Option 1: Max Stassi
Max Stassi is the most feasible option for A.J. Hinch to go with come Opening Day. Stassi was drafted in the fourth round by the Oakland A’s in 2009 and was traded to the Astros in February of 2013 in the deal that sent Jed Lowrie and Fernando Rodriguez to the A’s for Stassi, Brad Peacock, and Chris Carter. Stassi put on an offensive show in 2013, hitting .277 with 17 home runs, 60 RBIs, and a .863 OPS for Double-A Corpus Christi. At the end of the 2013 season, Stassi got a late season call-up for the Astros. In his three games played, he went 2-7 and drove in a runner. He became the starting catcher at Triple-A Oklahoma City the next season and his bat declined. For the past two seasons in Triple-A OKC/Fresno, Stassi hasn’t hit over .250 and has had an OPS below .700.
Stassi has increased his games played at the major league level in the past two seasons with 13 games played in 2014 and 20 games played this past season. In his major league career thus far, Stassi has hit .357 with a home run and 7 RBIs. As the favorite to win the backup job out of Spring Training, Stassi is not proving himself so far. In 6 games, he has gone 2-16 with four strikeouts. So, with the instability in his bat, Stassi may not have the job locked up. However, with the most major league experience among the current catcher candidates for this job, Stassi has the advantage.
Next: Option 2: Tyler Heineman