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Everystros Countdown: Chapter XXVII
The 27th chapter of our countdown again focuses on a dozen players who accrued between 101 and 500 BF/PA with Houston through their first 62 seasons of operations. The players in today’s dispatch were a collective 10.2 wins below replacement level over 2,810 BF/PA, an average of negative-0.0036 bWAR per plate transaction.
612. Raúl Chávez is a right-handed catcher from Valencia, VA. Born on March 17, 1973, he made his first inroads to the majors in 1990, in 48 games with the rookie-level GCL Astros. Chávez hit .323/.358/.387, with no power and a little speed. He then played single-A with the Burlington Astros in 1991, in 114 games, he slashed .257/.312/.319 with three moon-shots and 41 RBI. He remained at Single-A in 1992 with the Asheville Tourists, slashing .285/320/.371 in 95 contests.
In 1993, Chávez graduated to the High-A level with the Osceola Astros, where in 58 games he slashed out a .228/.261/.264 line. With the Double-A Jackson Generals in 1994, he hit .219/.273/.259 in 89 games. In 1995, he split the season between the Generals and the Tucson Toros in Triple-A, where over 90 games combined he hit .278/.324/.364. After the 1995 season, the Astros traded Chavéz with Dave Veres to the Montreal Expos for Sean Berry.
After joining the Expos, Chavéz was far from through with minor league ball, although he did make his first major league appearances. In parts of two seasons in the majors for Montreal he went eight-for-31 and scored one run with two RBI. He also stole two bases. As a part of the Seattle Mariners organization, he got to the majors for one plate appearance, going 0-for-1. Seattle granted his free agency following the 1999 season.
Houston signed Chavéz just four days into the latest millennium. The 2000 campaign would see him mostly ensconced with the Triple-A New Orleans Zephyrs, playing in 99 games and hitting .244/.325/.307. He joined the Astros for August and September. On September 6, he hit a pair of singles and drew a walk, scoring a run in a 13-5 win against the Florida Marlins. He appeared in 14 games overall with Houston, going 11-for-43 with two doubles and a homer, with three runs scored, five RBI, and six strikeouts.
In 2001, Chavéz remained with the Zephyrs the entire season, hitting .302/.361/.450 in 85 games with eight home runs and 40 RBI. In 2002, again with the Zeps, he hit .228/.278/.279. He reached the majors with the Astros once more near the very end of the campaign, getting into two of their final four games. On September 29, he hit a double and drew a walk, scoring once in a 7-5 win over the Milwaukee Brewers.
In 2003, Chavéz slashed .273/.315/.409 with six jacks and 47 RBI. In his first callup of the season, he hit a two-run homer in a pinch-hit appearance on April 15 in an eventual 8-4 loss to the San Francisco Giants. On August 24, he hit a single and a double in a 6-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds. On September 26, he had his first three-hit game, with two singles and a triple in a 12-5 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.
The 2004 campaign was the first in which Chavéz spent the whole season in the majors. Through 64 appearances, he registered multiple hits seven times. On September 26, he hit an RBI-single in the first, hit a three-run double in the fifth, later coming around to score, then added another RBI-single in the seventh, totaling five RBI in an 11-5 win over the Milwaukee Brewers. In the postseason he was four-for-nine, with a solo home run in Houston’s 4-2 loss to the Atlanta Braves.
Over the course of the complete season, Chavéz went 34-for-162 with eight doubles. He walked 10 times, scored nine runs, drove in 23, and struck out 38 times, slashing .210/.256/.259.
In 2005, in 34 games with the Round Rock Express, he hit .252/.299/.319. He also played for Houston proper in 37 contests. On April 22, he collected three singles and scored a run in an 8-7 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. Overall he was 17-for-99 with three doubles and two homers with six RBI. After Spring Training in 2006, the Baltimore Orioles claimed Chavéz when Houston tried to pass him through waivers.
Chavéz played in 16 games for the Orioles, slashing .179/.207/.179. He later played with the Pittsburgh Pirates (42 games, .259/.287/.319) and the Toronto Maple Leafs (51 games, .258/.285/.346).
611. Jerome Williams is a six-foot-three right-handed pitcher from Honolulu, HI. Born on December 4, 1981, he was originally taken in the first round of the 1999 draft, by the San Francisco Giants with the 39th overall selection out of high school. It was eventually the Giants with whom Williams made his major league debut in 2003.
