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Florida Marlins v Houston Astros

Astros Crawfish Boil: November 27, 2023

Welcome back! Happy Monday Boil!

Fernando Abad
| Photo by Thomas B. Shea / Getty Images

Welcome back. Happy Monday Boil!

Houston Astros News

McCullers brings family together with Christmas tree business

Framber, Bregman, Pressly and one other trade chip (Chipalatta)

The Yankees and Houston Astros prepared an important trade for Alex Bregman (Cleveland American)

Astros’ ballpark village could draw inspiration from stadium districts (Houston Chronicle)

AL West News

Angels — Angels Sign Adam Kolarek (MLBTR)

Athletics — “[Lacking] Honesty and Professionalism”: MLB’s Oakland Athletics Collide with NFL’s Raiders Over Las Vegas Move (Essentially Sports)

Rangers — World Series champion Texas Rangers expected to be active this offseason (NBC-DFW)

Mariners — Mariners Sign Rangel Ravelo To Minor League Deal (Yardbarker)

MLB News

1 potential trade candidate from each team

Shohei in blue? How market might play out if Ohtani signs with Dodgers

Tigers adding Maeda on two-year deal

These 10 ‘old guy’ free agents still have plenty left in the tank

Is Soto more likely to stay put than be dealt?

Houston Astros Birthdays

LHP Raúl Valdés (46)

RHP Dave Giusti (84)

RHP Jesus Carrera (19)

C Iván Rodríguez (52)

552. Darin Erstad is a six-foot-two outfielder and first baseman from Jamestown, ND. Born on June 4, 1974, Erstad was a 13th-round choice of the New York Mets out of high school in 1992. Instead of signing, he matriculated to the University of Nebraska at Lincoln. It paid off in the form of a first-round selection in 1995, first overall to the California Angels.

Erstad made quick work of California’s farm system, making his major league debut in 1996. In 57 games he slashed .284/.333/.375 with four home runs and 20 RBI, gaining enough momentum to finish sixth in the American League Rookie of the Year Award vote.

In 11 seasons with the Angels (818 games, .286/.341/.416, 114 home runs, 625 RBI, 170-for-221 stolen bases), he twice represented the American League at the MLB All-Star Game, in 1998 and in 2000. In 2000, he also led the majors with 240 hits and helping to win the 2002 World Series. He also won three Gold Gloves and one Silver Slugger. He then spent one season with the Chicago White Sox (33 games, .248/.310/.335, four homers, 32 RBI, seven-for-nine stolen bases.

On December 27, 2007, Erstad signed a contract with the Houston Astros through free agency. He appeared in a team-fourth 140 games through the 2008 season, and hit .276/.309/.363 with four round-trippers and 31 RBI. He collected multiple hits 22 times, including five instances of three or more. He started six games at first (66 13 innings), 18 in left field (205 innings), 35 in center (304 innings), and six in right (48 innings), committing zero errors between the four positions.

On May 15, Erstad pinch hit for J.R. Towles with one out and two on in the eighth inning, and drove it out of the park to tie the game at 7 against the San Francsico Giants. Houston eventually won, 8-7. On August 5, Erstad hit four singles with an RBI in an 11-7 loss to the Chicago Cubs.

Erstad remained with the Astros for one more season, but was a victim of diminishing returns. He slashed .194/.268/.328 in 107 games, with two home runs and 11 RBI. He started 10 times at first base (98 23 innings), four times in left field (61 13 innings), four times in right (34 innings), and none at first (two innings), again making zero errors in the field.

On June 24, Erstad turned a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead with a two-run, pinch-hitting homer with one out in the sixth against the Kansas City Royals. KC eventually won, 4-3 in 11. Later, he was the Nebraska Cornhuskers head coach for eight seasons from 2012 through 2019.

551. Jason Hirsh is a six-foot-eight right-handed pitcher from Santa Monica, CA. Born on February 20, 1982, Hirsh was Houston’s second-round pick in 2003 out of California Lutheran University. By 2005, in Double-A for the Corpus Christi Hooks, he was 13-8 with a 2.87 ERA in 29 starts, with 165 strikeouts in 172 13 innings. In 2006 with the Round Rock Express, he was 13-2 with a 2.10 ERA and 118 K’s in 137 13 innings.

