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Astros Crawfish Boil: November 29, 2023

A Wednesday Crawfish Boil, and Chapter 34 of Everystros.

Carlos Peña
| Photo by John Williamson/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Good morning and welcome to your Wednesday Boil.

Not just another day without baseball, your Wednesday Boil brings you a few links, some birthdays, and Everystros XXXIV.

Houston Astros News

Lance McCullers Jr. injury: Astros pitcher on track for 2024 return after forearm surgery (ABC13)

2024 Houston Sports Awards: Nominees, recipients announced for event (Fox 26 Houston)

MLB Insider thinks there is a chance this Astros superstar is traded by Opening Day (Halo Hangout)

AL West News

Los Angeles Angels — Angels Hiring Steve Karsay As Bullpen Coach (MLB TR)

Oakland AthleticsA Case For Oakland To Extend Zack Gelof Far Earlier Than They Have To (Forbes)

Texas RangersAdolis García, Luka Dončić swap jerseys before Mavericks game

Seattle MarinersMLB rumors: Cody Bellinger to Mariners floated by Matt Vasgersian (ClutchPoints)

MLB News

These free agents have the best tools on the market

Why Soto is ‘almost certain to be traded’

Is this the team to watch at next week’s Winter Meetings?

Dodgers ‘among the most aggressive teams’ for Cease

Houston Astros Birthdays

RHP Dean Deetz (30)

SS Jason Alfaro (46)

LHP Pedro Martínez (55)

LF Mike Easler (73)

Everystros XXXIV

Your 34th installment of the Everystros countdown features 11 players between 101 and 500 BF/PA with the team. These players combined to finish 2.6 wins below the replacement level, and each had between negative-0.0011 and negative-0.0008 bWAR per BF/PA with Houston.

528. Billy Goodman is a five-foot-11 lefty-batting and righty-throwing infielder from Sarasota, FL. Born on March 22, 1926, he first appeared in the majors in 1947 with the Boston Red Sox, and eventually spent 11 seasons with them (1177 games, .306/.386/.387, 14 home runs, 464 RBI. He later also played with the Baltimore Orioles (73 games, .308/.362/.403, three homers, 33 RBI) and the Chicago White Sox (291 games, .274/.336/.341, two homers, 84 RBI.

Out of work in early 1962, the Houston Colt .45s signed Goodman through free agency. In 82 games he went 41-for-161 with four doubles, a triple, and 10 RBI. On June 7, 1962, he hit a walkoff RBI-single in a 3-2 win against the Milwaukee Braves. In 174 plate appearances, he drew 12 walks and struck out 11 times, scoring 12 runs.

Defensively, Goodman played 148 innings at second base, making two errors for a .972 fielding percentage, and 99 innings at third base, where he made seven errors for a mark of .825. He also played three innings at first base without incident. After the season, Houston granted Goodman’s free agency, but the veteran stuck with the Houston system for another two seasons with the Durham Bulls in the Carolina League.

Eventually, Goodman was honored by induction into both the Red Sox Hall of Fame and the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. SABR Bio

527. Marc Valdes is a six-foot, right-handed pitcher from Dayton, OH. Born on December 20, 1971, he was a 20th-round pick of the Cincinnati Reds in 1990 out of high school. After he passed on a deal, he was later a first-round choice of the Florida Marlins in 1993, out of the University of Florida with the 27th pick off the board.

Valdes made it to the majors with the Marlins in 1995, and played in parts of two seasons for the Fish (1-3, 5.98, 55 23 IP). He later played two seasons for the Montreal Expos (5-7, two saves, 4.32, 131 13 IP). After spending the 1999 campaign in the minor leagues for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, they eventually traded him to the Astros for Russ Johnson (471).

Once acquired, Valdes joined Houston’s bullpen and came into 53 games in relief through the balance of the campaign. On August 13, he pitched two perfect innings with three strikeouts in a 14-7 win against the Philadelphia Phillies. On September 16, he earned his highest WPA of the season, with a mark of .239 after pitching the 10th inning of a 10-9 win against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He inherited a runner, then collected three outs over four pitches.

In his season with Houston, Valdes went 5-5 with a 5.08 ERA. He struck out 35 batters in 56 23 innings, allowing 41 runs (32 earned) on 69 hits and 25 walks for a 1.659 WHIP and a 4.18 FIP. After the season Houston let him go.

Valdes appeared in seven games for the Atlanta Braves (1-0, 7.71, seven IP) the following season, but that was it for his major league career. He staged a short-lived comeback in 2005 in the New York Yankees farm, but hung it up after that.

526. Alvin Morman is a six-foot-three left-handed pitcher from Rockingham, NC. Born on January 6, 1969, he was a 39th-round pick by Houston in 1991 out of Wingate University. By 1996, he was playing out of Houston’s bullpen.

By leverage and WPA, Morman’s best outing was a short one. He entered against the Philadelphia Phillies on May 7 protecting a 6-5 lead with one out and runners on second and third in the eighth. Mickey Morandini bunted into a 1-3 fielders choice, and with runners on the corners walked Lenny Dykstra. Morman then got Kevin Jordan looking at strike three. Jeff Bagwell added a ninth-inning solo shot to ice the 7-5 victory. On August 6, Morman struck out three over 1 13 innings only surrendering a walk in an eventual 7-5 loss to the Montreal Expos.

