Max Stassi was once again a September call-up for the Astros, making it four years in a row. Although Stassi hit well in his extremely limited big league action from 2013-2015, he got just one hit in 13 at-bats in 2016 after hitting .230 with seven home runs for Triple-A Fresno. While he flashed average power at lower levels, Stassi has averaged just 10 home runs while walking at a rate of well under 10 percent the last three years. He's never hit above .280 in any full season, and at just 5-foot-10 and 190 pounds, there's little to suggest the potential for major improvements in the power department. Jason Castro is gone, but the Astros traded for 32-year-old catcher Brian McCann in the offseason as a replacement. It's clear the Astros don't think much of Stassi's chances to become a viable starting catcher.
Stassi cleared waivers on Tuesday and was outrighted to Triple-A Fresno, Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle reports. Stassi sits behind Brian McCann and Evan Gattis on the depth chart, so he was always an injury away from cracking the big league roster this season. The 26-year-old was out of minor league options, but the Astros were able to successfully pass him through waivers and keep him in the organization, where he'll head to Triple-A Fresno and serve as catching depth.
Stassi suffered a concussion in October while playing winter ball in the Dominican Republic, Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle reports. Stassi entered last season as the team's backup catcher, but a broken left wrist in March derailed his season. With just a total of 256 at-bats (13 in the majors), he tried to make up for lost time during winter ball, but that lasted just two games after a batter clipped him on the head on his backswing and was diagnosed with a concussion. He said he's healthy and ready for spring training, but is third on the depth chart behind Brian McCann and Evan Gattis. If neither of those two suffer a significant injury, Stassi, who is out of minor league options, will have to pass through waivers to remain in the organization.
Stassi was recalled from Triple-A Fresno on Monday, MLB.com reports. Stassi will rejoin the Astros to provide depth at the catching position, but his playing time will likely be limited behind Evan Gattis and Jason Castro.
Stassi was optioned to Triple-A Fresno following Thursday's game, Jake Kaplan of the Houston Chronicle reports. Stassi was called up for a few days while Jason Castro was on paternity leave, but he will head back to Triple-A with Castro set to rejoin the team Friday. Stassi will garner consideration next time the Astros decide to bring up a catcher from the minors.
Stassi will start at catcher and bat eighth in Wednesday's series finale against Cleveland. Recalled to the majors Tuesday, Stassi will get his first start behind the plate for the Astros this season. Erik Kratz will take a seat on the bench while starter Jason Castro (paternity) remains away from the team.