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Astros Crawfish Boil: November 22, 2023

Welcome to the humpday Boil, and Chapter XXVIII of the Everystros Countdown.

David Hensley
| Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Welcome to the Wednesday Boil!

Houston Astros News

Q&A with Astros manager, UMobile All-American Joe Espada (Lagniappe Mobile)

Alex Bregman’s winning habit goes beyond baseball as Houston Astros star bags top horse racing award (Sportskeeda)

How Astros now find themselves at crossroads of fan favorites, star power, and contendership (SportsMap)

AL West News

Seattle MarinersFree Agent Target: Mariners could add a high leverage bullpen arm in Matt Moore (Sodo Mojo)

Los Angeles Angels —Pitching Coach Selected, What’s an Offensive Coordinator? (KARE 11)

Oakland AthleticsBy the numbers: Breaking down A’s 2023 community impact

Texas RangersWorld Champion Texas Rangers Give Smaller Playoff Shares Than 2022 Houston Astros (SI)

MLB News

In search of the club that needs Ohtani the most

Each team’s top ‘24 Rookie of the Year candidate

What Yamamoto’s nasty stuff might look like in MLB

Debating the 2024 HOF ballot: Who gets in? Who takes another big leap?

Which ace pitcher is most likely to be traded this offseason?

Cards keep adding pitching, sign veteran Gibson

The ageless Ichiro hits 86 mph in 116-pitch shutout vs. All-Star women’s team

Every free agent by position

Houston Astros Birthdays

LHP Parker Mushinski (28)

RHP Óscar Villarreal (42)

LF Rich Chiles (74)

LHP Wade Blasingame (80)

OF Joe Gaines (1936-2023)

Everystros Countdown Chapter XXVIII

600. Jack DiLauro is a six-foot-two left-handed pitcher from Akron, OH. Born on March 3, 1943, he made his major league debut with the New York Mets in 1969, pitching 63 23 innings in 23 appearances, including four starts. He pitched to a 2.40 ERA and a 1.068 WHIP, with 27 strikeouts against 18 walks. After the 1969 season, DiLauro was chosen by the Astros in the rule 5 draft.

DiLauro appeared in 42 games out of the bullpen for Houston, remaining at the parent club level for the entire campaign. On July 12, he inherited a bases-loaded situation in the eighth inning, up by a run and with one out, He struck out Willie McCovey to nearly end the threat as Houston’s third pitcher out of five of the inning. DeLauro’s WPA was a season-best .173 with only that one batter faced.

DiLauro struck out 23 in 33 23 innings, and allowed 23 runs (16 earned) on 34 hits and 17 walks. It was his last appearances at the major league level. He spent 1971 in the minors with the San Diego Padres and the Atlanta Braves system, and 1972 on the farm for the Montreal Expos. SABR Bio

599. Gordie Pladson is a six-foot-four right-handed pitcher from New Westminster, Canada. Born on July 31, 1956, he made his first pro appearance in 1973 with the Rookie-level Covington Astros in the Appalachian League. In 1979, he reached the bigs with Houston, appearing in four games in September. On September 11, he pitched 1 13 shutout innings for Houston, allowing a hit but keeping the Reds off the board in an eventual 9-8 loss to Cincinnati.

Pladson appeared in 12 games for the Astros in 1980, more than he played in the rest of his career combined. He started six times and relieved in six games as well. On July 28, he started and pitched eight innings against Philadelphia, striking out three and allowing two runs on four hits and a walk. In 41 13 innings in total, he struck out 13 and walked 16, allowing 23 runs on 38 hits for a 4.35 ERA and a 1.306 WHIP.

Pladson reached the majors in both 1981 and 1982 as well, pitching two games in each season to put a cap on his major league career. Overall, he had a 6.04 ERA and 1.757 WHIP in 50 23 innings.

598. Xavier Cedeño is a five-foot-11 left-handed pitcher from Guayanilla, PR. Born on August 26, 1986, he was originally a part of the farm system for the Colorado Rockies in 2005. He never reached the bigs with Colorado, getting released at the end of 2010 Spring Training. Instead of signing immediately, he pretty much took the year off, and signed with the Astros in December. In 2011, he reached the bigs for the first time with the Astros, and pitched in three games.

The bulk of Cedeño’s major league time with Houston happened in 2012. On August 8, he struck out a batter in a perfect sixth inning in an eventual 4-3 loss to the Washington Nationals. In 44 appearances in total, he struck out 36 in 31 innings, allowing 15 runs on 30 hits and 14 walks. He had a 3.77 ERA, a 1.419 WHIP, and 10.5 K/9.

