Cubs’ Jake Arrieta: Willson Contreras’ ‘Transformation Has Been Night And Day’

(CBS) Following the retirement of veteran leader David Ross in the offseason, one of the key storylines for the defending champion Cubs this season is how second-year pro Willson Contreras will fare as the everyday catcher. The Cubs have one of the league’s best staffs, but the pitchers are also full of some idiosyncrasies, be it with their physical skills, habits or personalities.

In the mind of right-hander Jake Arrieta, it’s been so far, so good for Contreras. Arrieta joined Dan Bernstein and Laurence Holmes on 670 The Score on Friday afternoon and explained why.

“The transformation he’s made has really been night and day,” said Arrieta, who threw six innings of one-run ball in a win at St. Louis on Tuesday with Contreras behind the plate. “He seems so comfortable behind the plate and in the box now. He doesn’t look a second-year player. He’s really playing beyond his years.”

Starting in spring training, the Cubs’ pitching staff made it a point to have constant communication with the 24-year-old Contreras and also show patience along the way.

“That responsibility falls on all of the pitchers as a whole. It starts in in spring training, starting to develop the relationship with bullpen sessions and conversations we have before and after those sides. That just helps build confidence amongst the entire group. It’s a tough job as a young catcher to come into a big league clubhouse and have the responsibility of learning and understanding 13 different pitchers. There’s a lot on your plate.

“You got to give him a lot of credit for being really willing to learn and handle a lot of information.”

Watch & Listen LIVE