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Note to Jim Tracy: Chris Iannetta is good

Apr 25, 2011, 6:51 PM EDT

Iannetta_Chris

No actual quote yet, but here’s one of Troy Renck’s latest tweets, as Jim Tracy takes on his usual whipping boy, Chris Iannetta.

Tracy said iannetta in tough spot hitting 8th. He’s getting walks but has to be ready to hit when pitch shows up w risp

And then there’s this quote from Sunday, indicating that it’s mostly Iannetta’s glove that’s keeping him in the lineup.

“He’s going to get the opportunity to get that figured out because what’s going on behind the plate,” Tracy said. “With regards to our sequences, calling a game, keeping our pitchers in the game and getting some big outs when we need them to give us a chance to get back in a game, that’s something that he has improved immensely in.”

From that, one would think Iannetta is in the slump of his life. And, yeah, he is hitless over his last three games. But Iannetta has a .407 OBP and a .442 slugging percentage to go along with his .186 average. He’s ridiculously far from being an offensive liability, and Tracy just doesn’t get it, as evidenced by his usage of Iannetta in previous years as well.

Of course, it’s a fair criticism of hitters like Iannetta that they don’t drive in enough runs. An inability to hit singles and a willingness to take a walk with men on base will do that.

But Iannetta has seven RBI in 43 at-bats this year. And he’s doing it from the eighth spot in the lineup. Thanks largely to him, the Rockies lead the NL in RBI from the eighth spot in the order so far this year. Even putting the walks back into the equation, Iannetta is averaging an .119 RBI per plate appearance this year. National League No. 8 hitters as a whole average .085 RBI per plate appearance.

So, Iannetta is 40 percent better than the average No. 8 hitter in driving in runs. Despite spending most of his career batting seventh or eighth, he’s averaged 92 RBI per 550 at-bats. Joe Mauer, for comparison’s sake, has driven in 84 runs per 550 at-bats.

And, as a reminder, he’s also getting on base 41 percent of the time this season.

So, yeah, do the rest of the NL a favor, Jim. Bench him now while you still can.

  1. jamie54 - Apr 25, 2011 at 7:13 PM

    Tracy and Ron Washington, two of the brighter lights in the forest…………………sheesh.

  2. clydeserra - Apr 26, 2011 at 1:48 AM

    I hate tired old quotes from managers, but I would prefer platitudes from middle management than have them say idiotic things like this.

  3. Jeremiah Graves - Apr 26, 2011 at 8:36 AM

    If they wanna get rid of the problem, the Twins could remedy them of their “Iannetta Problem” and send over Alexi Casilla that way the Rockies have a legitimate big league shortstop when the Tulowhatsit comes down from his Willie Bloomquistian hot streak.

  4. spudchukar - Apr 26, 2011 at 11:09 AM

    If he has improved defensively, then one might come to the conclusion that his previous shared catching duties was in part due to his defensive liabilities. Plus, taking walks in the number 8 hole, often offers little to a team, other than clearing the pitcher for the next inning. I do not know how many plate appearances Iannetta has had with runners in scoring position, but with the Rockies offense and playing in Colorado, I would wager he has many more chances to drive in runs than the average #8 hitter. Matt, my friend, you make a few poignant assertions, that Iannetta’s .186 average is not fully indicative of his hitting prowess, but nobody that hits .186 is good.

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