In his third full season with the Los Angeles Angels, veteran catcher Max Stassi dealt with his worst performance in a few years. Dealing with drawn-out stretches of poor play and multiple injuries, the 31-year-old didn’t live up to the same backstop who earned a three-year deal following the 2021 season.
The former fourth-round pick in the 2009 Major League Baseball Draft, Stassi played the entire first half of his career within the Houston Astros organization. But a trade in July of 2019 brought him over to the Angels, and the next season he put up a show offensively.
This past season, Stassi missed a short bit of time on the COVID-19 IL, but his issues at the plate weren’t limited to one factor. In 102 games played, he posted a .180/.267/.303 slash with an OPS+ of 62 and a career-high in strikeouts with 112.
Stassi aired a few frustrations with how he performed this past season, saying in early September that his play was ‘way below’ his standards and he was solely to blame. To his credit, after the Angels needed Matt Thaiss to fill in for a few games, the veteran was the one to lend a hand.
The Angels made a midseason move for a young catcher who turned out to be their new No. 1 prospect in Logan O’Hoppe.
Max Stassi 2022 highlight
On May 29 against the Toronto Blue Jays, Stassi posted his only four-hit night of the season, launching a home run and three runs batted in.
The unfortunate part for Stassi is the potential emergence of O’Hoppe, but also his downward trend of poor play. Previously stating that he intends to represent Team Italy in this year’s World Baseball Classic, which could provide him with a buffer and a landing strip to get himself right before the regular season begins.
O’Hoppe is expected to take over as the Angels full-time catcher sooner rather than later, which would push Stassi into a backup role. However, it would still not be surprising to see Stassi open the year in the starting role.
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