Morman ranked second on Houston’s pitching staff with 53 pitching appearances through the season. He struck out 31 in 42 innings, allowing 24 runs, all but one earned, on 43 hits and 24 walks for a 4.93 ERA, a 1.595 WHIP, and a 4-1 record.

A month into the 1997 season, before Morman got into a major league game, the Astros traded him to the Cleveland Indians for Jose Cabrera (373). After Morman pitched parts of two seasons with the Tribe (0-1, two saves, 5.58, 40 13 IP), he pitched for the San Francisco Giants (0-1, 5.14, seven IP) and the Kansas City Royals (2-4, one save, 4.05, 53 13 IP). Released after the 1999 season, Morman was unable to find employment elsewhere.

525. Jim Bouton wrote Ball Four, which some have cited as the insider book on baseball. He also played him some baseball, for a bit even with our heroes in Houston.

Bouton was a six-foot right-handed pitcher from Newark, NJ. Born on March 8, 1939, he reached the big leagues in 1962 with the New York Yankees, for whom he pitched most of his major league career. In seven seasons he was 55-51 with four saves, a 3.36 ERA, and 561 strikeouts in 1238 23 innings. Late in his career, Bouton developed a knuckleball in order to continue pitching. On June 15, 1968, the Seattle Pilots purchased Bouton from the Bombers.

Bouton spent the first half of the 1969 season with the Pilots (2-1, one save, 3.91, 92 IP). On August 24, they sent him to the Astros for Roric Harrison and Dooley Womack (363).

Bouton pitched in 16 games for Houston to finish up the 1969 season, starting once. That was on August 29, when he pitched a complete game 10-inning 4-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates, striking out 11.

On September 17, Bouton had his best game for the Astros with two scoreless innings, earning a save against the San Francisco Giants in a 2-1 victory. Two days later, he struck out four over two innings, surrendering only a single in a 3-2 win against the Cincinnati Reds. Overall, he was 0-2 with a 4.11 ERA and 32 strikeouts in 30 23 innings, and gave up 14 runs (16 earned) on 32 hits and a dozen walks, with a 1.435 WHIP.

In 1970, Bouton made 29 appearances for Houston between the start of the season and July 29. He took five turns in the rotation, winning two and losing two before getting relegated to the bullpen. His best start was his last, on May 4, when he pitched a complete game and only allowed one earned run in a 7-2 win against the Chicago Cubs.

Bouton ended his time with a 4-6 record and a 5.40 ERA. He struck out 49 in 73 13 innings with a 1.595 WHIP and a 3.58 FIP. He became a news anchor after retirement, later joining the collegiate lecture circuit and later even yet becoming one of the inventors of Big League Chew. In 2019, he passed away at home of Cerebral amyloid angiopathy. SABR Bio

524. Dave Roberts is a six-foot left-handed first baseman and outfielder from Panama, and the first of three Dave Roberts’s (Dave’s Robert? Dave Robertsi? Roberts³?) to play for Houston. Born on June 30, 1933, his initial foray into the US baseball system was with the Baltimore Orioles at the C-level in 1954. He later also played on farms for the Milwaukee Braves, the Kansas City Athletics, and the Chicago Cubs.

Prior to the 1961 season, Roberts was sent from the A’s to the Houston Colt .45s in an “unknown transaction,” according to baseball reference. The 1962 campaign would see Roberts play mostly at the Triple-A level with the Oklahoma City 89ers, where in 133 games he hit .322/.398/.528 with 15 home runs and 96 RBI. He joined Houston in September, and appeared in 16 of the Colts final 23 games.

On September 6, in only the second game of Roberts career, he was called on to hit with two on, two out, and one run down in the bottom of the ninth inning, but no pressure. Anyway, Roberts came through with a walk-off two-run double, earning a 0.836 single-game WPA in one plate appearance. In addition to that, Roberts also had three multi-hit games with the Colts to close out the season, and finished with a .245/.349/.358 slashline.

Roberts didn’t get back to the majors until May 1964, when he resurfaced with the Colts. On June 8, he had his first three-hit game, with two doubles and a single with a run scored in a 5-3 loss to the Milwaukee Braves. He collected two singles in his very next game, scoring another run in a 6-5 win over the Braves.

Roberts hit .184/.270/.256 in 61 games during his second tour with the Colts, with one homer and seven RBI. He drew 14 walks and struck out 28 times. After not appearing at the major league level in 1965, the Pittsburgh Pirates chose Roberts in the rule 5 draft, which means I don’t know anything about rule 5. Roberts went two-for-16 in 14 games for the Buccos, closing out his US major league career. He wasn’t done, though. He went over to the JPCL, where he played for the Sankei Atoms, the Yakult Swallows, and the Osaka Kintetsu Buffaloes, all the way through his age-40 season in 1973. SABR Bio

523. Russ Ortiz is a six-foot-one right-handed pitcher from Van Nuys, CA. Born on June 5, 1974, he was a fourth-round choice of the San Francisco Giants in 1995 out of the University of Oklahoma. He reached the bigs with them in 1998, and eventually played his first five major league seasons with them (67-44, 4.01, 924 23 IP, 712 K). He later pitched for the Atlanta Braves (36-16, 3.97, 417 IP, 292 K, 2003 All-Star), the Arizona Diamondbacks (5-16, 7.00, 137 23 IP, 67 K), the Baltimore Orioles (0-3, 8.48, 40 13 IP, 23 K), and the Giants for a second time (2-3, 5.51, 49 IP, 27 K).

