Max Stassi was a tremendously underrated prospect in a system with tons of eye-popping talent. The Houston Astros‘ acquired Stassi as the third piece of a deal with the Oakland Athletics that sent Jed Lowrie to Oakland and brought Chris Carter and Brad Peacockto Houston. Peacock is definitely coming around, and Carter may be on his way too, so it appeared that Stassi was just filler material.
Then he hit the field, and from there, it’s become more and more apparent that he was quite a large piece of the deal.
Stassi hit 17 home runs and 60 RBIs in the Minors in 2013, accompanied with a .277 batting average. This is coming from a guy that was barely being ranked in the Astros top-20 prospect list.
The problem with Stassi was that he had trouble staying healthy throughout his time in the Minors. As a catcher, when you’re already having health problems before you hit the MLB, it does not bode well. This streak continued for Stassi, unfortunately, when he was hit in the face with a pitch just six at-bats into his MLB career, landing him on the disabled list with a concussion for the rest of the season.
This is a big offseason for Stassi. He can’t hide in obscurity anymore, as his potential has been seen. There’s expectations for him now, and as long as he stays healthy, he is definitely equipped to meet them.
No one expects Stassi to challenge Jason Castro for the starting catching role. That being said, the back up catcher position is incredibly important. With Castro’s health always a concern, he may vacate the catcher spot in favor of the more knee-friendly position of first base. If that should happen, Stassi may be a starting major league catcher far sooner than expected.