Ranking who deserves blame for the Cardinals' issues with Willson Contreras

St. Louis Cardinals v Chicago Cubs
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#4 - Willson Contreras

Yes, Contreras needs to own some of the issues that have arisen with the Cardinals pitching this year, but I'm honestly not sure what else he could have done to fix that so far this year.

It's hard to completely ignore the statistical differences between when Andrew Knizner catches versus when Contreras catches. Going into May 7th, the Cardinals' pitching had a 3.84 ERA with Knizner behind the plate and a 5.30 ERA when Contreras was catching. It's a small sample size and hard to approximate the circumstances for each game, but those are major differences.

The underlying catching numbers show those differences as well. Knizner ranks in the 80th percentile in framing, while Contreras ranks in the 35th percentile in 2023. If you look at the strike percentage, Knizner ranks 17th in baseball, and Contreras rants 36th.

But even with those statistics, I don't really blame Contreras for that. He's learning a brand new staff, replacing a Hall of Fame legend, and wasn't supposed to be a great defensive catcher anyways. And even so, Contreras has committed to getting better regardless.

Contreras shares a bit of the blame, but it does not measure up to the other parties involved.