WIlliams pitched for three seasons with San Francisco (17-14, 3.93, 277 IP). He later pitched for the Chicago Cubs (6-10, 4.26, 178 1⁄3 IP), the Washington Nationals (0-5, 7.20, 30 IP), and the Los Angeles Angels (19-18, 4.46, 351 IP). Prior to 2014 Spring Training, he signed with the Astros.
On May 31, Williams struck out four in three innings, and allowed one run in a 4-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles. As the Houston’s multi-inning specialist, he totaled 47 2⁄3 innings in 26 games, going 1-4 with a 6.04 ERA, a 1.573 WHIP, and 7.2 K/9.
On July 8, the Astros released Williams, but he wasn’t unemployed for long. He signed a few days later with the Texas Rangers (1-1, 9.90, 10 IP). He also appeared later on with the Philadelphia Phillies (8-14, 4.84, 178 1⁄3 IP) and the St. Louis Cardinals (0-0, 5.71, 17 1⁄3 IP).
610. Mike Barlow is a six-foot-six right-handed pitcher from Stamford, NY. Born on April 30, 1948, he was first drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 26th round out of Syracuse University in 1969. In 1970, he was taken in the fourth round by the Los Angeles Dodgers. He signed with neither of these teams, eventually signing with the Oakland Athletics as a free agent later in 1970.
After spending five years and part of a sixth in the A’s farm system, they sent him as a PTBNL with Steve Staniland to the St. Louis Cardinals for Ted Martinez. Barlow broke into the majors with St. Louis, and gave up six runs in 7 2⁄3 innings, on 11 hits and three walks. On the last day of the 1975 season, the Cards sent Barlow to Houston to complete an earlier trade (Mike Easler).
Barlow pitched 11 innings over nine relief appearances with Houston’s Triple-A Memphis Blues. On April 13, he came into a 0-0 tie with the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth against the Giants, then got Ken Reitz to fly out in foul territory to end the threat. He then pitched perfect sixth and seventh innings, striking out three to come away with a win over San Francisco, 2-1.
Barlow pitched in 16 games for Houston that season, all in relief. He struck out 11 in 22 innings, allowing 27 hits and 17 walks for an even 2.000 WHIP, a 2-2 record, and a 4.50 ERA. While back with the Blues in 1996, the Astros traded Barlow with Terry Humphrey to the California Angels for Ed Herrmann.
Barlow played three seasons for the Angels (5-3, 4.90, 147 IP), and later played another two years with the Toronto Blue Jays (3-1, 4.11, 70 IP).
609. Buddy Harris was a six-foot-seven right-handed pitcher from Philadelphia, PA. born on December 5, 1948, he was initially a 13th-round selection of the Atlanta Braves in 1966 out of high school. After going unsigned, the Astros spent a first-round choice on him in 1968, with the 15th overall choice out of the University of Miami.
Harris, a giant drink of water at 245 lbs., plied his trade in 1969 with the Peninsula Astros, going 12-4 with a 1.84 ERA and 129 K’s in 132 IP at Single-A. In 1970 at the Double-A level with the Columbus Astros, he was 11-9 with a 2.02 ERA. The Astros at that point clearly seen enough to give Harris a look in the bigs. They brought him up in September, and put him in a pair of low leverage outings. In 6 1⁄3 innings, he allowed four earned runs six hits and no walks, striking out two but surrendering three home runs.
Harris spent part of the next season down at Triple-A with the Oklahoma City 89ers, posting a 1.32 ERA in 34 innings along with 32 strikeouts. He also spent a broad swath across the 1971 campaign with the Astros, appearing for at least part of every month excepting May. On July 19, he earned a win by tossing a scoreless 11th despite allowing a pair of hits in a 3-2 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies. On September 1, he struck out six over 3 1⁄3 hitless frames in a 9-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
In 20 appearances for Houston, Harris went 1-1 with a 6.46 ERA and 21 K’s in 30 2⁄3 innings pitched. He walked 16 and allowed 33 hits for a 1.598 WHIP. He went 6-14 with a 3.41 ERA in 23 starts for the 89ers in 1972, but did not get back to the majors. After that season, Houston traded Harris with Rich Chiles to the New York Mets for Tommie Agee.
