Cubs’ Willson Contreras leads NL catchers in All-Star voting’s first phase

Contreras is expected to claim his third All-Star selection this year.

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Catcher Willson Contreras leads the Cubs in on-base percentage (.393) and slugging (.524).

Catcher Willson Contreras leads the Cubs in on-base percentage (.393) and slugging (.524).

Justin Casterline/Getty Images

PITTSBURGH — Initial polls are in, and there’s good news for Cubs catcher Willson Contreras.

MLB released its first update on All-Star voting Tuesday, and Contreras leads National League catchers with 801,630 votes. He already has put some space between himself and the Braves’ Travis d’Arnaud (471,921) and the Cardinals’ Yadier Molina (454,685).

Contreras is a two-time All-Star. This year, his numbers are generally on par or slightly better than they were at this point — 67 games into the season — in his 2017 and 2018 All-Star seasons. He also leads the Cubs in on-base percentage (.393) and slugging (.524).

“He’s been as good as I’ve ever seen him in so many aspects,” manager David Ross said. “His leadership, his guidance with the young guys, the way he’s handled the [pitching] staff, the way he’s gone about his baserunning, maturing and emotionally, big hits, [hitting to] all fields. The strikeouts and the ground balls — all those sorts [of things] — are down.

“He’s one of the better players, I think, in the league from what I’m getting to watch on a daily basis.”

Voting for Phase 1 closes June 30, and the top two vote-getters at each position — and top six outfielders — advance to Phase 2.

This year, the most popular player in each league after Phase 1 automatically claims a starting spot in the All-Star Game.

Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge (1,512,368) and Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts (1,446,050) are on pace to claim those Phase 2 byes.

The other Cubs in the top 10 in their position groups, or top 20 for outfielders, are third baseman Patrick Wisdom (No. 8), shortstop Nico Hoerner (No. 10) and outfielder Ian Happ (No. 17).

Cubs trade Stout

The Cubs traded left-hander Eric Stout to the Pirates for cash considerations.

They designated Stout for assignment last week to clear a spot on the roster for Adrian Sampson, another multi-inning reliever.

Before being DFA’d, Stout provided that length for the Cubs in two games against the Padres, allowing two runs in 3⅔ innings.

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