by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
Coming off what could be considered a career year, Chris Iannetta returns to Colorado (where he played the first six years of his career). It’s going to be easy to get somewhat excited, considering the park he’ll come home, but let’s not forget that he put these numbers up playing half his games in Arizona:
272 At Bats
.254 Batting Average (69 Hits)
17 Home Runs
0 Stolen Bases
.354 On Base Percentage
.511 Slugging Percentage
.308 Batting Average on Balls in Play
It’s easy to get excited about the power number, but just how “real” is it? That’s the key determination, because a regression there will bring the average back into the realm of unusable (he’s a career .231 hitter) considering his continued inability to make contact (11.3% SwStr%, 27.5% strikeout rate).
All we really need to see is his 21.5% HR/FB, compared to a 12.9% career mark, to reach the conclusion that it’s unsustainable overall. That said, there is an opportunity to try and exploit against southpaws pitching in Coors Field. Just look at this split from last season:
- LHP – .303/.404/.563
- RHP – .234/.333/.490
There isn’t much disparity in the slugging, but don’t let that cloud the issue. He owns a career .380 SLG against RHP (.472 against LHP) courtesy of an 11.7% HR/FB. In other words he’s a platoon player, most likely, the question is who the Rockies ultimately pair him with. That’s been the case for a long time, as he hasn’t topped 375 PA over the past four seasons (and he’s had over 400 PA twice over the course of his career).
Then you throw in the ballpark, which has the perception of being more favorable but wasn’t in 2017:
- Chase Field – 2.65 HR/game
- Coors Field – 2.57 HR/game
Pigeon-holed as a platoon player who will likely regress (even against southpaws), getting excited about the new locale and his ’17 production would be misguided. He’s a spot play, at best, and is almost certain to regress. Even in two-catcher formats, there are better gambles to take.
Sources – Fangraphs, ESPN
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