608. Francis Martes is a six-foot right-handed pitcher from Cotui, DR. Born on November 24, 1995, he opened his professional career with the DSL Marlins at the Rookie-level in 2013, going 3-3 with a 3.04 ERA. On July 31, 2014, the Marlins sent Martes with Jake Marisnick, Colin Moran, and a draft pick (eventually Daz Cameron) for minor leaguer Austin Wates, Jarred Cosart, and Enrique Hernández.
By 2017, Martes was ranked as highly as the number 15 prospect in all of baseball by Baseball America, and on June 9 joined the Astros at the parent-club level for the first time. On June 14, he struck out seven in five innings, allowing one run on three hits. He earned the victory as Houston eventually topped the Texas Rangers, 13-2. In Houston’s final game of the season, he struck out two batters in a perfect eighth to hold the lead in a 3-2 win over the Boston Red Sox.
Over 32 games in total, 28 in relief, Martes struck out 69 batters in 54 1⁄3 innings for an 11.4 K/9, but also allowed 40 runs (35 earned) on 51 hits and 31 walks for a 1.509 WHIP and a 4.45 FIP. He did not appear in any postseason contests on Houston’s run to the World Series Championship.
Martes hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2017, but has remained in professional baseball at various levels (see video above). He stayed in Houston’s system until 2021, and has spent the last few years between the Mexican and Dominican leagues.
607. Jake Elmore is a five-foot-10 right-handed shortstop and left fielder from Dothan, AL. Born on June 15, 1987, he was a 48th-round pick of the Florida Marlins in 2007 out of Wallace State Community College. In 2008, he went in the 34th round to the Arizona Diamondbacks out of Arizona State University. He debuted with the D-Backs in the majors in 2012, going 13-for-68 with seven RBI in 30 games.
After the 2012 season, Houston claimed Elmore off waivers from Arizona. Elmore appeared in three games for the Astros in May, going four-for-11 with a double and an RBI, then rejoined the minors. On June 26, he joined the team once more for the balance of the campaign. On June 30, he hit a single and a double, scoring a run in a 7-5 win over the Detroit Tigers.
Elmore played in a total of 52 games for Houston, earning two hits in eight of them. Overall he was 29-for-120 with four doubles and two homers. He drew 13 walks, scored 16 runs, and drove in six. He also stole one base (in seven attempts) and struck out 20 times.
So Elmore wasn’t really a rock star for the Astros, but he did play at all nine positions, with a perfect fielding percentage everywhere but shortstop (.926) and second base (.982) through the season. In his single inning pitched in a 16-5 loss to the Texas Rangers, Elmore was perfect on 11 pitches, not allowing a baserunner.
Elmore later appeared in the majors with the Cincinnati Reds (five games, two-for-11), the Tampa Bay Rays (51 games, .206/.263/.284), the Milwaukee Brewers (59 games, .218/.371/.244) and the Pittsburgh Pirates (20 games, .213/.245/.234).
606. Preston Wilson is a six-foot-two right-handed centerfielder from Bamberg, SC. He was a first-round choice of the New York Mets in 1992, out of high school with the ninth overall selection off the board. He made his debut with them in 1998, going six-for-20 in eight games, then got traded to the Florida Marlins with Geoff Goetz and Ed Yarnall for Mike Piazza.
Wilson played five seasons with the Marlins, hitting ..262/.333/.473 in 588 games, with 104 home runs and 329 RBI. He later played for the Colorado Rockies (284 games, .269/.333/.498, 57 jacks, 217 RBI, one All-Star appearance) and the Washington Nationals (68 games, .261/.329/.443, 10 home runs, 43 RBI).
Before Spring Training in 2006, the Astros came to terms with Preston on a free-agent deal. He appeared in 102 games in total for Houston, racking up multiple hits 29 times. On April 5, he hit two singles and a home run with two RBI in a 6-5 win over the Marlins. On May 25 he hit three singles and a double with an RBI in an 8-5 loss to the Nats.
