Rockies Iannetta is Anchor in Catching Role
The Rockies head into Spring Training with the disappointing and injury prone 2008 season in the rear view mirror. One bright spot in the mirror was the play of starting catcher Chris Iannetta who had one of the best seasons as a Rockies catcher.
Iannetta set club records for a catcher with 65 RBIs and .390 on-base percentage and will be representing the United States in the World Baseball Classic. Hopes are high he will again rise to the challenge when he gets back.
The former University of North Carolina catcher and 2004 Rockies 4th round amateur draft pick, first played for the Rockies in 2006 in 21 games after a quick rise through the Minor Leagues.
Iannetta was the starting catcher at the beginning of the 2007 season but lost his job to Yorvit Torrealba after his offensive production was lackluster. Iannetta was sent down to Triple-A Colorado Springs Sky Sox to get some quality at bats and work on his swing. After working on patience at the plate and solidifying his swing, Iannetta was brought back late in ’07 and was part of the Rockies dramatic run to the World Series.
Last season Iannetta was again the backup catcher and was given the chance to start with injuries to Torrealba. After taking over the starting position he has yet to give it back.
The Rockies are looking to solidify the bottom of the line up where Iannetta hit most of 2008. He hit .264 in 333 at bats and with a high on-base percentage can be a valuable asset in scoring runs and assisting in RBI production.
Defensively, Iannetta has a strong arm and the ability to throw out runners. He threw out 12 runners and allowed 41 stolen bases. He had a perfect fielding percentage and a low number of passed balls with 6 in 104 games played in ‘08.
Should Iannetta falter, the Rockies can rely on the veteran Torrealba. In his three seasons with the Rockies, Torrealba has played in 248 games and handles the staff well. He has averaged a .250 batting average in his time with the team, and an on-base hovering around .300
By Tom Walsh
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