In August, Hirsh joined Houston as a member of the rotation, making nine starts between August 12 and the end of the season. In his best start, on August 27, he struck out two over seven innings and allowed only one run on five hits and two walks in a 13-1 win against the Pittsburgh Pirates. In 44 23 innings overall, Hirsh struck out 29 and walked 22, allowing 32 runs (30 earned) on 48 hits. He posted a 3-4 record with a 6.04 ERA and a 1.567 WHIP.

After the 2006 season was in the books, the Astros traded Hirsh with Willy Taveras and Taylor Buchholz to the Colorado Rockies for Miguel Ascencio and Jason Jennings. Hirsh pitched two seasons in the majors for the Rockies (5-7, 5.06, 121 IP).

550. Harry Spilman is a six-foot-one lefty-batting and righty-throwing corner infielder from Albany, GA. Born on July 18, 1954, he began his professional baseball career in 1974 with the Rookie-level BIllings Mustangs, hitting .309 in 54 games with the Cincinnati Reds’ affiliate.

Spilman reached the majors with the Reds in 1978, and played in parts of four seasons with their parent club-level unit (135 games, .238/.316/.346, four home runs, 27 RBI). On June 8, 1981, Spilman was traded by the Reds to Houston for Rafael Landestoy. In 26 games to complete the season with Houston, Spilman hit .294/.333/.294, going nine-for-32 with one RBI, two walks, five runs, and three strikeouts. On August 28, Spilman hit a pinch single in the seventh, then hit an RBI-single to tie the game at two in the bottom of the ninth against the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies ended up winning, 3-2.

In 1982, Spilman appeared in 38 games for the Astros, starting 10 games at first base. On September 30, he went four-for-five with two home runs and four RBI, but one player can’t win a ballgame, obviously, as Houston dropped to the San Francisco Giants, 7-6. He went 17-for-61 with two doubles and three home runs, slashing .279/.333/.459 with 11 RBI.

Spilman played in another 42 games for the 1983 Astros, starting 10 times at first base and once behind the plate. On April 19, he earned a single-plate appearance record (maybe) .915 WPA+, turning a 5-3 loss into a 6-5 win with a pinch-hit three-run shot with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Overall, he slashed .167/.212/.244, going 13-for-78.

In 1984, Spilman slashed .264/.356/.375 with two home runs and 15 RBI. He also drew 12 walks versus 10 strikeouts. On July 3, he provided all of Houston’s offense with a fourth-inning RBI-single and a sixth-inning two-run homer in a 4-3 loss to the New York Mets.

In 1985, Spilman appeared in 44 games for the Astros, going nine-for-66 with a double and a homer with four RBI. Defensively, Spilman played 478 13 innings at first base, making a total of four errors for a .993 fielding percentage over his five seasons with the team.

Granted free agency after the 1985 season, Spilman played part of a season with the Detroit Tigers (24 games, .245/.288/.469, three home runs, eight RBI) and parts of three with the San Francisco Giants (181 games .259/.331/.379, four homers, 39 RBI). Released by the Astros in mid-1988, Spilman resigned with the Astros in August, going 0-for-5 in seven games.

Spilman played for the Astros again in 1989, drawing seven walks and striking out twice in 32 games. He slashed .278/.395/.361 with three doubles and three RBI. It was his last time in the majors.2

549. Jack Mayfield is a five-foot-11 right-handed infielder from Del Rio, TX. Born on September 30, 1990, he started his pro career in 2013 with the Astros Rookie-level affiliate. By 2019, he was hitting 26 home runs and batting .287 for the Triple-A Round Rock Express. Near the end of May, the Astros gave Mayfield his first look.

Mayfield appeared in 16 of Houston’s 19 games between May 27 and June 17. Just six-for-42 in that look, Mayfield collected half of those hits on June 15, smacking three doubles, scoring three times, and driving one in for the Astros in a 7-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays. After going one-for-11 in an August series against the Detroit Tigers, Mayfield played in seven of Houston’s final 13 games of the year. On September 27, he was two-for-three with a run scored in a 4-0 win against the Los Angeles Angels.

