As confident as Cubs catcher Willson Contreras feels about his chances for a big 2018, he’s not predicting an All-Star selection, an MVP award or that he’s going to lead the National League in throwing guys out on the bases. What he does feel sure about is this: He won’t lead the league in ejections, no matter what he said last week about Major League Baseball’s new restrictions on visits to the mound. ‘‘I just want to [make it] clear that I didn’t say I’m [ignoring] the rules; I’m going to follow the rules,’’ said Contreras, whose first reaction last week was to suggest the six-visit limit per nine innings wouldn’t stop him from going to the mound any time he wanted to. ‘‘I’ll make my adjustments, and we will follow the rules. ‘‘I didn’t know [last week] that when the game goes to extra innings, we have an extra mound visit. Now I know, and we’ll see throughout the season what’s going to happen.’’ For a catcher who was among the most frequent visitors to the mound last season, Contreras’ initial reaction to the limit seemed like a threat to the major-league ejections record — and to his 2018 MVP candidacy. Contreras isn’t thinking about things such as MVPs in his second full season in the majors, but that doesn’t stop others from thinking about it. Not after that torrid surge out of the All-Star break last season that ended only because of a hamstring injury Aug. 9.
How Willson Contreras could become the Cubs’ next serious MVP candidate
Chicago Sun-Times | Feb 27