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Everystros Countdown: Chapter XXXI

Welcome to the 31st edition of the Everystros Countdown.

Boston Red Sox v Houston Astros
Jon Singleton
Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images

Welcome to the 31st chapter of our offseason-long series on every player to appear with the Houston Major League Baseball franchise through their first 62 seasons.

With 411 players down, we’re down to 564 yet to go. Today’s group has between 101 and 500 BF/PA, More precisely, between 137 and 493. Each player you’ll read about in today’s dispatch totaled between negative-0.0023 and negative-0.0019 bWAR per BF/PA while with the Houston Astros (or Colt .45s).

564. Pedro Borbón is a six-foot-one left-handed pitcher from Mao, DR. Born on November 15, 1967, he was chosen in 1985 by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 35th round out of DeWitt Clinton HS in the Bronx. He declined to sign, and it paid off a year later when he was a third-round pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers out of Ranger College. For some reason, he still didn’t sign. In 1988, he signed with the Chicago White Sox as a free agent, then got released without tasting the majors.

Borbón comes from good baseball stock, following his father’s footsteps as a major league pitcher. The elder Borbón, also Pedro, was 69-39 with a 3.52 ERA over 12 seasons, mostly as part of the Big Red Machine out of Cincinnati through the 70s.

In 1989, Borbón signed with the Atlanta Braves through free agency, and made his debut in the show with five appearances between 1992 and 1993. Thing is, he gave up five runs in three innings overall, resulting in another season cooking in the minors.

Borbón got back to the majors with Atlanta in 1995, and ended up playing two more seasons with them, this time in much more noteworthy roles. In total, he was 5-3 with a 3.42 ERA and three saves. He struck out 67 in 71 innings and held opponents to a 1.239 WHIP. He later played in the majors for the Dodgers (4-3, one save, 4.09, 50 23 IP) and the Toronto Blue Jays (4-7, one save, 4.93, 107 23 IP). On May 15, 2002, right in the middle of Borbón’s third season with the Jays, he was sent to the Astros as part of an undisclosed conditional deal.

On July 13, Borbón entered in the eighth inning to protect a 2-1 lead over the Reds, and pitched a perfect inning on 12 pitches to hold the lead. On August 25, he came in to protect a 1-0 lead, also over the Reds, and faced the minimum after allowing a walk. In the bottom of the ninth, he scattered a one-out double amongst three strikeouts to earn his first save of the season.

Borbón pitched 56 times for the Astros through the final four-and-a-half months of the 2002 campaign, putting up a 3-2 record with a 5.50 ERA. He struck out 39 in 37 23 innings, allowing 24 runs (23 earned) on 41 hits and 19 walks. He left with 9.3 K/9 and a 1.593 WHIP.

After leaving the Astros after the season, Borbón caught on in 2003 with the St. Louis Cardinals, but got shelled for nine runs in four innings over seven games, with a 4.000 WHIP and no strikeouts. That was his last time at the major league level. He spent 2004 on the farm for the Montreal Expos, and part of 2005 as a hand in the Los Angeles Angels system. After pitching part of 2006 with the Bridgeport Bluefish in the Atlantic League, Borbón didn’t again appear in organized ball. SABR Bio

563. Cy Sneed is a six-foot-four right-handed pitcher from Elko, NV. Born on October 1, 1992, he was taken in the 35th round in 2011 by the Texas Rangers out of Twin Falls HS in Idaho. He didn’t sign, instead electing to visit Texas a different way, as a student at Dallas Baptist University. In 2014, the Milwaukee Brewers chose Sneed in the third round.

After two seasons in the Crew’s minor league system, Milwaukee traded Sneed to the Astros for Jonathan Villar. By 2018, Sneed was pitching with the Fresno Grizzlies at the Triple-A level, posting a 10-6 record with a 3.83 ERA and 114 strikeouts in 127 innings. He also posted a 1.362 WHIP in the famously hit-friendly circuit. In 2019, Houston’s new PCL affiliate was the Round Rock Express, and Sneed continued to progress, recording a 1.163 WHIP and another 71 K’s in 81 23 innings.

Also in 2019, Sneed made his major league debut with Houston. On July 11, in his second appearance, he held the Rangers to one run over five innings, striking out seven in an eventual 5-0 loss to Texas. On August 31, he pitched a perfect eighth, collecting a K in a 6-4 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.