In total, Mayfield was 10-for-64 with five doubles and two home runs. He drew one walk, scored eight runs, and drove in five, striking out 16 times. Defensively, he made one error in 131 innings at shortstop, 32 clean innings at second base, and one perfect inning at the hot corner.

In 2020, with nowhere to go but the parent club level, Mayfield appeared in 21 games for the Astros. He was perfect in the field, in 47 innings at third base, 46 innings at shortstop, and 23 13 at second. At the plate, he was eight-for-42 with one double. He drew a pair of walks, scored five runs, and drove in three more, striking out 14 times. On August 29, he had his only multiple-hit game of the season, with two singles in a 4-2, seven-inning win over the Oakland Athletics.

Despite the particular seasons in which Mayfield was with Houston, he has not appeared in a postseason game to this date. After the 2020 season, the Atlanta Braves claimed him off waivers from Houston, then the Los Angeles Angels purchased his contract. Since then he’s played in the majors for both Anaheim (98 games, .215/.270/.381, 11 home runs, 42 RBI) and the Seattle Mariners (11 games, .176/.200/.206, three RBI). In 2023, he hit .305/.375/.473 with the Toros de Tijuana in the Mexican League.

548. Óscar Villarreal is a six-foot right-handed throwing pitcher from San Nicolas de los Garza, MX. Born on November 22, 1981, he reached the majors for the first time in 2003 with the Arizona Diamondbacks (12-9, 3.47, 129 23 IP), later playing for the Atlanta Braves (11-3, one save, 3.90, 168 23 IP). After the 2007 season, the Braves traded Villarreal to the Astros for Josh Anderson.

Villarreal pitched in 35 games between the start of the season and July 1 for Houston. An aLi of 0.44 suggests he wasn’t really used in the most important of situations, but he did have a few big moments. He was most impressive on May 3, when he stranded all three inherited runners and struck out a pair in 1 13 hitless innings, in an eventual 6-2 win over the Milwaukee Brewers.

Villarreal struck out 21 in 37 23 innings for the Astros. He was 1-3 with a 5.02 ERA, and gave up 25 runs (21 earned) on 42 hits and 17 walks for a 1.566 WHIP, a 7.67 FIP, and 5.0 K/9. Houston released him on July 2. Although Villarreal bounced around the minors for a number of years, and later played in the Mexican League, he didn’t get back to the majors.

547. Brandon Laird is a six-foot-one right-handed corner infielder from Cypress, CA. Born on September 11, 1987, he was a 27th-round choice of the Cleveland Indians in 2005 out of high school. In 2007, he was again taken in round number 27, this time by the New York Yankees out of Cypress College. He reached the majors with the Bronx Bombers in 2011, going four-for-21 in 11 games.

On September 1, 2012, the Astros claimed Laird off waivers from New York and put him directly to work. He played in 17 of Houston’s final 27 games of the season, making three starts at first base (23 13 innings, 21 putouts, no errors) and five at third (45 13 innings, two putouts, 10 assists, one error).

At the plate, Laird racked up multiple hits on two occasions. On September 20, he drew a bases-loaded walk in the first to drive in Jose Altuve for a 1-0 lead, then hit an RBI-game-tying single in the third, driving home Justin Maxwell. He reached base once more in the sixth on an error. Seeing as how it was 2012, however, you’ll probably guess (correctly) that Houston lost. They did, by a 5-4 score against the St. Louis Cardinals. Overall, Laird was nine-for-35 with one double and one home run. He drew three bases on balls, scored twice, and drove in four, also striking out eight times.

In 2013, Laird was 12-for-71 with three doubles and five home runs for 11 RBI. He drew three walks and struck out 26 times, all resulting in a line of .169/.224/.423 for Houston. Defensively, he was perfect in 76 innings at first base, making 71 putouts and two assists. He made one error at third, making eight assists and one putout.

