Ducks welcome Akeel Morris, Brock Stassi and Anderson DeLeon while T.J. Rivera heads to Pirates
(Central Islip, N.Y., May 17, 2021) – The Long Island Ducks today announced the signings of right-handed pitcher Akeel Morris and infielder Brock Stassi, both with Major League experience, as well as right-handed pitcher Anderson DeLeon. Additionally, infielder T.J. Rivera’s contract has been purchased by the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.
“We are excited to bring these three players and get underway with spring training at the ballpark,” said Ducks President/GM Michael Pfaff. “Our players and staff are anxious for the season to begin, and we can’t wait to welcome fans to the ballpark next Friday for Opening Night.”
Morris begins his first season with the Ducks, second in the Atlantic League and 11th in professional baseball. The pitcher has spent parts of three seasons in the Major Leagues, pitching with the New York Mets (2015), Atlanta Braves (2017) and Los Angeles Angels (2018). He has appeared in 18 games, striking out 16 batters over 22 innings of work. In 2017 with the Braves, he surrendered just one run and struck out nine batters over seven and one-third innings. The St. Thomas native spent the 2019 season in the Atlantic League, splitting time with the High Point Rockers and New Britain Bees. In 38 games (13 starts), he compiled an 8-4 record with a 4.75 ERA, one save and 75 strikeouts over 102.1 innings pitched. The Ducks then drafted Morris’ Atlantic League negotiating rights in the third round of the Bees Dispersal Draft.
The 28-year-old previously was named an MiLB.com Organization All-Star 2014 and 2015 with the Mets organization. After posting a 0.63 ERA in 41 games with the Savannah Sand Gnats in 2014, he was named a Baseball America Low Class A All-Star, a South Atlantic League Mid-Season All-Star and Postseason All-Star, and MiLB.com Fans’ Choice for Best Relief Pitcher. The righty also earned Florida State League Mid-Season All-Star honors in 2015 after amassing a 1.69 ERA with the St. Lucie Mets. Morris was originally selected by the Mets in the 10th round of the 2010 amateur draft.
Stassi enters his first season with the Ducks, second in the Atlantic League and 10th in professional baseball. The infielder reached the Major Leagues in 2017 as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies. He played 51 games in the big leagues, totaling two home runs, seven RBIs, six runs, two doubles, a triple and 12 walks. His first MLB hit was a ninth inning solo home run off New York Mets pitcher Addison Reed on April 10, 2017. The 30-year-old spent the 2019 season in the San Francisco Giants organization, combining to post a .302 batting average, a .388 on-base percentage and 26 hits over 28 games between Double-A Richmond and Triple-A Sacramento.
A native of Sacramento, Stassi first played in the Atlantic League with the New Britain Bees in 2018. He compiled a .361 batting average, a .458 on-base percentage, five homers, 36 RBIs, 32 runs, 11 doubles, four triples and 28 walks over 40 games. His contract was then purchased by the Giants organization, and he went on to post a .391 batting average and a .536 on-base percentage at Triple-A Sacramento. The lefty hitter’s best season came in 2015 with Double-A Reading when he was named the Eastern League’s Most Valuable Player. He led the league in RBIs (90) and doubles (32) while ranking second in walks (77), third in runs (76) and games played (133), and fifth in home runs (15) and hits (14). Stassi was originally selected by the Phillies in the 33rd round of the 2011 amateur draft.
DeLeon begins his second season with the Ducks and third in professional baseball. He first joined the Ducks in August of 2019 and appeared in seven games (two starts) with the club. The Brooklyn native went 1-2 with a 5.29 ERA and 14 strikeouts over 17 innings of work. He tossed five innings of three-run ball in each of his two starts with the Flock, earning the win in his first on September 4 at Lancaster. The 24-year-old was also on the Ducks roster during the 2019 Atlantic League playoffs, though he did not appear in a ballgame. Previously, he pitched with the Cincinnati Reds rookie-level affiliate in the Arizona League during the 2017 season. DeLeon was originally selected by the Reds in the 24th round of the 2017 amateur draft.
Rivera becomes the second member of the 2021 Ducks roster to have his contract purchased by a Major League or foreign organization, joining left-handed pitcher Rob Zastryzny, who joined the Miami Marlins on May 4. Rivera was slated to begin his second season with the Ducks after playing 23 games with Long Island in 2019, hitting .270 with four home runs and 16 RBIs. The 32-year-old then had his contract purchased by the Washington Nationals on August 4, 2019. Rivera has two seasons of Major League experience with the New York Mets (2016-17), appearing in 106 MLB games. The Ducks have also placed left-handed pitchers Sean Gilmartin and David Speer on the reserve-left team list.
Additionally, the Ducks have invited the following players to spring training: left-handed pitcher Anthony Fernandez, right-handed pitcher Ryan Horstman, catcher Juan De La Cruz, infielders Jesse Berardi and Anthony Palermo and outfielder Edgar Lebron.
Monday saw the Ducks begin spring training activities at the ballpark, including the team’s first on-field workout of the year. Please CLICK HERE to view the team’s spring training roster. To prepare for the 2021 season, the Ducks will play four exhibition games at Fairfield Properties Ballpark against local amateurs, the Long Island Black Sox. Games will take place at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 20, Saturday, May 22, Monday, May 24, and Wednesday, May 26. All games will be played behind closed doors.
The Long Island Ducks are members of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, a Professional Partner League of Major League Baseball, and play their home games at Fairfield Properties Ballpark. For further information, visit LIDucks.com or call (631) 940-DUCK (3825).
About the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB)
The Atlantic League is the first Professional Partner League of Major League Baseball, a player gateway to the major leagues, and a leader in baseball innovation. ALPB has sent over 950 players to MLB organizations while drawing 42 million fans to its family friendly ballparks over its 24-year history. Please visit AtlanticLeague.com.