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Saturday Space City Scoop: August 27, 2022

What’s the skinny on baseball’s best team?

MLB: Houston Astros at Atlanta Braves Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Astros remain in the catbird seat for the 2022 season stretch run.

Having clinched at least a .500 record for the 2022 season with Thursday night’s victory and season sweep of the Minnesota Twins, the Astros were looking to clinch a winning record on Friday. They’ll have to try again tonight after getting locked down by Baltimore Orioles starter Kyle Bradish.

Astros News

Is Hunter Brown’s arrival imminent?

Do you think that Mike Trout playing for the Astros is impossible? Lauren Amour explains that it is not.

Alex Bregman’s insane second half.

Is Chas McCormick coming back soon?

MLB News

A look at the Little League Final Four.

A deeper look at J-Rod’s 14-year deal with the Seattle Mariners.

Craig Counsell removed Freddy Peralta after six no-hit innings and only 82 pitches on Friday night.

An Athletics Nation take on how Sean Murphy has become one of the best hitters in baseball.

Cole Ragans is going onto the IL, so Dallas Keuchel is joining the Rangers.

Iris Skinner is throwing out the first pitch at Seattle’s Ichiro Appreciation Game. Don’t know who she is? You should. This is not a waste of time.

Random Astros Player

Steve Finley

Steve Finley is a six-two left-handed centerfielder from Union City, TN. Born on March 12, 1965, Finley was originally chosen in the 11th round of the draft by the Atlanta Braves in 1986 out of Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Unable to come to terms, Finley elected to spend another season in college, and was taken in the 13th round the following year by the Baltimore Orioles.

Finley worked his way up through the minors, ranking 7th in the organization in the BA prospect list in 1989. Not coincidentally, Finley also made his major league debut that season, using his rookie status and then some by appearing in 81 contests. He slashed .249/.298/.318 for the Birds, stealing 17 bases in 20 attempts.

In 1990, Finley spent the entire campaign at the major league level with the O’s, appearing in 142 contests and slashing .256/.304/.328. In January 1991, the Orioles traded Finley to the Astros with Pete Harnisch and Curt Shilling for Glenn Davis.

In Finley’s first season with Houston, he slashed .285/.331/.406 in a club-high 159 contests. He also led the team with 84 runs, 170 hits, 10 triples, and 34 RBI. Batting leadoff or second in most of his appearances, Finley had his best day at the plate on August 15, when he went four-for-five with a double, a homer, and three RBI in a 6-1 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Defensively, Finley made a total of five errors in 1274 2/3 outfield innings, mostly out of center. He was worth 16 runs more than an “average” major league outfielder with his defensive play.

In 1992, Finley led the majors by appearing in all 162 games through the season, and improved his slashline to .292/.355/.407, with 13 triples, 55 RBI, and 44 stolen bases. Every single one of his 1352 1/3 defensive innings were spent in center field, a position he played in 2314 major league games over his eventual 19-season career. He was still an above average fielder, worth six runs more than average. He had 49 multi-hit games, including a dozen three-hits-or-more performances. He ranked seventh in the National League with 5.7 bWAR from amongst position players. On August 5, Finley went four-for-five with a double and three RBI in a 7-6 win against the Dodgers.

Finley led the American League in 1993 with 13 triples, and played in 142 contests in center for Houston. He stole 19 bases, slashed .266/.304/.385, and fielded at a clip 11 runs better than average. On September 7, he capped an 0-for-5 plate performance with a 10th-inning, walkoff groundout in a 3-2 win against the New York Mets.

Of the Astros 115 games played in a work-stoppage shorted 1994 season, Finley played center field in 94 of them, leading the NL with nine outfield assists. He slashed .276/.329/.434 with 11 homers and 33 RBI, along with 13 stolen bases. In the 12-game stretch from April 19 through May 1, Finley went 21-for-53 with five homers and 13 RBI. His DRS again showed him to be well better-than-average, coming in at plus-11 runs. After the season, as part of a 12-player deal, the Astros sent Finley to the San Diego Padres.

Finley played four seasons with San Diego, and later also spent time with the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Dodgers, the Los Angeles Angles, the San Francisco Giants, and the Colorado Rockies. He retired at 42-years-old, recipient of five Gold Gloves, two All-Star appearances, and one World Series Championship (in 2001 with Arizona). He’s one of eight members of the 300/300 club, and his 5,348 center field put outs rank fourth all-time in major league history.

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