Sneed completed the 2019 season with his rookie-status still intact. He struck out 23 in 21 13 innings for the Astros, allowing 13 runs, all earned, on 26 hits and five walks — a 1.453 WHIP and a 4.81 FIP.

In 2020, with no minor league to give Sneed reps, Houston used him in 18 games through the regular season. In six of those games, Sneed came in as a reliever with an aLi of greater than one, and posted a negative WPA in all of them. Unfortunately, it seemed he saved his best stuff for the less importantly weighted moments.

Sneed pitched 17 13 innings through the 2020 campaign, going 0-3 with a 5.71 ERA and a 1.846 WHIP. He allowed 15 runs (11 earned) on 22 hits and 10 walks, with 21 strikeouts to his credit. Released by Houston after the season in order to pitch in Japan, Sneed has played with the Yakult Swallows ever since, so far putting up a 22-16 record with a 3.56 ERA. Go Cy!

562. Rick White is a six-foot-four right-handed pitcher from Springfield, OH. Born on December 23, 1968, he was a 15th-round selection of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1990 out of Paducah Community College in Kentucky. By 1994, he was pitching in the majors for the Bucs.

After his time with the Pirates (10-15, eight saves, 4.03, 205 13 IP), White played for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays (10-15, two saves, 3.81, 248 IP), the New York Mets (6-8, three saves, 3.86, 98 IP), the Colorado Rockies (2-6, 6.20, 40 23 IP), the St. Louis Cardinals (3-1, 0.82, 22 IP) and the Chicago White Sox (1-2, one save, 6.61, 47 23 IP). The Pale Hose granted White’s outright release on August 11, 2003....

...and the Astros signed him three days later. So much for unemployment benefits. White played 15 games for Houston through the remainder of the campaign, striking out 17 in 19 13 innings. On September 23, he pitched two perfect innings and struck out one batter in a 10-3 loss to the San Francisco Giants. He finished with a 3.72 ERA by allowing nine runs (eight earned) on 18 hits and eight walks, finishing with a 1.345 WHIP and a 4.32 FIP. Houston granted his free agency following the season.

White later played for the Cleveland Indians (5-5, one save, 5.29, 78 13 IP), the Pirates for a second time, the Cincinnati Reds (1-0, one save, 6.76, 27 13 IP) and the Philadelphia Phillies (3-1, 4.34, 37 13 IP). Prior to 2007 Spring Training, the Astros signed White for a second tour.

White appeared in 23 games for Houston in 2007. He struck out 15 in 29 13 innings, going 1-0. On April 20, he held the Brewers to three walks over two innings, winning his first game of the season by a 6-5 score. On June 19, he struck out a pair over 2 13 perfect innings in an eventual 9-5 win against the Los Angeles Angels. On June 28, the Astros released White.

A month later, White signed with the Seattle Mariners (0-1, 8.44, 5 13 IP). In 2022, White was named the pitching coach of the Clark State Eagles.

561. Marty Martínez is a six-foot switch-hitting infielder from La Habana, Cuba. born on August 23, 1941, he started his stateside professional career in 1960 with the Erie Sailors, a D-level club for the Washington Senators. In 1962, he made his debut with the organization (37 games, .167/.286/.278, three RBI), by now known as the Minnesota Twins. He later played two seasons with the Atlanta Braves (157 games, .240/.308/.275, 17 RBI).

After the 1968 season, the Braves traded Martínez to the Astros for Bob Aspromonte. He appeared in 78 games for Houston through the 1969 season, collecting multiple hits in a dozen of them. On June 10, he hit three singles for three RBI in a 7-4 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. On June 27, he drew a leadoff walk as a pinch-hitter in the eighth, and scored the tying run against the Braves. In the ninth, he knocked in the game-winner on a two-out RBI-single for a 5-4 win. On September 27, he hit two singles and a triple with a walk and an RBI in a 4-3 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

Martínez slashed out a .308/.340/.374 with 15 RBI for Houston. In the field, he played 148 23 innings in left field (21 putouts, one assist, zero errors), 122 innings at shortstop (five errors, .925 fielding percentage), 84 13 innings at third base (.909 fielding percentage), 35 innings behind the plate (.900 fielding percentage), 6 13 innings at second base (two putouts), and 23 of an inning pitching (collected two outs, allowed one solo home run).

