Angels’ Underrated Catching Platoon Carrying Each Other
Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
For much of the season, the Angels have gone with the duo of Hank Conger and Chris Iannetta. However, early in the season, Conger seemed to be running away with the job; hitting from both sides of the plate, and managing the his pitchers well. As of late, Iannetta has really taken over as the real number one option for Scioscia behind the plate.
As with all players, there will be pros and cons. Conger has developed into a very good defensive catcher, but his offense is atrocious. Iannetta is more offensive minded, while his defense is somewhat of an afterthought. Still, this platoon has worked wonders for the team.
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The major impact from both catchers has been defense. Conger more so, of course. He has averages a career-high of two defensive runs saved and is only three percent away from the league average of baserunners caught stealing. The catcher’s offense haunts him though. In the beginning of the season, Conger was hitting above .300 in what seemed like a breakout year. Now, he’s hitting .220 and hasn’t homered since April.
Iannetta is almost the complete opposite of Conger. He’s a more patient. Iannetta hits at a .261 clip, his best out of the three seasons he has been in Anaheim. The Angels haven’t seen virtually any power production from the catching position but Iannetta has hit seven long balls this season; including a clutch homer last weekend’s series with Oakland.
So which guy does Scioscia call on if the Angels do in fact get to the playoffs?
The most likely answer would be the same platoon situation, but there are many factors that make each guy valuable. For example, if the Angels happen to face an ace pitcher, Scioscia might think of putting in as much offense as he can with Iannetta. Or if he needs defense, they he would choose Conger. Perhaps the biggest deciding factor would be which catcher a certain pitcher prefers to play with. Conger is much more of a pitchers catcher, but a guy like Jered Weaver has shown great success with Iannetta as a battery mate.
Either way the Angels go, they really can’t go wrong. Each guy has proven a lot this season, so both catchers will be ready to play on the season’s biggest stage.