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Tuesday Rockpile: The enigma that is the Rockies' catch and bomb guy

No player has been as polarizing of a figure among Rockies fans, especially at Purple Row, as Chris Iannetta.  Some will point to his elite combination of patience and power for his position as strengths.  Others point to his inability to keep a starting job and incredibly low batting average.  But all Rockies fans agree:  Iannetta has the potential to be much better.

Iannetta undoubtedly struggled last year, but look at statistics other than his .228 batting average, and he was actual quite decent.  Despite his frustrations, Chris recognizes that in a Jack Etkin article:

"It wasn't as bad as I made it out to be...It wasn't good, but production was still top 10 in the league for my position" - Iannetta

It isn't surprising that a cerebral player like Iannetta would be in tune with the whole picture.  He was 7th in wOBA among MLB catchers with 340+ PA's last season.

Jim Armstrong points out in the Denver Post that CDI also has the seventh most home runs among MLB catchers the last two years.  Ironically, the man in front of him is now his backup, giving Colorado unparalleled power from behind the dish.  Also in Armstrong's article, Jim Tracy indirectly attempts to put to bed any questions that he and Iannetta had a poor relationship:

"He's another special talent.  How good he is, we don't know yet. We're really trying to find out, and we're going to continue to work very hard at trying to make him aware of how good he is because he's not sure, either...I want to see this young man realize how good he is. It's a goal of mine." - Jim Tracy

With the team losing the man that continued to take Iannetta's job while also providing financial security, the catcher still worked hard this offseason to improve.   In the Etkin piece, Iannetta speaks of what the added toe tap from Glenallen Hill has done for him:

"I wasn’t thinking about counts, I wasn’t thinking about pitch location, selection and stuff like that...I stopped thinking about all the little things and just went to hitting. And it made an immediate difference." -Iannetta

For a cerebral player like Iannetta, removing the overthinking risk can be huge.  One large thing to note here:  Chris actually started the toe tap last August.  After adding that wrinkle, he hit .310 with 2 doubles, a triple, two home runs in 26 AB's.

Iannetta undoubtedly hit below his potential last year.  If he can indeed take that step forward in 2010, he just might be one of Dan O'Dowd's better signings this off season.


Fowler, Corpas, Spilborghs Update

few nuggets from Troy Renck yesterday:

  • Apparently Manny Corpas' hamstring is fine.
  • The answer to the question all Rox fans want to know has been decided.  Still, Ryan Spilborghs won't reveal his intro song just yet.
  • Aaron Cook and Troy Tulowitzki are lighter this spring than last season, but so is Dexter Fowler.  Already appearing dangerously Cory Sullivan-thin, he said "I feel like myself again.  I felt too big before."
There are plenty of more links after the jump, so if you need time to kill, take the jump before you go back to Bloons.

Tulo meets icon

Both the Rockies MLB site and the Denver Post are running stories about Tulo meeting up with legendary UCLA men's basketball coach John Wooden.  There's a few notable things in the articles, as Tulo attempts to beef up his leadership profile.  Other interesting notes:
  • Tulo initiated the exchange by reaching via letter through UCLA alum Garret Atkins and his agent.
  • Wooden once actually coached baseball at Indiana State, Clint Barmes' alma mater.

Rocks off the field

New Rox voice ready for your questions | All Things Rockies
Jerry Schemmel, the Rockies new radio man, is already reaching out to Rox fans for a Q and A.

ian stewart (IStewart9) on Twitter - According to his tweets yesterday, Ian Stewart was excessively bored yesterday and is very into The Bachelor.  Apparently not all gentlemen prefer blondes.

Spring Training t-shirt contest!! - Purple Row
Charlie77 and holly96 want your help with a new T-shirt design at Purple Row Cares.


Around the league

Carlos Beltran: No hard feelings with New York Mets over surgery disagreement - ESPN
Is this genuine, or an attempt to patch together the tattered quilt in New York before the season?

Chicago White Sox's Jake Peavy turns down Opening Day nod - ESPN Chicago
The spin is "unselfishness," but Peavy has never been a big game pitcher...

The compilation: MLB team-by-team top-10 prospects
Matt Hagen at The Hardball Times ranks the top ten prospects for every team, all in one place.  The Rockies come in eighth.

How Many Wins Did Teams Lose To Injury? - Beyond the Box Score
BtB comes through again with a very detailed analysis sure to make Rockies fans say "huh...ok" and move on.  User colintj analyzes how many games a team lost due to injury compared to average.  The Rockies are the closest team to dead middle average.


Big breath....and lastly:

New (and Great) Sabermetric Resources | FanGraphs Baseball
R.J. Anderson listed a small handful of sabermetric resources...on one of baseball's leading sabermetric sites.  Purple Row (and specifically Andrew Martin's Counting Rocks series), made the cut for the refferal.