Los Angeles Angels catcher Max Stassi put together a breakout 2020 campaign, making it an easy decision to bring him back as the starting catcher in 2021. While there were concerns of a fluke due to the shortened season, Stassi quickly put those to rest.
In between stints on the injured list, Stassi was incredible through his first 52 games of the season. Sporting a .307 batting average and .919 OPS, there was an argument to be made that Stassi was one of the best hitting catchers in all of baseball.
However, he’s cooled off significantly in his last 31 games. Since Aug. 6, his batting average is just .158 and his OPS is .522. He has just two home runs compared to 10 in his first 52 games.
While these numbers could be cause for concern, Stassi isn’t too worried knowing what it took him to get to this point in his career, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“I’ve had a lot of failures and I’ve been able to look at myself and make adjustments going forward,” Stassi said. “Sometimes they show up. Sometimes they don’t. I’m gonna find a way eventually.”
For Stassi, the more important thing is consistency, as he feels he has all the tools needed to succeed at the MLB level the way he has for much of the last two seasons.
“It’s just getting back to that foundation,” Stassi said. “I’ve changed up my drill work to hopefully fix some of my flaws. But I feel like the foundation is there. It’s just getting it to show up consistently night in and night out.”
Stassi is entering his final year of arbitration in what will be his age-31 season. As of now, there’s nothing to indicate that he won’t be back with the Angels. The bigger question is whether they agree to a long-term extension or just play out the individual year before free agency in 2023.
The Angels catcher has had a long and winding road to get to the place where he can be viewed as an impact catcher on both sides of the ball. Stassi is in the 88th percentile among catchers for pitch framing and has an OPS+ of 109.
Kurt Suzuki ‘content’ should he retire after this season
Stassi’s future is relatively clear for the time being. However, Kurt Suzuki’s is far more up in the air, as there is legitimate reason to believe that his next eight games are his last in Major League Baseball.
If that is the case, Suzuki is content with everything he has done in his career. He will be open to playing opportunities, but understands if this is the end of the road for him.