Colorado Rockies: 4 key spring training battles to watch
By Kevin Henry
Last season, experience ruled behind the plate for Colorado. With Tom Murphy injured to start the season and Tony Wolters or Dustin Garneau unable to produce consistently at the plate, Ryan Hanigan burst onto the scene and proved that a veteran presence at catcher paid dividends with Colorado’s young starters. At the trade deadline, Jonathan Lucroy was brought over from the Texas Rangers to continue that trend. Hanigan and Lucroy became the one-two punch behind the plate while Wolters and Murphy both found themselves in Triple-A trying to work their way back to Denver.
This year, Hanigan and Lucroy are both gone … but another veteran is behind the dish as the Rockies welcomed back Chris Iannetta with a two-year deal. Iannetta, however, isn’t expected to catch more than 100 games this season if recent history is any indicator (he hasn’t appeared in more than 94 games since 2014). That leaves plenty of opportunities for Wolters or Murphy to make their mark.
Murphy has plenty of potential and shook off talk of last season’s struggles during Q&A sessions during the recent Rockies Caravan. Wolters has plenty of big league experience and also adds the versatility of being able to play middle infielder if needed.
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One of the two young catchers will need to step up in spring training to show why they belong as Iannetta’s counterpart.