Chris has a younger brother, Matt, who followed him to the University of North Carolina out of high school in Rhode Island
Iannetta was a huge Ken Griffey Jr
Iannetta was not brought up to be loud or assertive
Chris's 2002 season with the Chatham A's of the Cape Cod League led to him being featured in the book "The Last Best League: One Summer, One Season, One Dream," by Jim Collins.
The University of North Carolina has produced big league catchers Dwight Lowry, Scott Bradley, B.J. Surhoff, Matt Merullo, and Jesse Levis in the last three decades. Now, you can add Iannetta to the list.
Iannetta has the talent and intangibles that make him a solid major league catcher. He soaks up instruction and works hard to improve in all areas of the game. His humility is impressive.
In 2006, Chris hit his first two big league homers off of Jonathan Sanchez and Michael Wuertz.
In 2005, Baseball America's Prospect Handbook ranked Iannetta as the 20th-best prospect in the Colorado farm system. In the spring of 2006, they thought more of Chris andrated him as 7th-best prospect in the Rockies' organization. And Baseball America had him at #8 in the spring of 2007.
In March 2013, as Chris Iannetta prepared for his second season as the Angels' starting catcher, he exudes a confidence and comfort level buoyed by an organization that holds paramount the pitcher-catcher relationship.
Speaking of working with Mike Scioscia, the veteran of 15 big league seasons as a catcher said, "To have someone who played as long as he has and managed as long as he has with the wealth of knowledge that he has about the game of baseball and pitch-calling and handing a staff, and just being able to have a conversation and talk to him—some of the little caveats he pulls out in passing have been very helpful and beneficial."
The admiration is a two-way street, as Scioscia and his staff are counting on Iannetta's veteran leadership to help mold a pitching staff that has three new starters joining Jered Weaver and C.J. Wilson in the rotation.
Iannetta's slow start in 2013 had him splitting time with improved young backstop Hank Conger. Fortunately for Iannetta, this isn't anything new. The catcher went through this while with the Rockies too, splitting time with Yorvit Torrealba.
"I know how to deal with it," Iannetta said. "Basically I do anything I can to help the team win when I'm in there. I come to the field expecting to win every day. If I'm in the lineup I try to contribute any way I can. If I'm not, then my job is to ready myself for the next time and pull for the guys as hard as I can." (7/12/13)
2013 improvements: In August, Iannetta came to the realization that he needed glasses and contacts. The returns were overwhelmingly positive—he batted .286 in September with four home runs while posting a .911 OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging average). In spite of that one good month, Iannetta ended up batting just .225 despite logging a career-best 115 games.
“I was getting to the point where the ball was jumping on me when I was catching. I’m like, ‘This is weird.’ I’ve never had an issue like this before,” Iannetta said. “The first day I put the contacts in, I was ‘Oh my God.’ My eyes relaxed and then the rest of my body relaxed. I felt I could react again and be athletic as opposed to being tense and straining. It had a big impact.”
July 22, 2015: Iannetta along with hitting coach Dave Hansen, had a jam session with Mike McCready of Pearl Jam.
"It was crazy," said Iannetta, "I got out of my pitcher's meeting about 15 minutes before I was going out to stretch, and Hanny was jamming with Mike. I just sat down and asked him how to play a couple songs."
For Iannetta, making celebrated wine has become much more than a hobby, it’s become a passion. From the start of spring training in mid-February, through the dog days of summer, and into the cool nights of autumn, Chris blocks pitches in the dirt, winces as foul tips sting his fingertips, and works in a uniform soaked in sweat. But there is another man behind the mask. Iannetta is also a maker of fine wines.
The basement cellar of his home outside of his native Providence, R.I., is stocked with about 600 bottles; the wines of choice being well-aged and complex Cabernet Sauvignons. Within his collection are bottles from Jack Winery, his small, high-end label out of Napa, Calif. The wine has drawn rave reviews since production began in 2012. Robert Parker of Wine Advocate, writing about Jack’s 2013 vintage, gave the wine 94 points, saying: “I don’t know this producer, but certainly they have delivered a stunning bottle of Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. The color is a healthy dark ruby/purple, the wine is approachable now and should continue to drink well for at least a decade or more.”
“This is something that is growing into something special,” said Iannetta,
“This is something that is growing into something special,” said Iannetta,. “Maybe this is something that I do after baseball, who knows? I love wine, I love the process, and I like the business aspect of it.”
Iannatta’s partner is former big-league outfielder Vernon Wells. In 2012, the two were teammates with the Angels, and both players were recovering from injuries. Iannetta had sustained a wrist injury that required surgery, and Wells underwent surgery for a broken thumb. While rehabbing together, the teammates talked about their affinity for Napa Valley wines. That shared interest grew into the wines that are now crafted near St. Helena, in the heart of California wine country. (Patrick Saunders - The Denver Post - Jan. 2018)
Chris is a cerebral catcher who brings loads of experience to help mold a young pitching staff long on potential but short on seasoning. "It's been different," ace Jon Gray said of his initial work with Iannetta in the spring of 2018. "But in a good way. When he speaks, it's very calm and clear, and he gets his message across. He's very good at calming you down. If you make a couple bad pitches, he'll calm you down and tell you he wants you to make one pitch. He takes it that easy.
"He brings in a different perspective. I keep my ears open around him. He's seen a lot of our division for a long time. So when he puts something down, you don't second guess it. You know it's a really good pitch and probably the right one."
Manager Bud Black described Iannetta as "a great example of a new voice" in the Rockies clubhouse. But he's not completely new. Iannetta was a fourth-round draft pick by the Rockies in 2004, and he made his Major League debut with Colorado two years later. He played six seasons with the Rockies before he was traded to the Angels for the now-departed Tyler Chatwood in 2011.
After four years in Anaheim and one each with the Mariners and D-backs, Iannetta and the Rockies were reunited this offseason, and Iannetta admits he is a different player than when he left. "One hundred percent," he said. "When you're a young kid, you know the principles, but when you've executed those things and you've seen what works over and over, you get better at doing those things and more efficient at it."
Black was manager of the Padres at the tail end of the previous decade, but he still notices a slightly different Iannetta. "He's just much more experienced and much wiser," Black said. "He's been through a couple different organizations with great pitching staffs, and he's been with a lot of great managers and pitching coaches. And from that, you gain experience.
"You hear a lot of different philosophies, a lot of different coaching techniques, and you get a lot of information. I'm sure he's processed that over the years, and he's bringing that to us. He is the player he is now because of where he's been." (Gabel - mlb.com - 3/22/18)
Iannetta is an old-school gamer.
He maintains a deadpan mentality, regardless of the situation TRANSACTIONS
He maintains a deadpan mentality, regardless of the situation.
June 2004: The Rockies chose Chris in the fourth round, out of the University of North Carolina. He signed for a bonus of $305,000 in July. Jay Matthews was the scout who signed him.
November 30, 2011: The Angels sent P Tyler Chatwood to the Angels, acquiring Iannetta.
October 5, 2012: The Angels and Iannetta agreed on a three-year, $15.5 million extension, which made Iannetta the Angels' starting catcher through 2015.
November 23, 2015: The Mariners signed free agent Iannetta to a one-year, $4.25 million contract plus another $1.75 million in performance bonuses and a 2017 club option for $4.25 million that could become guaranteed at $6 million.
"I think it is an opportunity to get back and in a situation to play and prove that this past year was just a down year," Iannetta said.
Nov 3, 2016: Chris chose free agency.
Jan 13, 2017: The D-Backs signed free agent Chris.
Nov 2, 2017: Chris chose free agency.