Reading Fightin Phils first baseman Brock Stassi has been named Eastern League MVP and manager Dusty Wathan has been named the Eastern League Manager of the Year, the Eastern League announced on Saturday.
Stassi becomes the seventh Reading player in the team’s history to take league MVP honors, joining Darin Ruf (2012), Ryan Howard (2004), Marlon Byrd (2001), Jeff Stone (1983), Mark Davis (1980), and Greg Luzinski (1970).
Stassi is batting .312 (138-for-442) with 32 doubles, one triple, 14 home runs, 88 RBI, 73 runs scored, three stolen bases, a .484 slugging percentage and a .402 on-base percentage in 124 games while helping lead Reading to first place in the Eastern Division standings. The 26-year old has reached base safely in 107 of the 121 games in which he’s had a plate appearance this season, including reaching base safely in 25 straight games from May 24th-June 22nd. He also has 39 multiple hit games this season, including going 4-for-8 with two RBI, one walk and one stolen base in an 8-7, 18-inning win over Altoona on June 11th at FirstEnergy Stadium. In addition to his offensive contributions in that game, Stassi was also the winning pitcher, striking out three batters while closing out the game with three no-hit innings of relief.
He currently leads the league in RBI (88), doubles (31), total bases (211) and OPS (.882). Stassi is also currently ranked among the league leaders in on-base percentage (.400-2nd), walks (71-2nd), extra-base hits (46-2nd), runs scored (71-tied 2nd), batting average (.311-4th), slugging percentage (.482-4th), hits (136-6th) and home runs (14-tied 7th). Stassi has also played outstanding defense for the Fightins this season and currently leads all Eastern League first baseman with a .995 fielding percentage, making just five errors in 105 games.
A Sacramento, California native, he was also selected as the first baseman on the recently announced Eastern League All-Star Team. He was also the starting first baseman for the Eastern Division at the 2015 Eastern League All-Star Game in Portland.
Stassi was selected by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 33rd round of the 2011 draft hitting .360 with 19 doubles, 34 RBI and 29 runs scored in 55 games and earning First Team All-Western Athletic Conference honors during his senior season at the University of Nevada.
Wathan joins Gary Varsho (2000), Al LeBeouf (1997), Bill Dancy (1995 & 1983), and Bob Wellman (1975) as Reading skippers named Manager of the Year.
Wathan has led the Fightin Phils to a record of 76-55 this season, which is currently the best record in the Eastern League. They currently hold a four game lead over the Binghamton Mets for first place in the Eastern Division standings. If Reading holds on to win the division it will be the first division title for the franchise since the 2000 season. He is joined on his coaching staff in Reading this season by hitting coach Frank Cacciatore, pitching coach Dave Lundquist, coach Mickey Morandini, athletic trainer Aaron Scott and strength and conditioning coach Justin Miloszewski.
The 2015 season is Wathan’s fourth as the manager in Reading, making him one of only two managers in the 49 year history of the Reading franchise to lead the team in four consecutive seasons. In those four seasons Wathan has compiled a record of 280-277, leading the team to a postseason berth in 2012.
He began his managerial career in 2008 with the Williamsport Crosscutters of the New York-Penn League. Wathan went on to lead the Lakewood Blue Claws to the South Atlantic League Championship in 2009 and was the skipper of the Clearwater Threshers of the Florida State League from 2010-11. In his eight seasons as a manager Wathan has compiled a career record of 538-507 (.515).
Prior to his managerial career Dusty had a 14 year playing career, reaching the Major Leagues with the Kansas City Royals in 2002. He played six different organizations during his career, including appearing in one game for Reading during the 2007 season.