Laird played 130 games in 2014 with the Syracuse Chiefs, a Triple-A affiliate of Washington, but he never got back to the majors, unless you count Japan (which you should). In eight seasons in the NPB, between the Nippon Ham Fighters and the Chiba Lotte Marines, he’s appeared in 969 games and hit .239/.308/.461 with 213 jacks and 596 RBI.

546. Bert Peña is a five-foot-11 right-handed left-side infielder from Santurce, PR. Born on July 11, 1959, he came up through the ranks in Houston’s system, starting with the Cocoa Astros in 1977. He reached the Astros in 1981, going one-for-two in four games. It would be two calendar years before he again darkened the big leagues doorstep, appearing in another four games for Houston, this time going one-for-eight with two walks.

Peña finally had an actual chance of more than a heartbeat in 1984, when he appeared in 24 contests through the second half of Houston’s season. On July 24, he collected a pair of hits and two RBI in a 10-3 win over the San Francisco Giants. On September 2, he hit his first major league home run in a 4-1 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. He went eight-for-39 overall, with a double and a homer, with four RBI.

In 1985, Peña played in 20 games. On September 3, he entered as a ninth-inning defensive replacement in a 7-7 tie against the Chicago Cubs, then moved Denny Walling to third with a 10th-inning single. Walling scored the winner on a BIll Doran bunt. He went eight-for-29 overall, with two doubles and four RBI.

In 1986, Peña was six-for-29 with a double and a pair of RBI in 15 games. Between June 17 and 19, in a three-game series against the Cincinnati Reds, Peña collected hits in each, going five-for-12 with a run and an RBI.

Peña returned to Houston for another 21 games in 1987, and collected seven singles in 49 plate appearances, with a pair of walks. In parts of six major league seasons, he played in 88 games and slashed .203/.268/.248 with four doubles, one homer, and 10 RBI. Defensively, he fielded at a .953 clip at shortstop, making nine errors in 368 23 innings. He also played 42 13 innings at third base and 4 13 innings at second without negative incident.

After spending the 1988 season in the minors in the New York Yankees farm. That was his last time in affiliated ball. He passed away on January 19, 2023 at his home in Caguas, PR.

545. Marc Krauss is a six-foot-two lefty-batting and righty-throwing first baseman and leftfielder from Deshler, OH. Born on October 5, 1987, he was a second-round selection of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2009 out of Ohio University.

Before reaching the majors, Krauss was sent to Houston, along with minor leaguer Bobby Boerchering for Chris Johnson at the 2012 trade deadline. In 2013, he played in 52 of Houston’s final 88 games, collecting multiple hits five times. On July 6, in a 9-5 win over the Texas Rangers, he collected three singles and a pair of RBI. On July 26, he hit a two-run homer in the top of the second to open the scoring, then added a two-run double to retake the lead in the fourth inning, 4-2 over the Toronto Blue Jays. Unfortunately, the Jays came back for a 12-6 victory.

Krauss slashed .209/.267/.366 in his first major league exposure, with nine doubles, four home runs and 13 RBI, with two stolen bases in as many attempts. Defensively, he fielded at .962 in 115 13 innings in left field, a .941 fielding percentage in 63 innings in right field, and four perfect innings at first base.

Krauss played in another 67 games for the 2014 Astros, in the first year of their rising from the ashes, metaphorically. In the field he made four errors in 237 23 innings at first base for a .986 percentage, and was perfect in 139 innings in left field and another 26 in right. At the plate he slashed .194/.279/.323 with six jacks and 21 RBI.

Krauss had eight multihit games through the season. Going by WPA, his best performance was on May 2. He walked to lead off the second, singled home a run for a 1-0 lead in the third, singled another run home for a 3-2 lead in the fifth, then drew another walk in the ninth in an eventual 5-4 win over the Seattle Mariners in 11 innings.

After the 2014 season was over, the Angels claimed Krauss off waivers from Houston. Krauss would split the 2015 season at the major league level between the Angels (11 games, .143/.211/.286, one homer, five RBI), the Tampa Bay Rays (four games, one-for-10, one RBI), and the Detroit Tigers (12 games, five-for-33, one home run, two RBI).

