In all, thirteen players have played their first career game at shortstop for the Astros. That includes Jimmy Wynn, who played shortstop for the 1968 Astros in his first game. It also includes Adam Everett, who didn't start his first game, nor did he get an at-bat, but he did play defense for a number of innings in 2001.
Of those 13 players, seven played in 1968 or before. That means in the past 45 years, Houston has only seen six shortstops make their MLB debut with the team.
That's partly a question of semantics, since Tommy Manzella should be there, as should someone like Eric Bruntlett. Both players were shortstops for Houston, but neither debuted at that spot. We'll check on their MLB debuts in a bit.
First, though, let's narrow our field even further. Remember those 13 players who debuted at shortstop for Houston? We can winnow that list down further. See, only six of those 13 actually started the game they appeared in. Those six were:
|1||1||Marwin Gonzalez||2012-04-06||HOU||COL||L 3-5||3||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||-0.065||-0.528||.890||8||SS|
|2||1||Orlando Miller||1994-07-08||HOU||CHC||L 5-6||5||4||0||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0.047||0.914||1.314||8||SS|
|3||1||Hector Torres||1968-04-10||HOU||PIT||W 5-4||3||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||-0.078||-0.434||1.127||8||SS|
|4||1||Sonny Jackson||1963-09-27||HOU||NYM||L 3-10||3||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||-0.033||-0.836||.480||1||SS|
|5||1||Glenn Vaughan||1963-09-20||HOU||PHI||W 3-2||4||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||-0.105||-0.633||1.408||2||SS|
|6||1||Jim Wynn||1963-07-10||HOU||PIT||W 2-0||4||4||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||-0.031||-0.009||.510||6||SS|
That's pretty bleak, isn't it? All Jonathan Villar has to do is get an extra-base hit and he could claim the right to the best debut by an Astros shortstop ever. If he picks up three hits? He'll wrest the title from Orlando Miller for sure.
Notice only Jimmy Wynn stole a base in his debut, which means Villar can also make himself stand out there. Heck, as long as Villar doesn't go 0-fer, he's on the short list of best debuts by an Astros shortstop.
Okay, it's not exactly likely for a player making his MLB debut with Houston to have an extra-base hit, right? Only eight players have started with the Astros in their debut and had an extra-base hit. The last was Robbie Grossman earlier this year. Only one (Ken Caminiti) hit a home run in his debut game.
Eleven Astros players have multi-hit games in their debut, with Grossman again as the most recent. Oh, and no Astro has ever stolen more than one base in his MLB debut.
So, that's the bar, Jonathan Villar. Do you want to have the best MLB debut in Astros history? Hit a home run, steal two bases and go 3 for 5. That's shouldn't be hard, should it?