Welcome to the Monday Astros Crawfish Boil!
Belly up to the rail and summon the barkeep, it’s crawfish time!
Houston Astros News
Astros’ perfect Dylan Cease trade to offer White Sox (ClutchPoints)
AL West News
MLB owners will vote this week on Oakland A’s bid to move to Las Vegas (The Mercury News)
Houston Astros Birthdays
RHP Chris Devenski (33)
LHP Wade Miley (37)
Everystros Countdown: Chapter XX
I should have been leading with this starting at the beginning, but if you didn’t already know, these articles were built with facts culled from baseball-reference.com, thebaseballcube.com, mlb.com, wikipedia.org, and baseball-almanac.com
Today’s players, 13 in total, accrued between 21 and 100 PA/BF with the Houston franchise. Each of these players landed between 0.0022 and 0.0040 bWAR per PA/BF with the team.
702. Cody Ransom is a six-foot-two right-handed infielder from Mesa, AZ. Born on February 17, 1976, he was a 43rd-round pick of the Cleveland Indians in 1995 out of South Mountain Community College. After not signing, he was later drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the ninth round in 1998 out of Grand Canyon University.
Ransom reached the major leagues for the first time in 2001 with San Francisco for four seasons (114 games, .238/.298/.362). In 2005, he was in the minor leagues for the Chicago Cubs and the Texas Rangers. In 2006, he was in the minors for the Seattle Mariners when the Houston Astros purchased his contract. He played the entire season with the Triple-A Round Rock Express, slashing .247/.346/.479 with 21 home runs in 122 games. In 2007, he repeated a season with the Express, hitting .260/.333/.497 with 28 jacks and 90 RBI, along with 21 stolen bases. His efforts paid off with a September callup.
On September 16, Ransom hit a single and a home run with three RBI in a 15-3 win against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Four days later, he reached base six times in a nine-inning game, with two singles, two walks, a double, and one HBP, scoring five runs in an 18-1 win against the St. Louis Cardinals. Somehow, he didn’t get an RBI in that one. In 19 games for the Astros, Ransom was eight-for-35 with two doubles, one triples, nine runs and three RBI. He also drew walks and struck out nine times each.
In December, 2007 Ransom was again granted free agency. He later played with the New York Yankees (64 games, .230/.309/.443), the Philadelphia Phillies (22 games, .190/.244/.333), the Arizona Diamondbacks (38 games, .234/.320/.477), the Milwaukee Brewers (64 games, .196/.293/.345), the San Diego Padres (five games, nine zeroes) and the Chicago Cubs (57 games, .203/.304/.449).
Ransom collected a total of 30 home runs and 105 RBI in 11 seasons of major league ball, which is like a semi-good year for Kyle Tucker.
701. Chia-Jen Lo is a five-foot-11 right-handed pitcher from Pingtung County, Taiwan. Born on April 7, 1986, he started his stateside career in 2009 with Houston’s minor league farm system.
In 2012, between two minor league levels, Lo struck out 31 in 30 innings, holding down a 0.833 WHIP and a 0.90 ERA. In 2013 he got his shot with the big boys.
Lo joined the Astros for the first time on July 31, striking out one batter in a scoreless eighth in an 11-0 win against the Baltimore Orioles. On August 13, he earned his first career save, stranding an inherited runner in the eighth, then striking out one and walking one, pitching the last 1 1⁄3 innings of a 5-4 win against the Oakland Athletics.
Lo pitched 19 1⁄3 innings in 19 games in total, striking out 16 and walking 13, allowing nine runs on 14 hits. He posted a 4.19 ERA, a 4.75 FIP, a 1.397 WHIP, and an ERA+ of 98.
700. Juan Abreu is a six-foot right-handed pitcher from San Francisco de Macoris, DR. Born on April 8, 1985, he started his professional baseball career in 2005 with the Kansas City Royals farm. After five seasons in the Kansas City system, he spent a year in the Atlanta Braves farm. He joined the Astros in 2011 via trade with the Braves.
Abreu was 5-2 with a 2.18 ERA in 57 2⁄3 innings between Houston’s top two affiliates that season, with 11.0 K/9 and 1.318 WHIP. On August 29, he joined Houston proper. In his third appearance, on September 10, he struck out the side, getting a scoreless inning despite hitting a batter in a 9-3 win against the Washington Nationals.
