For most major league players, spring training is a time where they knock off the rust gained from the offseason and prepare for the upcoming regular season.
2014 spring training is it a bit more meaningful for Los Angeles Angels catcher Chris Iannetta as he heads into his third season with the team. Since being traded to the Angels in November of 2011, the 30-year-old has had a difficult time staying on the field. As a result he has struggled to get any consistency at the plate, batting .233 with 20 home runs, 65 RBIs and 160 strikeouts in only in 194 games played over the past two seasons.
In this year’s spring training, Iannetta is a man on a mission as he is hitting .345, is second on the team in home runs (3) and RBIs (11) and leads the ball club with nine walks. This is certainly a different tune for the eight-year veteran who batted .225 with 100 strikeouts in 115 games played last season.
But with that said, it is a new season and a fresh start for Iannetta as this could be just the beginning of a productive 2014 season. The 30-year-old appears to be highly motivated this spring training for a plethora of reasons. But none are bigger than proving that he deserves to be the Halos’ full-time catcher ahead of Hank Conger, who is not helping his own case as he has struggled mightily in spring training by batting .122 (5-for-41) with three RBIs and six strikeouts in 15 games played.
What also helps the eight-year veteran’s case is that he is swinging a hot bat at the right time with the start of the regular season now just less than a week away. If Iannetta can continue his high level of production at the plate for the remainder of spring training, there is a chance that it could lead to a strong start to the year and be the springboard needed for him to have a solid 2014 season.
However, it may be a far stretch to say that about a .234 career hitter, but in baseball momentum is everything. If Iannetta can keep up his high level of play there is no telling how far it can take him this upcoming season.