Cedeño appeared in five games for Houston in 2013, coughing up 11 runs in 6 13 innings. Waived on April 23, he was claimed off the wire by the Nats. After his time with Washington (0-0, 3.38, 16 IP), he played with the Tampa Bay Rays (8-6, 3.19, 87 13 IP), the Chicago White Sox (2-0, 2.84, 25 13 IP), the Milwaukee Brewers (0-0, 1.13, 8 IP), and the Chicago Cubs (0-0, 0.00, 2 IP).

597. Kent Bottenfield is a six-foot-three right-handed pitcher from Portland, OR. Born on November 14, 1968, he was taken in the fourth round of the 1986 draft, by the Montreal Expos. He made the majors with Montreal in 1992 for his major league debut.

After his time with the Expos (3-7, 3.59, 115 13 IP), Bottenfield played in the majors with the Colorado Rockies (6-6, 6.04, 101 13 IP), the San Francisco Giants (0-0, 10.80, 1 23 IP), the Chicago Cubs (5-8, 3.34, 145 23 IP), the St. Louis Cardinals (22-13, 4.17, 324 IP), Anaheim Angels (7-8, 5.71, 127 23 IP), and the Philadelphia Phillies (1-2, 4.50, 44 IP).

On January 3, 2001, Bottenfield signed with the Astros through free agency, On April 13, he started and lasted seven innings, striking out four and allowing two runs on five hits and zero walks, earning his first win of the season in a 4-2 victory against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Bottenfield appeared in 13 of Houston’s first 59 games of the season, starting in nine of them and ending up with a 2-5 record and one save. By mid-June, he had accrued a 6.40 ERA in 52 innings of work, with a 1.481 WHIP and 39 K’s versus 16 walks. After his June 9 appearance, he was sent down to the Double-A level with the Round Rock Express. It was his last time in the majors.

596. Hector Ambriz is a six-foot-two left-handed batting and righty-throwing pitcher from Orange, CA. Born on May 24, 1984, he was a 28th-round selection of the Chicago White Sox in 2002 out of high school. Four years later, the Arizona Diamondbacks spent their fifth-round selection on Ambriz out of the University of California at Los Angeles.

Before getting to the majors with the Diamondbacks, the Cleveland Indians chose Ambriz in the 2009 rule 5 draft. The 2010 season would see Ambriz pitch 48 13 innings with the Tribe, going 0-2 with a 5.59 ERA and a 1.759 WHIP. In the middle of the 2012 season, with Ambriz not going anywhere in terms of advancement, Cleveland granted his release. Houston signed him four days later, on June 21.

Ambriz got into his first game for the Astros on August 23. On August 29, he struck out three and allowed only a walk in two innings of relief against the Giants, in a 6-4 loss to San Francisco. With a 1.07 aLi, he was trusted a little more than the low leverage guys, and in his five appearances over aLi 1 he produced positive results three times. On September 1, he faced the minimum and struck out two in a 2-1 win against the Cincinnati Reds.

In 19 13 innings for Houston that season, Ambriz gave up only 14 hits and 11 walks for a 1.293 WHIP and a 4.19 ERA. A bit more impressively, he came away with an opposing slashline of .206/.333/.279 in 83 PA.

In 2013, Ambriz spent the first four months of the season with the Astros proper. On April 17, he pitched 1 13 perfect innings, collecting one strikeout in an eventual 7-5 loss to the Oakland Athletics. In 43 games, he was 2-4 with a 5.70 ERA, a 1.761 WHIP, and 27 strikeouts in 36 13 innings. Houston granted his free agency following the season.

Ambriz made it back to the majors with the San Diego Padres in 2014, but only for two innings in one game.

595. David Hensley is a six-foot-six right-handed right-side infielder from San Diego, CA. Born on March 28, 1996, the Astros selected him in the 26th round of the 2018 draft out of San Diego State University. By 2022, with the Sugar Land Space Cowboys, he hit .298/.420/.478 with 10 home runs and 57 RBI, along with 20 stolen bases in 27 attempts.

On August 27, 2022, Hensley got his first taste of major league ball, going 0-for-3 in a 3-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles. On August 31, he reached base four times with three singles and a walk in a 5-3 victory over the Texas Rangers. On September 27, he hit his first home run, adding a single and totaling three RBI in a 10-2 win against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

After getting one plate appearance in the ALDS against the Seattle Mariners, Hensley went two-for-seven in two World Series games against the Philadelphia Phillies.

Hensley started out the 2023 season well enough with Houston proper, opening the year with two hits in a 6-3 win over the Chicago White Sox on March 31. Over his first eight games, he was seven-for-28 with three walks and two RBI. He went hitless in his next 24 plate appearances, and just three-for-56 through the rest of the season. He finished with a .119/.213/.167 line, with a double, a homer, 10 walks, 12 runs, and 35 strikeouts. Hensley remains on Houston’s 40-man roster.