In 1970, Martínez appeared in 75 games for the Astros, hitting .220/.264/.240 with 12 RBI. On September 25, he drove home the go-ahead run with two outs in the 12th inning of a 7-4 win over Atlanta. He spent a third season with Houston, appearing in 32 games. On September 24 he had a pinch single in a 21-inning 2-1 win over the San Diego Padres in the first game of a doubleheader. In the second game, he collected three singles with an RBI in a 5-4 loss. Martínez hit .258/.292/.339 overall in that final season for Houston.

After the 1971 season, the Astros traded Martínez to the St. Louis Cardinals for Bob Stinson. Martínez split the 1972 season between the Cards (nine games, three-for-seven, two RBI), the Oakland Athletics (22 games, five-for-40, one RBI), and the Texas Rangers (26 games, six-for-41, three RBI). Although that was his last time in the majors, Martínez played another six seasons in the Rangers minor league system. SABR Bio

560. Fred Scherman is a six-foot-one left-handed pitcher from Dayton, OH. Born on July 25, 1944, he started his professional career in 1964 with the Orlando Twins, going 14-13 over 28 starts, with a 2.33 ERA.

Before reaching the majors, Scherman joined the Detroit Tigers organization and played five seasons with them (25-15, 34 saves, 3.39, 342 13 IP). After the 1973 season, the Tigers traded Scherman with cash to the Astros for Jim Ray and Gary Sutherland.

On May 21, Scherman earned his first save of the season by pitching 1 13 perfect innings in a 5-4 win against the San Diego Padres. On May 31, he pitched 2 23 perfect innings, striking out two in a 7-1 win over the New York Mets. Overall, he appeared in 53 games with Houston that season, going 2-5 with a 4.11 ERA. He struck out 35 in 61 13 innings, allowing 33 runs (28 earned) on 67 hits and 26 walks.

On April 26, Scherman struck out three and allowed one hit over an otherwise perfect two innings of relief, in a 9-3 loss to the Cincinnati Reds. In 16 appearances for Houston he was 0-1 with a 4.96 ERA and 13 K’s in 16 13 innings. On June 8, the Astros sold Scherman’s contract to the Montreal Expos.

Scherman finished out 1975 with the Expos, and played 1976 with Montreal as well (total 6-5, one save, 4.02, 116 13 IP).

559. Aneury Rodríguez is a six-foot-four right-handed pitcher from Higuey, DR. Born on December 13, 1987, he started his professional career with the Casper Rockies in the Rookie-level Pioneer League in 2005. Before reaching the majors, he was traded to the Tampa Bay Rays for Jason Hammel in 2009. After the 2010 season, still in the minor leagues, the Astros took Rodríguez in the rule 5 draft.

The rules of the rule 5 draft state that Rodríguez needed to stay with Houston at the parent club level for the entire season or get sent back to the originating club. That wasn’t a problem for the Astros, who deployed Rodríguez 43 times through the campaign, 35 of those times in relief. On May 4, he struck out three over five shutout one-hit innings, walking one in an eventual 3-2 loss to the Cincinnati Reds. On May 25, he earned another no-decision, striking out five over six innings, giving up one run on four hits and a walk in a 2-1 win against the Los Angeles Dodgers. On June 20, he struck out two over 4 13 shutout innings of relief in an 8-3 loss to the Texas Rangers.

Rodríguez went 1-6 with a 5.27 ERA for Houston in 2011, striking out 64 in 85 13 innings. He allowed 57 runs (50 earned) on 83 hits (including 13 homers) and 32 walks. He made one more major league appearance, on May 8 the following season. He struck out six over six innings, giving up two solo home runs and two walks in a 3-2 win over the Miami Marlins. Again, Rodríguez was saddled with a no-decision.

After spending the rest of the year with Houston’s Triple-A affiliate, the Oklahoma City RedHawks, Rodríguez played in the Korean Baseball Organization and the Dominican Winter League, last in 2016.

558. Ernie Fazio was a five-foot-seven right-handed middle infielder from Oakland, CA, and the first-ever player to sign with Houston. Born on January 25, 1942, he started his professional career in 1962 with the Oklahoma City 89ers, where he hit .225 with three home runs in 50 games. In July, he graduated to the majors for the first time with the Colt .45s, appearing in a dozen games between July 3 and July 17. On July 7, he had his only hit and only RBI of the season, in a 10-1 loss to the Cincinnati Reds.