Wilson went 105-for-390 with Houston through the season, a .269 average. He drew 22 walks, for a .309 OBP, and hit 22 doubles, two triples, and nine homers, for a .405 SLG. He scored 40 runs, struck out 94 times, and stole six bases in eight attempts. In 863 innings of defensive work across the outfield, he fielded at a 1.000 clip, although advanced metrics suggest that he was a mostly below-average outfielder (thus the negative bWAR).
On August 12, the Astros released Wilson, and he signed with the St. Louis Cardinals six days later. Through the rest of the 2006 season and part of 2007, Wilson appeared in 58 games for the Birds, hitting .234/.287/.423 with nine home runs and 22 RBI.
605. Bob Gallagher is a six-foot-three left-handed outfielder from Newton, MA. Born on July 7, 1947, he was a 17th-round pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1968 out of Stanford University. After the 1971 season, the Boston Red Sox selected Gallagher in the rule 5 draft. In seven games he was 0-for-5 at the big league level for the Sox. After the 1972 season, the Astros also picked Gallagher in the rule 5 draft.
In 71 games in 1973, Gallagher totaled more than one hit on eight occasions, mostly in the last two weeks of August. Between August 19 and September 2, Gallagher put together a 12-game hitting streak, going 20-for-52 with two doubles, a triple and five RBI. The span includes seven of his eight multiple hit games for the season. In total, he was 39-for-148 with three doubles, a triple and two home runs with 10 RBI for a slashline of .264/.275/.338. He scored 16 runs and drew three walks, with 27 strikeouts. As a defender, he played 263 innings in the outfield without negative incident.
Gallagher remained with the Astros in 1974, playing in 102 games but he only started five of them, and played a complete game in four. The more sporadic workload did not work in Gallagher’s favor. He was 15-for-87 with two doubles and three RBI, with 13 runs, 12 walks, one stolen base, and 23 strikeouts. On July 14, he hit a walkoff RBI single in the 12th inning of a 7-6 victory over the Chicago Cubs. He made one error in 182 outfield innings, his only one with the team. SABR Bio
After the 1974 season was in the books, the Astros traded Gallagher to the New York Mets for Ken Boswell. In 33 games for the Mets he hit .133/.188/.200.
604. Willie Blair is a six-foot-one right-handed pitcher from Paintsville, KY. Born on December 18, 1965, he was an 11th-round choice of the Toronto Blue Jays in 1986 out of Morehead State University. In 1990, he reached the bigs with the Jays, going 3-5 in 27 appearances, including six starts. He struck out 43 in 68 2⁄3 innings, with a 1.369 WHIP, a 3.58 FIP, and 5.6 K/9. In 1991 he played for the Cleveland Indians (58 games, 2-3, 6.75, 36 IP).
After the 1991 season, the Tribe traded Blair with Ed Taubensee to the Astros for Kenny Lofton and Dave Rohde. Yeah we lost that one.
With the Astros, Blair pitched a then-career-high 78 2⁄3 innings, going 5-7 with a 4.00 ERA and a 1.258 WHIP, along with a 3.42 FIP and 5.5 K/9. With an aLi of 0.80, he wasn’t really trusted as a heavy leverage reliever, but he did have his rock star moments. On July 9, he pitched six shutout innings, striking out as many and scattering four hits in a 4-0 win over the New York Mets. On September 14, he pitched six innings against the San Francisco Giants, allowing one hit, two walks, and no runs while striking out seven in an eventual 5-0 victory.
After the season, the Colorado Rockies chose Blair in the expansion draft, with the 21st pick. After Blair’s time with the Rockies (6-15, 5.11, 223 2⁄3 IP), he later pitched for the San Diego Padres (9-11, 4.46, 202 IP), the Detroit Tigers (30-29, 5.44, 489 2⁄3 IP), the Arizona Diamondbacks (4-15, 5.34, 146 2⁄3 IP), and the Mets (1-1, 3.14, 28 2⁄3 IP).
603. Kirk Bullinger is a six-foot-two right-handed pitcher from New Orleans, LA. Born on October 28, 1969, he went in the 32nd round back in 1992 to the St. Louis Cardinals out of Southeastern Louisiana University. After three years in the Redbirds system, he was traded to the Montreal Expos, and eventually reached the bigs in 1998 for them.
