, however, thinks the fatigue was “more mental than physical” in 2018.
Maddon reviewed Contreras’ 2018 schedule, said he started only four consecutive games once. Said fatigue was more mental than physical.
— Mark Gonzales (@MDGonzales) February 18, 2019
But Maddon is actually incorrect about his primary catcher’s usage. As several have pointed out, Contreras started four consecutive games five times last season, not just once as Maddon stated.
Huh? I count five times Willson caught four complete games in four days:
Also caught parts of 9 straight days in late June (7 full gms).
He caught more innings than anyone in baseball, and ~ 150 more innings than a typical starter. https://t.co/ATlo8z5nLa
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) February 18, 2019
It’s possible that Maddon simply got the wrong information or that he either misunderstood or misspoke. After all, he defers to the “nerds” when it comes to crunching the numbers. And the Cubs have an incredible stats team that has developed several proprietary tools just for Maddon (e.g., his iPad lineup tool).
And maybe Maddon is treading lightly after former Cardinals manager Mike Matheny suggested Yadier Molina was physically fatigued. While any normal person would take such a statement in stride, Yadi got big mad and took to social media to denounce his manager’s words.
So there are some potential explanations for why Maddon said Contreras was more mentally gassed than physically, including the possibility that he misspoke or received wrong data. I don’t know. It’s just really weird for Maddon to be that wrong about Contreras’ playing time, ya know?