Hard to believe that it was eleven years ago that Chris Coste, a 33 year-old journeyman ballplayer who had never played in the majors, had a blistering spring but didn’t make the Phillies out of Clearwater. Brock Stassi, a 27 year-old, was at risk for the same fate as a non-roster invitee to spring training this year. Not drafted until the 33rd round in 2011, Stassi got off to a rough start in low A ball. He seemed to blossom in advanced A in Clearwater, then struggled the following year (2014) in AA at Reading. A repeat year in Reading served him well, and in 2015 he shined enough to be promoted to AAA where he did reasonably well. But nothing compared to the blistering Coste-like spring he enjoyed this month.
So there he was, up on the stadium board this afternoon with a .339 batting average punctuated by 6 HR and 17 RBI while the Phillies were being throttled by the Yankees 14-1. But still now word as to whether Stassi had made the team as a bench player, despite the fact that they desperately needed his left-handed power bat and could benefit from his versatility in playing left field reasonable well to complement his natural slick fielding at first base.
And this evening, word came that Stassi had officially made the club. Seeing his reaction can make grown men misty-eyed.