Phillies Option Brock Stassi to Double-A Reading
The big story in Phillies Spring Training 2017 was the feel-good story of first baseman Brock Stassi. Competing with the likes of veterans Daniel Nava and Chris Coghlan for one roster spot on the Phillies, Stassi made the Phillies Opening Day roster and Coghlan was released. After appearing 36 games and getting 61 at bats, Stassi was only batting .197, and when the Phillies needed a roster spot, it is Stassi who will lose his.
The Phillies plan to activate Nick Pivetta to start on Monday evening in Atlanta against the Braves. To make room, the Phillies optioned Stassi to Double-A Reading. With prospect Rhys Hoskins entrenched at first base at Triple-A Lehigh Valley, Stassi will be able to get regular at bats for the Fightin' Phils. Stassi was Eastern League Most Valuable Player in 2015 while starting at first base Reading.
The Phillies recently activated injured outfielders Howie Kendrick and Daniel Nava. With the Vince Velasquez injury, the Phillies were able to hang on to an extra position player while waiting to summon Velasquez's replacement.
The roster spot that Stassi won in Spring Training is essentially going to utility infielder Ty Kelly. The Phillies acquired Kelly in trade with the Toronto Blue Jays after Kendrick hit the disabled list with a strained oblique. Kelly is batting just .217 since joining the Phillies.
As a switch hitter who can play both infield and outfield positions, Kelly is more valuable to the Phillies than Stassi, who has not played much since Tommy Joseph has gotten hot. While the Phillies have used Stassi in the outfield, those positions are also crowded with the emergence of Aaron Altherr taking playing time from starters Kendrick, Odubel Herrera, and Michael Saunders.
Stassi's story was indeed a good one, but sticking in the Major Leagues is difficult while batting just .197. Stassi remains on the 40-man roster, meaning that he might be a candidate to return to the Phillies if there is an injury and the Phillies do not wish to give a prospect a chance to start. If, however, the Phillies do wish to promote one of the minor league prospects, we may have seen the last of Stassi.