Bullinger allowed 14 hits and no walks in seven innings for the Expos, for seven runs over eight appearances. He reached the majors again in 1999 for the Boston Red Sox, pitching two innings over four games. In 2000, he pitched 3 1⁄3 innings over three games for the Philadelphia Phillies. After that, he spent the 2001 season in the minors between the Chicago White Sox and the Cleveland Indians, not getting back to the majors.
On December 21, 2001, Bullinger signed a deal with Houston, then spent the 2002 campaign bunked up in their farm system. In 2003, he finally got back to the show. In seven games for Houston he pitched eight innings, striking out five and allowing six runs on seven hits and a walk.
The 2004 campaign would finally see Bullinger get a chance with a larger sample size. With an aLi of just .39, you’d be right in assuming that Houston didn’t really trust Bullinger to be a “lock down” kind of reliever. On August 11, however, he got a pretty good shot in a tight situation. Called on to pitch the 10th with a 5-4 lead over the New York Mets, he allowed a single but faced the minimum to earn a save, the only one of his career.
Bullinger appeared in 27 games in 2004, more than the rest of his career to that point, with 30 2⁄3 innings pitched. He struck out 11 and gave up a 1.500 WHIP and a 5.53 FIP with a 6.16 ERA, but his major league career came to an end with an all-time record of 2-0. Undefeated.
602. Enerio Del Rosario is a six-foot-two right-handed pitcher from Santa Lucia, DR. Born on October 16, 1985, he first appeared professionally with the DSL Reds at the Rookie-level in 2006, where he was 5-5 with a 1.78 ERA and only 15 walks in 70 2⁄3 innings. That’s great right? Yeah, but he also hit 10 batters and issued three wild pitches. It’s OK, he had time to grow.
Del Rosario reached the majors with the Reds in 2010 (1-1, 4.50 ERA, 10 IP). Halfway through September, the Astros purchased his contract. Houston only used Del Rosario in a pair of losses that were already out of reach. In 1 1⁄3 innings he allowed three runs on four hits, striking one batter out.
Del Rosario was another pitcher that Houston used in semi-low leverage situations in 2011, but not in every appearance. On September 26, in his highest leveraged game of the season, he performed at his best. Called on with no outs and a runner on second, in a 4-4 tie against the St. Louis Cardinals, he bent but did not break, issuing a leadoff walk, allowing a sacrifice bunt to move them up a base, then induced an infield pop out and a 4-3 groundout to end the threat. The Astros eventually won, 5-4. Overall he was 0-3 with a 4.58 ERA and 31 K’s in 53 innings. He had a career-best 1.698 WHIP and a 4.52 FIP. The 250 batters he faced over the course of the season was well over half of his career yield.
In 2012, Del Rosario pitched in 19 games for Houston, allowing 21 runs (19 earned) on 34 hits and seven walks. He struck out 11, but his 9.00 ERA and 2.158 WHIP didn’t have the agents banging on his door. It was his final look at the major leagues.
601. Rich Gedman is a six-foot lefty-batting and righty-throwing catcher from Worchester, MA. Born on September 26, 1959, he first appeared in the professional ranks in 1978 with the Winter Haven Red Sox in the Single-A Florida State League.
Gedman played the greatest part of his career in Boston, both in duration and in accolades. Over 11 years, he played in 906 games, and hit .259/.310./412 with 88 home runs and 382 RBI, making the American League All-Star Team in 1985 and 1986. On June 8, 1990, the Red Sox sent him to the Astros as part of a conditional deal that I’m not privy to the details of. Does anyone here know? Leave it in the comments.
Gedman played in 40 games for the Astros through the second half of the 1990 campaign. On June 28, he was the difference maker in a 2-1 10-inning win over the San Diego Padres. He reached base four times, with two walks, a single and a double, with an RBI.
Gedman was 21-for-104 with seven doubles and a home run for the Astros. He scored four runs and drew 15 walks, striking out 24 times. Granted free agency following the season, he signed on with the St. Louis Cardinals for two seasons (87 games, .166/.221/.251, four homers, 16 RBI). SABR Bio
Tomorrow we get into the first 12 of the “Top 600 Astros,” featuring a bunch of guys who were good enough to play, but not good enough to play forever with Houston. Tomorrow’s entrants have between 122 and 419 plate transactions (PA + BF) and are between negative-0.0032 and negative-0.0030 bWAR per plate transaction.