The Astros’ Minor League system is another place to seek options for adding a catcher to the roster. It would most assuredly be the more economical route when considering the aforementioned payroll conundrum.
Max Stassi came up from the Minors at the start of the season to serve as the backup catcher and part-time fill in for Chirinos. He had a disappointing year in his shot to prove he could be a number one catcher on the team someday.
He appeared in 31 games and had 90 at-bats for Houston in 2019. Unfortunately for Stassi, he wasn’t able to take advantage of the opportunity and batted .167 on the year for the Astros with an OPS of .446. That OPS was the lowest on the team among nonpitchers and the BA was the second-lowest, only beating out Jack Mayfield. This made Stassi expendable and thus was traded to the Los Angeles Angels.
The only other catcher that was called up during the season was Garrett Stubbs. He didn’t fare much better than Stassi in his chance to show he’s ready for the big leagues. Stubbs only appeared in 19 games, mostly split between June and then during the September call-ups.
In his 35 at-bats, he didn’t turn a lot of heads with his performance. His batting average sat at .200 and his OPS was .568 with no home runs to his name. Stubbs didn’t have great numbers in his 2019 season at the AAA level either, batting .240 and carrying a .729 OPS.
The only other catcher in Houston’s top 30 prospects is Korey Lee and although he is the #3 prospect for the Astros, he hasn’t played above the A- level. So, as I see it, there isn’t much hope in relying on anyone in the farm system to step up anytime soon.