In 1963, Fazio enjoyed a bona fide major league campaign. He appeared in 102 games for the Colts, with a .184/.273/.281 line. He hit 10 doubles, three triples, and a pair of home runs with five RBI. He stole four bases in eight tries, and drew 27 walks, scoring 31 times.

Fazio collected multiple hits in seven games, including June 26, when he hit two singles and a double in a 7-2, 13-inning win over the Minnesota Braves. On September 15, he hit a single and a double in a 5-4 win against the New York Mets.

After two seasons spent entirely in the minors, Houston sent Fazio to the Kansas City Athletics as the PTBNL in a deal for Jim Gentile. He went seven-for-34 with a triple and an RBI in 27 games in what turned out to be the final games of his major league career.

557. Sandy Valdespino was a five-foot-eight left-handed leftfielder from San Jose de las Lajas, Cuba. Born on January 24, 1939, he had his first professional experience with the B-level Washington Senators affiliate in 1957, the Midland/Lamesa Indians. Eight years later, still with the franchise, by then based out of Minnesota, Valdespino reached the majors with the Twins.

After three seasons with Minnesota (259 games, .220/.269/.284, four homers, 34 RBI), Valdespino played the 1968 season with the Atlanta Braves (36 games, .233/.320/.279, one homer, four RBI). After the season, in December, the Braves sent Valdespino to the Astros for Paul Doyle.

Valdespino appeared in 42 games for Houston, collecting multiple hits in eight of them. On June 24, he hit a three-run double in a 4-1 win over the San Francisco Giants. In the ninth inning on July 18, he hit a ninth-inning pinch-hit RBI-game-tying-one-out-double, later scoring in an eventual 7-4 win against the Cincinnati Reds. Overall, he put up a .244/.326/.277 line with four doubles, 17 runs scored and 12 RBI. He drew 15 walks and struck out 19 times, stealing a base two times in four attempts. In 227 innings in left field, he made one error and three assists, posting a .973 fielding percentage.

At the 1969 trade deadline, Houston sent Valdespino with Danny Walton to the Seattle Pilots for Tommy Davis. After completing the season with the Pilots, he remained with the franchise as they moved to Milwaukee and became the Brewers, totaling 28 games between them (.170/.204/.191, two RBI). He appeared in 18 games for the 1971 Kansas City Royals (.317/.338/.508, two homers, 15 RBI). SABR Bio

556. Manny Hernández is a six-foot right-handed pitcher from La Romana, DR. Born on May 7, 1961, Hernández made his first professional appearances with the Astros rookie club in 1979. He pitched through Houston’s minor league system for the next eight years, finally making his major league debut with the Astros in 1986.

In that season, Hernández started in his first four major league appearances, going 1-3. He then came out of the pen the other five appearances in 1986. On June 12, he struck out three and allowed one run on seven hits over 5 23 innings in a 4-1 win against the San Francisco Giants. Overall, he was 2-3 with nine strikeouts in 27 23 innings. He gave up 15 runs, 12 earned, on 33 hits and 12 walks for a 3.90 ERA and 1.627 WHIP.

Hernández remained in the minors through most of 1987, getting back to the Astros in September. He started in three of his six appearances through the remainder of the campaign, going 0-4. On September 1, in his first game of the season, he pitched seven innings and gave up three runs, but only one earned, on five hits and a pair of walks, striking out four in an eventual 3-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs.

Hernández struck out 12 over 21 23 innings through the rest of the season. giving up 15 runs (13 earned) on 25 hits and five walks. He posted a 1.385 WHIP and a 5.40 ERA with a 3.19 FIP. After the 1988 minor leagues season, the Astros granted free agency.

Hernández pitched one more inning in the majors, pitching a perfect inning for the 1989 New York Mets.

555. Rob Murphy is a six-foot-two left-handed pitcher from Miami, FL. Born on May 26, 1960, he was a 29th-round choice of the Milwaukee Brewers in 1978 out of Christopher Columbus HS. Instead of signing, he pitched for the University of Florida Gators, and was eventually taken in the first round of the 1981 draft by the Cincinnati Reds with the third overall pick.

Murphy made it to the bigs with the Reds in 1985, eventually pitching four seasons in Queen City (14-11, seven saves, 2.60, 238 23 IP). In 1988, he led the majors with 76 pitching appearances. He later also pitched for the Boston Red Sox (5-13, 16 saves, 4.00, 162 IP) and the Seattle Mariners (0-1, four saves, 3.00, 48 IP).

