With Miguel Olivo off to the Mariners, 27-year old righty swinging Chris Iannetta goes into spring training as the Rockies’ #1 catcher. The Rockies are hoping that Iannetta finally steps up and embraces the role of being the main man behind the plate. Iannetta played in 61 games for the Rockies last season and he was 37 of 188 (.197 avg, .701 OPS) with 20 runs scored, 9 homers, 27 RBIs and 1 stolen base. He has the potential to drill 20-25 homers if he keeps focused and motivated. He had 6 errors and 5 passed balls in only 52 games behind the plate for the Rockies last season and that’s pathetic. He only threw out 6 of 45 (13.3%) runners trying to steal against him last season and Rockies’ pitchers had a 4.63 ERA with him behind the plate. Iannetta will need to improve both offensively and defensively if he wants to keep the starting job for all of the 2011 season.
27-year old switch hitting Jose Morales will try to work his way into a timeshare with Iannetta in 2011. He played in 19 games for the Twins last season and he was 7 of 36 (.194 avg, .545 OPS) with 4 runs scored and 7 RBIs. But, he has played in 74 games in parts of three years in the show and he has a career average of .297 with a .725 OPS. I expect that he will hit for a high average in 2011. He didn’t have any passed balls or errors in 11 games behind the plate for the Twins last season. He threw out 1 of 6 (16.7%) runners trying to steal on him last season but Twins’ pitchers had a 6.44 ERA with him behind the plate.
34-year old righty swinging Chad Moeller will also be on hand to compete for a roster spot in spring training. Moeller played in 9 games for the Yankees last season and he was 3 of 14 (.214 avg, .695 OPS) with 2 runs scored. Moeller isn’t much of a hitter as he has a career average of .226 with a .640 OPS in 501 games in the show. Moeller had 2 passed balls and he was 0 of 6 throwing out runners for the Yankees in 9 games behind the plate. But, Yankees’ pitchers had a 3.38 ERA with Moeller behind the dish. Moeller will likely start the year in AAA but he will join the Rockies at some point in 2011.
PROJECTED GRADE FOR THE ROCKIES CATCHERS IN 2011: D+