In 6 2⁄3 total innings pitched for Houston, spread over seven appearances, Abreu allowed runs in two of them (one each). He struck out 12 and walked three, allowing six hits and hitting five batters. The following season, while playing in the minors, Abreu was selected off waivers by the Toronto Blue Jays, and later also appeared in the minors with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
699. George Bjorkman is a six-foot-two right-handed catcher from Ontario, CA. Born on August 26, 1956, he was a fourth-round pick in 1978 by the St. Louis Cardinals out of Oral Roberts University. Bjorkman was later drafted, then subsequently returned by and to the San Francisco Giants. After five seasons in St. Louis’ farm, the Cardinals traded Bjorkman to the Astros for Geoff Meadows.
Bjorkman wasn’t much of a hitter for average or power, but he did have a remarkable eye. In 29 games at Houston’s major league level, he was 17-for-75 with four doubles, two homers, eight runs and 14 RBI. He also drew 16 walks for a strange-looking .227/.370/.360 slashline. On September 8, Bjorkman drew a walk to load the bases in the second, when the score was 0-0, drew a walk and crossed the plate to tie the score at two in the sixth, drew another walk with the score tied in the eighth, then singled and scored the eventual game-winner in the 10th, 3-2 over the San Diego Padres.
A year after joining Houston, the Astros dealt Bjorkman to the Montreal Expos for Tom Wieghaus. Bjorkman played in Montreal’s system for a season-and-a-half, then joined the Baltimore Orioles for part of the 1985 season.
698. Keith Lampard was a six-foot-two lefty-batting and righty-throwing left fielder from Warrington, UK. Born on December 20, 1945, he was Houston’s second-round choice in 1965 out of the University of Oregon.
By 1969, Lampard was slashing .288/.322/.519 in 111 games for the Triple-A Oklahoma City 89ers. That kind of solid output precipitated a promotion to the bigs. In Lampard’s first plate appearance, on September 15, he hit a pinch-single in the sixth inning of a 5-3 loss to the San Diego Padres. On September 19, Lampard was the unquestioned hero of the game. With one out and a runner on in the bottom of the ninth inning, trailing the Cincinnati Reds 2-1, Lampard parked one over the Astrodome’s right-field wall for a 3-2 walkoff victory.
Lampard played most of the 1970 season with the Astros, managing only four games with OKC, while appearing in 53 games for Houston, mostly as a pinch-hitter. On May 3, in a rare start, Lampard doubled and scored in the fourth to make it 1-0, then tripled and scored in the seventh inning of an 8-1 win over the St. Louis Cardinals. In the final game of the season, on October 1, Lampard hit a two-out game-tying RBI-single in the bottom of the seventh in a 5-4 victory over the San Francisco Giants.
Lampard played another season-and-a-half with the Astros in their minor league system, then spent some time in the systems of the Cardinals and the Philadelphia Phillies. Lampard passed in 2020.
697. Brandon Bailey is a five-foot-10 right-handed pitcher from Westminster, CO. Born on October 19, 1994, he was a sixth-round selection of the Oakland Athletics in 2016 out of Gonzaga University. Bailey played four seasons in Oakland’s farm system, then got traded to the Astros for Ramón Laureano after the 2017 season. After the 2019 season, still not having risen to the major league level, Bailey was drafted in the rule 5 draft by the Baltimore Orioles, but was returned in 2020 without having appeared in a game.
In 2020, with nowhere to stash Bailey, the Astros gave him his shot. Although he didn’t blow anyone away, Bailey did provide positive-WPA in each of his five appearances. His best was on August 14, when he struck out three Mariners over two scoreless innings in an 11-1 Houston victory against Seattle. Bailey totaled 7 1⁄3 innings and struck out four, allowing two runs on three walks and six hits.
Since his time in the majors, Bailey joined the Cincinnati Reds system, and underwent Tommy John Surgery. Without getting back to the majors by 2023, he signed on with the Chicago White Sox, and appeared in two games for them in the minors. He was granted free agency last week.
