We’ve been hearing about a potential breakout for Rockies catcher Chris Iannetta for quite some time and it hasn’t happened yet. That doesn’t mean you should give up on him. He turns 28 in April and is finally going to get the chance to be the full-time catcher. He came to the majors in 2006 and had just 77 at-bats. Since then the most at-bats Iannetta has had in a season are 333 at-bats.
I thought it was very perplexing the way the Rockies handled Iannetta last season. The Rockies signed Iannetta to a three-year deal that would indicate faith in him as the starting catcher. Iannetta got off to a terrible start and was sent down to the minor leagues after Miguel Olivo started well. Olivo is now with the Mariners and Iannetta will be the No. 1 catcher going into the season and Rockies manager Jim Tracy said it’s Iannetta’s job to lose.
Iannetta will strike out often, but he draws walks, too. He batted .197 in 188 at-bats last year, but a low Batting Average of Balls in Play (BABIP) of .212 indicates his average won’t be that low again. He hit nine home runs last season and has always shown good power. He hit 16 home runs in 2009 and 18 in 2008. He hits a lot of fly balls and plays in a good hitting environment, so the power will be there.
The upside is there for Iannetta and in some leagues you may be able to draft him as a No. 2 catcher and I wouldn’t be against having him as your No. 1 catcher. If he gets more than 400 at-bats, there’s no doubt he will hit at least 20 home runs.
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