544. Chad Harville is a five-foot-nine right-handed pitcher from Selmer, TN. Born on September 16, 1976, he was a second-round choice of the Oakland A’s in 1997 out of the University of Memphis. He made it to Oakland in 1999, and in parts of four seasons with them was 1-2 with a 5.62 ERA in 42 appearances, with 35 K’s in 41 23 innings.

On April 17, 2004, the A’s traded Harville to the Astros for Kirk Saarloos. Despite joining the club a few weeks into the season, he ranked fourth in pitching appearances with 56, going 3-2 with a 4.75 ERA in 53 innings. He struck out 46 and walked 26 with a 1.509 WHIP. On August 30, he entered in the sixth inning and inherited a runner, stranding him and striking one out in an eventual 11-3 win over the Cincinnati Reds. On September 4, he struck out three over two hitless innings in a 6-5 win against the Pittsburgh Pirates. In the playoffs, he struck out three over two innings, allowing two runs on three hits and a walk.

Through the main part of the 2005 season, Harville continued to come out of Houston’s bullpen, making 37 trips. He struck out 33 in 38 13 innings, also walking 24 and putting up a 1.565 WHIP before a waiver claim made him into a member of the Boston Red Sox.

After his time with Boston (0-1, 6.43, 7 IP), Harville played with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays (0-2, one save, 5.93, 41 IP).

543. John Mizerock is a five-foot-11, lefty-hitting catcher from Punxsutawney, PA. Born on December 8, 1960, he was Houston’s first-round pick in 1979 out of Punxsutawney high school, with the eighth overall selection.

In 1983, Mizerock got to the big leagues with the Astros, appearing in 33 games. On August 16, he led off the third inning with a solo home run to pull the Astros to a 2-1 deficit against Cincinnati. In the sixth, he hit a two-run double to make it 7-2, Houston, then drove home Tony Scott in the eighth on a sacrifice fly in an 8-5 win over the Reds. In 100 PA, Mizerock went 13-for-85 with four doubles, a triple, and one home run for 10 RBI. He walked 12 times and struck out 15 times, slashing .153/.263/.259. Defensively, he caught 258 innings with a .967 fielding percentage, and threw out 35 percent of baserunners (a 106 CS+).

The 1985 campaign would see Mizerock again join the Astros. On July 31, he hit a three-run double against the Reds in the sixth inning of a 9-2 win over Cincinnati. Overall, he was nine-for-38 with four doubles and six RBI, with two walks and eight strikeouts. Defensively, he fielded at .966 in 100 frames behind the plate and caught 28 percent trying to steal for a 93 CS+.

In 1986 Mizerock slashed .185/.374/.259 in 44 games for the Astros, with one home run and six RBI. In 263 23 innings he had a .987 fielding percentage and caught 21 percent of base stealers for a 66 CS+. Houston released him after the season. He would go on to catch in 11 games for the 1989 Atlanta Braves, going six-for-27.

542. Henry Sosa is a six-foot-one right-handed pitcher from El Seibo, DR. Born on July 28, 1985, he reached the majors for the Astros in 2011. After allowing four runs in each of his three starts, he totaled four Quality Starts in the next four. On August 30, he held the Pirates to two hits and a walk over seven innings, striking out seven in an 8-2 win over Pittsburgh.

Sosa was 3-5 over 10 starts for Houston, pitching to a 5.23 ERA and 38 strikeouts in 53 13 innings. He allowed 31 runs, all earned, on 54 hits and 23 walks. It was Sosa’s only time in the major leagues.

541. Fernando Abad is a six-foot-two left-handed pitcher fro La Romana, DR. Born on December 17, 1985, he reached the majors for the first time in 2010 with the Astros, appearing 22 times in relief.

Abad played three seasons with Houston, going 1-11 with a 5.10 ERA and 65 strikeouts in 84 23 innings. He had a 1.559 WHIP and a 5.00 FIP, allowing 51 runs (48 earned) on 99 hits and 33 walks.

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