Across the MLB, there are a few players at each position who everyone looks up to, in a constant race to make themselves better.
For pitchers, it's Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer. For outfielders, it's Mike Trout. For infielders, it's dirt dogs like Dustin Pedroia.
The catchers people look up to are Yadier Molina and Buster Posey. Bar none, no argument. They're two of the best in the game right now and they've been performing well for years.
For Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras, he's not just looking up to them. He's looking past them. In fact, he thinks he's going to be in a league of his own one day.
When asked at the Cubs Convention about his development this season and beyond, Contreras confidently declared that he will be better than both of those veteran catchers.
How confident is #Cubs catcher Willson Contreras? He's thinking All-Star Game in 2018 and talking in best-catcher-in-baseball terms. Re: Buster Posey and Yadi Molina: "I know that I'm going to be better than them." https://t.co/upqt6rfen2 via @suntimes— Steve Greenberg (@SLGreenberg) January 13, 2018
Those are strong words. It's good to be confident, but those are some tall orders to live up to.
In 2017, Contreras batted .276 with 21 home runs. In comparison, Yadi hit .273 with 18 home runs and Posey hit .320 with 12 home runs.
He's up there right now, but it will take some work if he wants to get to both their levels both offensively and defensively, especially on a consistent basis.
But he's got one thing going for him: I doubt either of the other dudes can hit a ball off the scoreboard at Wrigley.
Contreras is just 25 years old and has a world of potential. But he'll need to trend upwards for many years if he wants to be looked at along with the greats.