Among the Los Angeles Angels players looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2022 season is Max Stassi, who endured one of the worst offensive showings of his career.
Stassi at one point was mired in a 4-for-72 slump and finished the year with a .180/.267/.303 batting line and 112 strikeouts across 102 games.
Stassi took full blame for his struggles and said this past September that his play was “way below” his standards. The 31-year-old posted an above-league average OPS+ in each of his first two seasons with the Angels and is trying to get back to that level.
Stassi believes he found a possible solution by dropping his traditional catching stance in favor of a one knee down stance, per Jeff Fletcher of the Southern California News Group:
“I think it’s really going to help this season,” Stassi said. “We’ll see. The numbers will tell. I’m excited about it. In this game, you’ve got to adapt. Any way I can make myself better, I’m all for it. We’ll see what the numbers are, but I’m confident it will be better.”
Angels catching coordinator Drew Butera said most catchers are hesitant to change to the one knee down stance because they feel it gives them a disadvantage with throwing out runners:
“I think the mindset when it first started was, this is great for receiving, but when somebody’s on base, go back to the traditional stance so the ball doesn’t get by you or you’re in a better stance to throw,” Butera said. “The more guys tried different things and the more guys experimented with it, they understood they could still block with it, and they could still throw with it.”
With his new catching stance, Stassi believes he will be able to keep his legs fresh and put up better numbers at the plate. Additionally, he thinks the change will help him improve as a pitch framer and at blocking.
Angels’ Max Stassi was reluctant to change catching stance due to previous success
Stassi noted he was reluctant to change his catching stance at first because of his previous success as a receiver:
“Ego,” Stassi said. “Pride. I was one of the better receivers in baseball for a few years, so why would I need to (change)?”
It’s always a positive when a player is willing to make a change, and hopefully, it works out for the veteran backstop.
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