Apr 6, 2015

Italian / American L.A. Angels Catcher: Chris Iannetta (2006-2015)

Christopher Domenic Iannetta was born April 8, 1983, in Providence, Rhode Island. His family comes from two different villages in Naples, Italy. They came to America & settled in Rhode Island where he was raised.

The five foot eleven catcher, went to high school in the baseball town of Pawtucket, Rhode Island. Pawtucket is the home of the Red Sox AAA farm team. Iannetta then attended the University of North Carolina, playing for the Tar Heels, making All Conference & coming in second in HRs (15) in his junior year. That same year he was drafted by the Colorado Rockies.

In 2006 he tore up the minors at two different levels, batting .321 at AA Tulsa & .351 at AAA Colorado Springs. Baseball America had him ranked as the #18 prospect in the Pacific Coast League.

He made his MLB debut on August 27th 2006 getting a base hit & an RBI off the San Diego Padres. The next day, he did the same thing against the New York Mets in an 8-4 Rockies win. Iannetta hit .260 in 21 games that season.

In 2007 he had a great Spring Training and won the starting catchers job to begin the season. He struggled and became Yorvit Torrealba’s back up while only hitting .218 with 4 HRs & 27 RBIs.

In 2008 he saw a lot more playing time, taking over the everyday catchers role, playing in 100 games and posting a perfect fielding percentage .1000%. He made no errors & threw out 23% of would be base stealers. He would bat .265 with 18 HRs, 22 doubles & 65 RBIs, as well as getting 14 hit by pitches (third most in the NL).

Trivia: He expected to play for Team Italy in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, but got the call to play for Team USA instead when Joey Mauer went down with an injury. Iannetta had hoped to travel back to Italy with his grandfather to visit the land of his heritage, but it never happened. That off season he kept playing winter ball and didn’t get a chance to travel.

In 2009 he hit .228 with 15 HRs & 52 RBIs as Colorado’s main catcher. In 2010 he was back up to Miquel Olivo playing in 52 games behind the plate posting a .985 fielding %. He came to bat in 61 games but only hit .197 with 9 HRs & 27 RBIs and was opted back to AAA.

In 2011 he became the Rockies main catcher again , batting .238 with 14 HRs 17 doubles & 55 RBIs. Behind the plate he posted the leagues second best fielding % (.998%) making just two errors in 817 chances in 105 games. He caught 30 runners stealing (4th most in the league) for a 30 % average. In November 2011 he was traded to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

He was limited to just 79 games due to injury & hit just .240. But on May 2nd, 2012 he made history as he caught Jared Weavers no hitter, thrown in Anaheim.

He came back as the Halos main catcher in 2013, playing in 115 games with 11 HRs 39 RBIs & a .225 average. He posted a .993 fielding  throwing out just 19% of base stealers.

In 2014 Iannetta was the AL West Champion Angels main back stop once again. He hit .252 with 7 HRs 22 doubles & 43 RBIs. He threw out 30% of would be base stealers, turning five double plays, posting a .997 fielding % (second best in the AL).

Post Season: In the exciting Game #1 of the ALDS, he hit a 3rd inning HR, off the Royals Jason Vargas, tying up the game.  It was his only hit in the three game Series loss to Kansas City.

In his nine year career through 2014, he is batting .236 with 90 HRs 115 doubles & 344 RBIs in 760 games. Behind the plate in 722 games he has a .995 fielding % & threw out 25% of would be base stealers. He has also played a handful of games at first & third base.

He is married to Lisa Iannetta, a former kindergarden teacher who does a lot for Angels outreach & charity programs. Together they have one daughter.

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