Chris Iannetta: Ending the Era of Terrible Offensive Angels Catchers

By Saxon Baird

In the Angels win against the A’s yesterday, catcher Chris Iannetta went 3 for 4 with a home run and three RBI continuing where he left off in August where he put up a .306/.378/.500 batting line and four home runs.

It’s been a long time since the Angels have had a catcher who can hit and Iannetta’s late season offensive surge is a welcomed change at the catcher position for the Halos.

Currently, Chris Iannetta’s batting average is .266 with a .356 OBP in a 173 plate appearances. So just how long has it been since an Angels catcher batting .266 with over 150 plate appearances?

If you know the Angels then you know who it was. Yep, that’s right, it was Mike Napoli. That was the easy part.

Put through our semi-arbitrary criteria, we would have to go back to June 9th of 2010 to find the last time an Angels catcher was batting .266 and had over 150 PAs. (Yep, that was Napoli too.) So in other words, it’s been over two and half years since the Angels have seen a catcher batting the way Iannetta is right now. Oof.

Clearly, batting average is not the best stat for determining offensive success but it does at least give us a rough gauge at how a hitter is doing. So for the sake of the article and saving us the time of dredging up just how bad Jeff Mathis and Bobby Wilson have been at hitting, we’ll just sigh some relief and be happy with what we’ve got in Iannetta.

But wait! There is more good news.

Iannetta has almost half of the amount of plate appearances as Mike Napoli this year due to an injury that left Iannetta out for over 8 weeks. Strangely, though, Iannetta also has half the amount of runs batting in (20) as Napoli (40) AND almost half as many home runs (8) as Napoli (17). Additionally, Iannetta has less than half as many strikeouts (41) compared to Napoli’s 108.

So, in a way, it could be argued that if Chris Iannetta had as many plate appearances as Napoli he would be putting up similar, if not better, numbers than Mike Napoli’s own 2012 season.

Okay, okay. You’re right. There are way too many variables to make that a legitimate argument but maybe it can officially do one important thing: let the era of the terrible offensive Angels catchers be declared as over.