594. Ezequiel Astacio is a six-foot-three right-handed pitcher from Hato Mayor del Rey, DR. Born on November 4, 1979, he started his professional career with the Rookie-level GCL Phillies in 2001. In 2003, with the Clearwater Phillies, he was 15-5 with a 3.29 ERA. After the 2003 season, the Phillies sent Astacio with Brandon Duckworth and Taylor Buchholz to the Astros for Billy Wagner.

In 2004, Astacio was 13-10 with the Double-A Round Rock Express, with a 3.89 ERA, 185 K’s in 176 innings, and a 1.199 WHIP. He was even better at the Triple-A level in 2005, also with Round Rock. He racked up a 0.990 WHIP, mostly by issuing only 12 walks in 65 23 innings while posting a 3.02 ERA and striking out 57.

Concurrently to his first Triple-A season, Astacio also made his first major league appearances, taking three turns in Houston’s rotation in May, along with three relief appearances. He was dropped to Triple-A for June, and came up to stay with Houston for the rest of the season when July started. On July 19, he struck out five over six innings, holding the Pirates to two runs on two hits and two walks in a 9-3 win against Pittsburgh, Astacio’s first victory. On August 3, Astacio pitched five shutout innings in a start against the Diamondbacks, scattering seven baserunners on four hits and three walks for his second career win.

Astacio joined Houston early in the 2006 season, appearing in six games in relief. On May 8, he struck out three over two shutout innings, issuing only a walk in a 7-5 loss to the San Francisco Giants. After another appearance on May 10, he was sent back to Triple-A. He then spent most of the 2006 season back with the Express, pitching to a 4.86 ERA and an 8-4 record in 92 23 innings.

Near the end of Spring Training in 2007, the Texas Rangers claimed Astacio when Houston tried to pass him through waivers. After spending 2007 on the Rangers’ farm, he pitched in the Chicago Cubs system in 2009, but that was his last affiliated baseball appearance.

593. Karl Rhodes, who everybody knows as “Tuffy” Rhodes, is a six-foot left-handed outfielder from Cincinnati, OH. Born on August 21, 1968, he was a third-round pick in 1986 for the Astros out of Western Hills HS. By 1990, he was slashing .275/.350/.418 with 24 stolen bases in 28 attempts with the Tucson Toros in Triple-A. In August, he made his first foray into the majors in August.

Rhodes spent the last two months of the season with the Astros. On September 1, he pinch-singled home the walkoff run with two outs in the bottom of the 10th in a 2-1 victory against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He went 21-for-86 overall, with six doubles, one triple and one homer, stealing four bases in five attempts. He drew 13 walks, scored 12 runs, and drove in three while striking out only 12 times in 101 PA.

Rhodes opened the 1991 season as Houston’s Opening Day right fielder, a position that he manned in 41 starts through Houston’s first 49 games. On April 11, he hit two singles and a double with two RBI in a 4-1 win against the Cincinnati Reds. He had seven multiple hit games through the season, authoring a .213/.289/.272 line with three doubles, a triple and a homer. He drew 14 walks, scored seven times, and drove in 12.

Rhodes started the 1993 season in Houston’s system, but after going 0-for-4 in five pinch-hitting opportunities they granted his free agency on April 23. He later appeared at the major league level with the Chicago Cubs (123 games, .237/.325/.398, 11 home runs, 28 RBI), where he’s perhaps best known for launching three homers on Opening Day in 1994 in a 12-8 loss to the New York Mets. He later appeared in 10 games for the Boston Red Sox in 1995, hitting two-for-25 in his last look at the majors.

592. Tim Tolman was a six-foot right-handed outfielder from Santa Monica, CA. Born on April 20, 1956, he was a 12th-round choice of Houston in the 1978 draft out of the University of Southern California.

Tolman initially reached the Astros in 1981, going one-for-eight in four appearances. In 1982, he played in 15 games for Houston through the final five weeks of the season. He had his first career multi-hit game on September 25, with a pair of doubles and an RBI in a 3-1 victory against the Cincinnati Reds. He hit his first home run on October 1 in a 4-2 loss to the Reds. He finished the year five-for-26.

Tolman appeared in a career-high 43 games for the Astros in 1983. In his first 37 games, from Opening Day through September 21, he was five-for-35. On May 31, he hit a game-tying solo home run in an eventual 12-10 win against the Chicago Cubs. In his final six games, he went six-for-21 with three doubles and four RBI to raise his batting average by 53 points before the break.

