When franchise legend Yadier Molina retired after last season, the Cardinals sought a catcher who would help fill that missing void, and Contreras has definitely filled that.
The Cardinals knew that they were getting a solid-hitting catcher with an above-average throwing arm behind the plate, and someone who could hit behind Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado. After he seemed to gain confidence in the coaching staff to be the everyday catcher, he bounced back from a slow start at the plate and was one of the hottest hitters in baseball in the second half.
In 46 games after the All-Star break, he had a .309/.402/.557 slash line with 10 home runs and 31 RBI, including his last home run that provided the only offense in Adam Wainwright's 200th win. That last home run was his 20th of the season, something he accomplished four times when he was with the Cubs, and he hit that achievement this season while nursing an injury so that he could catch Wainwright's last start.
So Contreras hitting the 20-home run plateau this year puts him in rare company in Cardinals history. At a position that is widely known for defense, not a lot of catchers have been known as prolific power hitters. Here are all the other Cardinal catchers that had a 20+ home runs season before Willson Contreras did so this season.