LA Angels: Healthy competition is improving both catchers
By Evan Desai
When Max Stassi was spending time on the IL, the LA Angels couldn’t get production out of their catchers.
Drew Butera couldn’t get anything going, and Kurt Suzuki wasn’t himself.
As soon as Stassi came back, he started raking at the plate, and Kurt Suzuki then stepped up his own game. In his last six games, Suzuki is 7 for 17 with a 1.171 OPS, and has crept into the top five of AL All-Star voting for catchers.
The LA Angels catchers are clearly pushing each other to be better.
It’s a beautiful site. Stassi wins AL Player of the Week, and then Suzuki goes on a run of his own.
While Stassi is the better player at this point in their careers, Suzuki isn’t going anywhere.
Joe Maddon likes his chemistry with Shohei Ohtani. To have both of these players performing this way is going to be huge if the Angels truly want to make a run when Mike Trout comes back.
The best part about this competition is that Stassi is responding to it just as well as Suzuki is. After Stassi was named AL Player of the Week two weeks ago, he kept plugging along the next week.
In that next week, Stassi still hit over .300, and scored three runs in four games. His on-base percentage was .471 in those games.
It doesn’t even feel like a competition. It feels like two guys pushing each other to better the team. Both guys know that they’re part of the winning formula that the Angels will need to stick to through the rest of 2021, and it’s great to see.
It’s tough to hit as a catcher. There’s not a single AL catcher batting .300 this year (Stassi doesn’t qualify because he’s only played in 25 games entering the series vs. the Giants). If Stassi can keep hitting like the monster he’s been (.333 batting average on the year), that’s going to be a huge advantage for the Halos moving forward.
The best part about it is that they can also count on Suzuki to get the job done too.
By the way, fill out your All-Star ballots and get Suzuki to the Midsummer Classic. He only needs four percent more of the vote to get to Phase 2. The Angels are too good of a team to only have Ohtani and Trout in the game.