Before Spring Training in 1992, Murphy agreed to terms with Houston through free agency. In his first appearance on April 9, he pitched two perfect innings in a 6-5 win over Cincinnati. On June 26, he struck out three over 1 13 innings against the Dodgers in an eventual 6-5 loss to Los Angeles. In a team-fifth 59 pitching appearances through the season, he ended up with a team-third 2.87 FIP and a 1.383 WHIP. In 55 23 innings, he struck out 42 and walked 21, going 3-1 with a 4.04 ERA.

Murphy walked after his lone season with Houston, and signed with the St. Louis Cardinals (9-10, three saves, 4.46, 105 IP), later also appearing with the New York Yankees (0-0, 16.20, 1 23 IP), the Los Angeles Dodgers (0-1, 12.60, 5 IP), and the Florida Marlins (1-1, 9.82, 7 13 IP).

554. Jon Singleton is a six-foot left-handed hitting and throwing first baseman from Harbor City, CA. Born on September 18, 1991, he was an eighth-round draftee of the Philadelphia Phillies in 2009 out of Millikan HS. After two seasons in their system, the Phillies sent Singleton to the Astros in a five-player deal.

Singleton made it to the Astros in 2014 for the first time, and appeared in 95 games. To this date, it represents more than half of his time in the major leagues. He made his debut on June 3, and appeared in 95 of Houston’s final 103 games of the season, mostly at first base. He had multiple hits in 10 of them, including three times where he got three.

In Singleton’s first appearance, on June 3, he struck out in his first appearance, drew a bases-loaded walk in the third, struck out again in the fifth, and hit a leadoff homer in the eighth in a 7-2 win against the Los Angeles Angels. On June 8, he doubled in the seventh then hit a grand slam in the ninth, in a 14-5 win against the Minnesota Twins.

Singleton slashed a .168/.285/.335 line for Houston. He was 52-for-310 with 13 doubles and 13 homers, drawing 50 walks, scoring 42 runs, and driving in 44. He struck out 134 times. In 2015, he spent most of the season with Houston’s Triple-A affiliate in Fresno, the Grizzlies, where he hit .254/.359/.505 with 22 jacks and 83 RBI in 102 games. He also appeared in another 19 games with the Astros, going nine-for-47 with two doubles and a homer, with six RBI.

In 2016, Singleton spent the season with the Fresno Grizzlies, and 2017 with the Corpus Christi Hooks. In 241 games between the two levels he hit .204/.357/.393 with 38 home runs and 128 RBI. During the offseason, Singleton failed a drug test, his third.

Singleton was cleared off the books after that, and didn’t make it back to the majors until 2023, when he hit .103 with a pair of RBI with the Milwaukee Brewers. The Crew released Singleton, and Jon resigned with the Astros for a second tour.

In 25 games through the remainder of the 2023 season, Singleton hit 12-for-62 with a pair of home runs and 10 RBI. He got half of the RBI and all the homers on August 11, with a single, two homers, and five RBI in an 11-3 win over the Angels. In the postseason, he went 0-for-1 with a walk. He remains on Houston’s 40-man roster.

553. John Halama is a six-foot-five left-handed pitcher from Brooklyn, NY. Born on February 22, 1972, he was a 23rd-round choice of the Astros in the 1994 draft out of St. Francis University. In April, 1998, Halama was Houston’s number three starter in the rotation. On April 17, he struck out five over seven innings, allowing two runs on five hits and a walk, earning the win in a 5-3 win over the Montreal Expos.

Halama made six starts through the first month of the season, going 1-1 with a 5.85 ERA. He struck out 21 batters in 32 13 innings, giving up 21 runs, all earned, on 37 hits and 13 walks. He posted a 1.546 WHIP and a 3.23 FIP. Sent down to the Triple-A New Orleans Zephyrs starting in May, and went 12-3 with a 3.20 ERA over 17 starts. After the season, the Astros sent him as the PTBNL in a deal for Randy Johnson.

Halama later played for the Seattle Mariners (41-31, 4.46, 557 IP), the Oakland Athletics (3-5, 4.22, 108 23 IP), the Tampa Bay Devil Rays (7-6, 4.70, 118 23 IP), the Boston Red Sox (1-1, 6.18, 43 23 IP), the Washington Nationals (0-3, 4.64, 21 13 IP), and the Baltimore Orioles (3-1, 6.14, 29 13 IP).

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