696. Edwin Maysonet is a six-foot-one right-handed middle infielder from Arecibo, PR. Born on October 17, 1981, he was Houston’s 19th-round selection in 2003 out of Delta State University. The following season he slashed .261/.372/.453 in 109 games with the Single-A Lexington Legends.
By 2008, Maysonet was with the Triple-A Round Rock Express and played in 117 games in total, hitting .271 with six home runs and 34 RBI. He was good enough that he was called to join the Astros at the parent-club level in September. On September 17, he collected his first major league hit, a single against the Florida Marlins in a 14-2 loss.
Maysonet played in 59 contests for Round Rock in 2009, and hit .235. On May 29, he hit a second-inning single and scored the first run of the game against Pittsburgh. In the fourth, he hit a two-run homer for a 3-0 lead. In the sixth, he hit a two-run double for a 5-0 lead. He added a leadoff single in the eighth for good measure in a 6-0 victory against the Pirates. This was his game. Do you remember?
Between the two seasons, Maysonet appeared in 46 games and was 21-for-76 with nine runs, two doubles, a home run, and seven RBI. He drew five walks and struck out 21 times. After the 2010 season in the minors, Maysonet signed on with the Milwaukee Brewers, appearing in 30 games for them in 2012. It was the last time he played in the major leagues.
695. Troy Patton is a switch-hitting left-handed pitcher from Spring, TX. Born on September 3, 1985, he was an Astros draft pick in the ninth round in 2004 out of Tomball HS.
In 2005, between the Salem Avalanche and the Lexington Legends, Patton was 6-6 with a 2.18 ERA, a 1.011 WHIP, and 9.9 K/9. By 2007, he made his major league debut with the Astros on August 25, starting and losing against the Pittsburgh Pirates, 4-1.
Patton was better in his second game, racking up a Quality Start with six innings of work, during which he allowed three runs (two earned) on three hits and one walk, with three strikeouts in a 4-3 loss to the Chicago Cubs. In three games in total, he struck out eight in 12 2⁄3 innings, with four walks issued and five earned runs surrendered. After the 2007 season, Patton was traded with Matt Albers, Mike Costanzo, Dennis Sarfate and Luke Scott to the Baltimore Orioles for Miguel Tejada.
Patton played five seasons for the Orioles (5-2, 3.26, 169 IP) and part of the 2014 campaign with the San Diego Padres (0-0, 2.45, 7 1⁄3 IP).
694. Jack Howell is a six-foot lefty batting and righty throwing corner infielder and leftfielder from Tucson, AZ. Born on August 18, 1961, he began his professional baseball career in 1983 with the Low-A Salem Angels, California’s affiliate.
Howell played nine seasons in two stints with the Angels (822 games, .241/.319/.428, 100 home runs, 313 RBI). His time with the Angels was interrupted by one season with the San Diego Padres (58 games, .206/.287/.350) and four years in the Japan Central League with the Yakult Swallows and the Yomiuri Giants. In the offseason following 1997, Howell signed on with Houston.
On May 14 in his first year with the Astros, Howell hit a pair of doubles and drew a walk in a 7-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. He went 11-for-38 overall, with five doubles and a homer with seven RBI, four runs scored, and four walks with 12 strikeouts in 24 games.
In 1999, Howell appeared in another 37 games for Houston and went seven-for-33 with two doubles, one homer, two runs, and one RBI. He also drew eight walks and struck out nine times. After his playing career, Howell worked his way up to Single-A manager, filling that role for the Burlington Bees in the Single-A Midwest League.
693. Mark Ross is a six-foot right-handed pitcher from Galveston, TX. Born on August 8, 1954, he was Houston’s seventh-round choice in 1979 out of Texas A&M University. He got to the majors for the first time with the Astros in 1982. He came in to pitch relief four times through the last month of the season. On September 17, he struck out two over a perfect sixth inning in a 9-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. He gave up one run over six innings, with four strikeouts, zero walks, and three hits allowed.
Ross didn’t appear with the Astros in 1983, and in 1984 only appeared twice for Houston in September. On September 1, he won his first major league game, pitching a perfect fifth inning in an 8-4 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.
