Greetings … and some Chris Iannetta talk

I’m settled into my housing. I’ve hung up all my clothes. Somewhere, my mom and dad are smiling.

Just outside of my window are two dogs, and adult and a pup. The pup is leaping and dashing and otherwise trying to impress the big dog. Every now and then, the pup wants to wrestle but ends up getting a big, stay-in-your-place bite on the ear. Somewhere in there is an analogy about Spring Training and position battles, but I’ll leave that to the poets.

Anyhow, thanks for the comments on the last blog. Remember, the people you usually read blogs from are the experts at this. I’m just a puppy at this forum. So pet me or hit me with the rolled up newspaper.

On to a question, from Scott T. Myers:

There is a lot of uncertainty with the heart of our lineup. Why is catcher Chris Iannetta not ever spoken about being consistently in the 3-5 range in the linuep? I know he has not proven his power for a long time, but neither has anyone else in our lineup. His 18 bombs last year should not be overlooked. Thoughts?

Iannetta’s 2008 was one of the best in Rockies history for a catcher. A couple of stats stuck out — the 65 RBIs and .390 on-base percentage were club records. The big one might have been the number of games he played, 104. There’s a theory that 100 games is optimal for a catcher with the Rockies, since playing at Coors Field can be taxing because the number of games that are a combination of lengthy and intense is higher than at other parks. So, the key is having a strong No. 2 catcher to make sure that the main guy doesn’t wear himself out late in the season.

That being the case, 62 games or something around that seems to be a large number of games not to have a heart-of-the-order guy in the lineup by design. For me, that would be an effective argument against putting Iannetta or any other Rockies catcher in those key spots. They have Yorvit Torrealba and are paying him $4 million, so he’ll play some.

For me, also, it’s a philosophical question. For a catcher, defense is the No. 1 job and trying to work a pitching staff through a season in such a difficult park makes it even more so. Putting the catcher in the heart of the order sends a contrary message in my way of thinking.

If Iannetta continues to reach base consistently and drive in runs, putting him low in the order could satisfy one of the philosophies general manager Dan O’Dowd wanted to put in place when he got the job — at a time when the Blake Street Bombers had just broken up. He felt long, productive innings were as important as home runs in putting pressure on the opposition. Having such a dependable guy lower in the order helps keep innings going, as long as someone makes up for the loss of Matt Holliday in the middle of the order.

Once more, keep those comments and questions coming.

 

3 Comments

Well, I’ve gotta say, Chris Iannetta was on my fantasy team last year, and if he hadn’t been I never would have noticed how well he was doing. I don’t think I ever took him out of my lineup over the whole season.
I don’t think I would personally put him in the heart of the order, though, for the same reason you suggest. I think Tony LaRussa was on to something with that whole pitcher-batting-8th thing. But if Tulo and Todd are healthy and Garrett is his normal self, we might be looking at a significantly better year than last year.
Kylie — http://kylie.mlblogs.com

Hey Tom,
Welcome to MLBlogs! It’s great hearing the opinions and perspectives from pro writers, seeing that I want to go into the baseball writing industry myself one day. How does the Rockies bullpen look without Brian Fuentes?
-Elizabeth
http://redsoxgirl46.mlblogs.com

Tom- I read your projected batting order on the website, one of my favorite things to do is come up with a projected batting order. Mine is a little different than yours, I’ve got Barmes batting second, putting Seth Smith in at eighth, and Iannetta and Tulo interchangeable at sixth and seventh. I think Iannetta and Barmes both had a great season last year, Barmes especially. Maybe it was Tulo’s injuries last year that plagued him with some not-so-special numbers, that’s mostly my thought.
I’m still really excited that you’re on here!
Emily
http://deconstructingthoughts.mlblogs.com/

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