Brock Stassi makes Phillies roster
One of the most beautiful moments in baseball is when a young player breaks camp in spring training with the news that he made the big league team for the first time. This year that achievement belonged to Philadelphia Phillies first baseman Brock Stassi.
Stassi was informed by Phillies manager Pete Mackanin in the final day of spring training that he made the team. The 27-year-old first baseman/right fielder was emotionally overwhelmed when the time came to relay the big news to local reporters.
“A dream come true,” Stassi tearfully told MLB.com’s Ben Harris. “I made it to the big leagues and can finally say I’m a big leaguer. It’s special.”
His younger brother, Max Stassi, a 26-year-old catching prospect for the Houston Astros tweeted his excitement.
“I can’t even begin to describe how happy, excited, thrilled I am for my older brother Brock,” he tweeted. “He has truly earned everything to get to this point in his career. Everyone has heard some kind of cliche underdog story, well this isn’t one of those.”
The younger Stassi also pointed out the different points of adversity that his older brother went through. Brock Stassi was an early cut in area code tryouts as a high school player. His only offer was from the University of Nevada late in his senior year to pitch. He was told he wasn’t good enough to hit until he won the WAC batting title as a senior in 2011 in his second year of hitting. The Phillies drafted him in the 33rd round as a first baseman even though the draft tracker stated him as a pitcher.
Stassi largely struggled in the minor leagues up until the last two seasons. He was a .200 hitter in short season Single-A Williamsport in 2011, his first season in the minor leagues. He improved slightly the next season in Single-A Lakewood in 2012, hitting .247w with a .342 on-base percentage.
He seemingly had a breakout season in Single-A Clearwater where he hit .295 in 2013. He regressed to hitting .232 in 2014 at Double-A Reading but finally found his power in 2015, hitting .300 with 15 home runs and 90 RBI.
He hit 12 home runs and 58 RBI with a slash line of .267/.369/.437 in Triple-A Lehigh Valley last season. Stassi made the team after impressive spring in which he batted .333 with six home runs and 17 RBI.
In the offseason, Stassi was a substitute teacher with a 50 mile commute and also gave hitting lessons two to three hours on a nightly basis. Now he is a big leaguer.
“My brother is a prime example to everyone,” Matt Stassi said via Twitter, “chase your dream, prove the doubters wrong and grind!”