Ross returned to the Astros in May of 1985, pitching in another eight games. On June 15, he pitched three scoreless innings against the Dodgers, allowing only a hit in a 3-0 loss to Los Angeles. After another season in Houston’s minors, Ross signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1987, pitching one inning. He later appeared with the Toronto Blue Jays (7 1⁄3 IP, 4.91 ERA) and the Pirates again in 1990 (12 2⁄3 IP, 3.55).
In Ross’ time with the Astros, he pitched 13 2⁄3 innings, racking up a 3.38 ERA and striking out eight. He gave up eight runs on 16 hits and two walks, with a 0.844 WHIP.
692. Matt Gage is a six-foot-three left-handed pitcher from Johnstown, NY. Born on February 11, 1993, he was a 10th-round choice in 2014 by the San Francisco Giants, out of Siena College.
Gage took the long road to the majors. After five seasons in the Giants system, he played in the minors for the New York Mets. In 2018, he appeared in unaffiliated ball, ironically with the Sugar Land Skeeters. After pitching 2019 in Mexico, and 2020 in the Constellation Energy League, he pitched a season with the Arizona Diamondbacks minors. In 2022, he signed with the Toronto Blue Jays, and got to the majors with them in June. He pitched 13 innings for the Jays, striking out 12 and giving up six hits and six walks for two earned runs.
On February 13, 2023, the Astros claimed Gage off waivers from Toronto. In 37 1⁄3 innings for the Sugar Land Spacer Cowboys, Gage struck out 39 and posted a 1.634 WHIP with a 4.58 ERA. In May, he was called to Houston.
In Gage’s Houston debut, he pitched 1 2⁄3 scoreless innings, allowing two hits and striking one out in a 2-0 loss to the San Francisco Giants. On June 15, he struck out both batters he faced in a 4-1 10-inning loss to the Washington Nationals.
691. Roy Thomas is a six-foot-five right-handed pitcher from Quantico, VA. Born on June 22, 1953, he was a first-round selection in 1971 by the Philadelphia Phillies out of Lompoc HS. Before making his way to the majors, Thomas was traded to the Chicago White Sox, drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the expansion draft, then traded to the Astros for Larry Milbourne.
The 1977 season was Thomas’ first in Houston’s system, and he was 11-6 for the Charleston Charlies, with a 3.16 ERA and a 1.238 WHIP. In September, he got his first callup to the majors. On September 30, he pitched two scoreless innings in a 6-5 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Thomas pitched in four games for the Astros, totaling 6 1⁄3 innings and striking out four. He allowed five hits and three walks for two runs in total.
On June 23, 1978, Thomas was still in Houston’s system, in the minors when he was waived and subsequently claimed by the St. Louis Cardinals. He played three seasons for the birds (6-8, 3.70, 160 1⁄3 IP), then four with the Seattle Mariners (14-3, 3.92, 252 2⁄3 IP). After Thomas retired, he went on to teach high school math in Washington State.
690. Joe Thatcher is a six-foot-two left-handed pitcher from Indianapolis, IN. Born on October 4, 1981, he started his professional career with the River City Rascals in the independent Frontier League.
Thatcher eventually broke into the majors with the San Diego Padres in 2007 (8-11, 3.18, 198 1⁄3 IP), also playing with the Arizona Diamondbacks (1-1, 3.78, 33 1⁄3 IP) and the Los Angeles Angels (1-1, 8.53, 6 1⁄3 IP). Just before Spring training in 2015, Thatcher signed through free agency to play for the Astros.
Thatcher played most of the 2015 campaign for the Astros at the parent club level, pitching in 43 games. In only 11 of those did he pitch an entire inning or more. Thatcher played in an era where there wasn’t a minimum amount of batters that a reliever would have to face.
On May 24, Thatcher got his only win of the season, pitching a perfect sixth inning in a 10-8 win against the Detroit Tigers. On June 12, Thatcher struck out three in a scoreless ninth inning to close out a 10-0 win against the Seattle Mariners.
Thatcher bumped right up against my artificial 100 BF barrier, totaling 22 2⁄3 innings with Houston that season. He was 1-3 with a 3.18 ERA, with 12 walks and 26 strikeouts. The 2015 season was his final time in the majors.
Tomorrow’s players, 13 in total, accrued between 21 and 100 PA/BF with the Houston franchise. Each of these players landed between 0.0045 and 0.0073 bWAR per PA/BF with the team.