Astros catching prospect Max Stassi may have started his day in a slump, but he ended Wednesday with a career night.
Stassi went 4-for-5 with two homers and career-high eight RBIs in the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks' 13-1 rout of the Springfield Cardinals. The Hooks were no worse for wear the first game after Houston's No. 3 prospect George Springer and Jake Buchanan moved up to Triple-A.
It was the first multi-homer game of Stassi's career and topped his five-RBI performance for Class A Advanced Stockton against Lancaster on April 21, 2011. In that game he hit his only other career grand slam.
"I felt pretty good up there," said Stassi, originally selected by the Athletics in the fourth round of the 2009 Draft. "I was just trying to hit the ball hard, not worry about the outcome and just focus on the process.
"This is the best game I've had in my professional career. I had three homers and nine RBIs in 2008 [as a junior] at Yuba City High School in northern California, but that was high school baseball."
Houston's No. 16 prospect singled to left field in the first inning and slugged a grand slam to center field with one out on the first pitch he saw in the second.
"I was looking for something elevated in the zone, whether that was a breaking ball or a fastball. I'm always ready to hit the fastball and then I can react to the off-speed," Stassi said. "You don't want to get beat by a fastball that is a good pitch to hit."
He doubled home two more runs on a high chopper over third base in the third before going deep to left field for a two-run homer in the fifth.
"There were two strikes and I was just paying attention to what he was trying to do against the previous hitters," Stassi said. "I was anticipating a breaking ball and I took advantage of it. I was just trying to get the head out on it and drive something to that field."
He came to the plate looking for a fifth hit to lead off the seventh frame, but he flew out to left fielder Adam Melker.
Once considered among the A's top prospects, Stassi was hitting 3-for-33 with one extra-base hit and without an RBI in his past 11 games.
He had not recorded more than three RBIs in any game this year and his power numbers had taken a dip from last season in Stockton, a notorious hitter-friendly environment.
"I talked to my older brother [Brock], who is with the Phillies [Clearwater Threshers]. He helped me a lot. I bounced some ideas off him, and he told me to just make the most of it and have a good attitude," he said.
"He is big on self-confidence and getting in the right mind-set. I was really focusing on the outcome of the at-bat. I wasn't trusting myself ... and you can mentally hurt yourself out there. You can't control the outcome, so you might as well not worry about it. Just stick with the process day in and day out."
Corpus Christi starter Ruben Alaniz (4-7) scattered five hits over six scoreless innings in the victory.