After going three-for-17 in 14 games for Houston in 1984, Tolman reached the majors again near the start of the 1985 season. He didn’t get a hit until August, going 0-for-19 and getting to first only via HBP. On September 4, he hit a three-run pinch homer to turn 6-5 deficit into an 8-6 lead in an eventual 11-6 victory against the Cubs.

In 107 games over parts of five seasons with the Astros Tolman hit .173/.233/.327 while providing error-free defense over 209 13 combined innings at left field, right field, and first base. He later appeared in 25 games over parts of two seasons with the Detroit Tigers, slashing a .152/.339/.196 line.

591. Sam Deduno is a six-foot-three right-handed pitcher from La Romana, DR. Born on July 2, 1983, he reached the majors for the first time in 2010 with the Colorado Rockies (0-0, 3.38, 2 23 IP). He later also appeared with the San Diego Padres (0-0, 3.00, 3 IP) and the Minnesota Twins (16-18, 4.26, 279 IP). Just prior to the 2014 trading deadline the Astros claimed Deduno off waivers from the Twins.

Deduno was a valuable pickup for the Astros to close out the 2014 campaign. In his final appearance on September 27, he struck out four in four innings, holding the Mets scoreless in an eventual 2-1 loss to New York. For that first stretch of five appearances, he struck out nine over 8 23 innings, allowing three earned runs and closing with a 1.154 WHIP, but we can sometimes read too deeply into a small sample size.

Deduno opened the 2015 season with the Astros, appearing in nine of their first 34 games. He pitched a perfect inning on May 12, striking out one batter in an 8-1 loss to the San Francisco Giants. Overall, he struck out 17 in 21 frames, allowing 16 runs on 24 hits and nine walks. He was sent to the injured list in late-May, but didn’t reach the major leagues again.

590. Alan Knicely is a six-foot right-handed catcher and first baseman from Harrisonburg, VA. Born on May 19, 1955, he was Houston’s third-round choice in 1974 out of Turner Ashby HS. He reached the majors with Houston in 1979, but over the next three years was four-for-14 in 11 big league appearances.

In 1982, Knicely spent the entire campaign with Houston. On June 18, he was two-for-three with three RBI in a 7-2 win against San Diego. On July 29, he was three-for-three with a home run for two RBI in a 4-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

Knicely appeared in 59 Houston games in 1982, going 25-for-133 with two doubles, two homers, and 14 walks against 30 strikeouts. He scored 10 times and drove in 12, getting caught in his only steal attempt. Defensively that year, he caught 163 innings with three errors for a .977 fielding percentage, adding 100 innings in right field (.933), 10 in left field and five at third base.

After spending March, 1983 trying to make the cut in Spring Training, Knicely was traded by Houston to the Reds for Bill Dawley and Tony Walker. Knicely played parts of three seasons with Cincinnati (117 games, .232/.313/.347), later playing with the Philadelphia Phillies (seven games, 0-for-7) and the St. Louis Cardinals (.195/.330/.268).

589. Randy Knorr is a six-foot-two right-handed catcher from San Gabriel, CA. Born on November 12, 1968, Knorr was a 10th-round choice of the Toronto Blue Jays in the 1986 draft out of Baldwin Park HS.

Knorr reached the majors with the Blue Jays in 1991, playing five seasons north of the border (135 games, .233/.294/.398, 15 home runs, 57 RBI). While in the minors in 1996, the Astros purchased Knorr’s contract from Toronto. On August 4, he hit a double and a homer for two RBI in a 7-6 win against the San Francisco Giants, his only multi-hit game of the season. Overall he was 17-for-87 with five doubles and that home run for seven RBI. He drew five walks, scored seven times, and struck out 18 times.

In 1997, Knorr spent most of the year in the minors with the New Orleans Zephyrs (.238/.300/.340). Near the end of the major league season, Knorr spent four games with the Astros. In the final game of the season, he hit a single and a solo home run in a 5-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Houston granted his free agency following the season.

Knorr spent 1998 with the Florida Marlins, mostly in the minors but also playing in 15 major league games (.204/.216/.449). In 1999, Knorr rejoined the Astros through free agency. Mostly back with the Zephyrs (.352/.395/.563, 11 homers, 41 RBI), Knorr played 13 more games for Houston through the second half of the major league season. On August 8 and August 10, he had back-to-back multi hit games, going four-for-seven with a double. Unfortunately, that was 80 percent of his season’s hit total. Overall he was five-for-30 with a double. He drew a walk, scored twice, and drove in zero.

Knorr later on played for the Texas Rangers (15 games, .294/.294/.529, two home runs) and the Montreal Expos (.220/.287/.341, three homers, 10 RBI). SABR Bio

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