Astros Spring: The Position Battle No One Is Talking About
By Reed Graff
Max Stassi was ranked within the top 10 catching prospects in baseball back in 2014 due to his Double-A hot streak. He hit .277 with 17 bombs in 76 games in Corpus showing solid power potential and the ability to hit for average. Defense has never been a problem for him either as he is acclaimed as a stellar defensive catcher. He eventually earned a call-up to the big leagues and played well. Stassi was, in fact, recording a .350 average in seven games before being plunked in the face by Texas Rangers pitcher Tanner Scheppers, effectively ending his 2014 season.
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Since then, the now 25-year-old catcher has struggled to stay in Houston. His numbers dropped in Triple-A, and he hasn’t been able to get back to the offensive numbers he showed in 2014. The acquisition of Gattis and the emergence of top prospect Stubbs have made Stassi an after-thought among Astros fans. This spring is his chance to show he can still succeed at the Major League level. And so far he is doing just that.
The catcher slugged the first home run of the Spring for Houston in his first game, an opposite field bomb to right-center in a stadium where the wind blows hard to left. His pitch-framing has looked solid, and his at-bats have been productive early this spring.
As far as his arm, as I am writing this article, he torches Miami outfielder Marcell Ozuna‘s steal attempt, showing off Stassi’s exceptional arm. If he impresses enough this spring, Stassi could put himself in the position to be the 3rd guy up in the Astros Catcher depth chart.