In January, 2009, Ortiz signed with the Astros through free agency. On June 7, he struck out three over 4 13 scoreless innings of relief in a 6-4 win against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He started in 13 of his 23 appearances with the team, logging Quality Starts in four of them. On June 11, he struck out five over 5 13 innings, holding the Cubs scoreless on three hits and three walks in a 2-1 win over Chicago.

Ortiz was 3-6 with a 5.57 ERA and 65 strikeouts in 85 23 innings. He gave up 56 runs, 53 earned, on 95 hits and 48 walks, for a 1.669 WHIP and a 4.61 FIP. The Astros released Ortiz on July 30. He immediately signed on with the New York Yankees, but he didn’t get back to the majors with them. He did reach the bigs in 2010 with the Los Angeles Dodgers (0-1, 10.29, seven innings).

522. Christian Vázquez is a five-foot-nine right-handed catcher from Bayamon, PR. Born on August 21, 1990, he was chosen in the ninth round of the 2008 draft by the Boston Red Sox out of Puerto Rico Baseball Academy.

Vázquez reached the majors with the Red Sox in 2014, and over eight seasons, he appeared in 698 games for Boston. He slashed .262/.311/.389 with 61 home runs and 308 RBI. On August 1, 2022, the Red Sox traded Vázquez to the Astros for Wilyer Abreu and Enmanuel Valdez.

In 35 games with the Astros, Vázquez collected multiple hits in six games. On August 14, he had three singles and scored a run, knocking another in as Houston topped the Oakland A’s, 6-3. On August 18, he collected four hits, scored three runs, and drove in a pair in a 21-5 facesmashing of the Chicago White Sox.

Vázquez went 26-for-104 with three doubles and a homer with 10 RBI. He scored eight times, drew four walks, and struck out 18 times, slashing .250/.278/.308. Defensively, he caught 226 23 innings and made two errors for a .992 fielding percentage. He threw out 18 percent of baserunners, a CS+ rate of 72. In Houston’s postseason run to the title, he went four-for-17.

Houston didn’t try to hang onto Vázquez past their championship, electing instead to start Martín Maldonado most of the time. Vázquez signed on with the Minnesota Twins and played 102 games, slashing .223/.280/.318 with six homers and 32 RBI.

521. Carlos Peña is a six-foot-two left-handed pitcher from Santo Domingo, DR. Born on May 17, 1978, he was a first-round pick of the Texas Rangers in 1998 out of Northeastern University, with the 10th choice overall.

Peña reached the majors with Texas in 2001 (.258/.361/.500, three homers, 12 RBI), and later played for the Oakland Athletics (40 games, .218/.305/.419, seven home runs, 16 RBI), the Detroit Tigers (427 games, .244/.331/.461, 75 jacks, 212 RBI), the Boston Red Sox (18 games, .273/.351/.424, one home run, three RBI), the Tampa Bay Devil Rays (726 games, .230/.360/.483, 163 homers, 468 RBI, (2009 All Star Team, AL-leading 39 HR)), and the Chicago Cubs (153 games, .225/.357/.462, 28 home runs, 80 RBI).

After the 2012 season, the Rays granted Peña’s free agency, and he signed on with Houston for $2.9 million. He played in 89 games for the Astros, including 10 games in which he collected multiple hits, but he also had 43 games in which he collected zero, almost half of the games. On May 31, he went three-for-five with a double and an RBI in a 6-3 win against the Los Angeles Angels, but good results were few and far between, as Peña earned a collective negative-1.01 WPA during his time with Houston.

Peña hit .209/.324/.350, with eight home runs and 25 RBI with Houston, and fielded at a 1.000 clip over 377 23 innings at first base, but Houston had seen enough and released him on July 31. Think about it for a minute. This was a 51-111 team that decided Peña wasn’t good enough.

Later Peña went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts against the Kansas City Royals. In 2014, he reached the majors with the Rangers, and went eight-for-59 with one jack and two RBI.

520. José Cisnero is a six-foot-three right-handed pitcher from Bajos de Haina, DR. Born on April 11, 1989, he reached the bigs with Houston in 2013. In 43 23 innings, he was 2-2 in 28 relief appearances, with 41 strikeouts and 22 walks. On May 18, he earned his first win of the season when he struck out five over 3 23 innings, and allowed zero runs on two hits and a walk. On June 6, he struck out three over two shutout innings in a 3-1 loss to the Baltimore Orioles.

Cisnero remained with the Astros in 2014, and pitched in another five games, He gave up five runs in 4 23 innings, with four walks and five strikeouts. He was granted free agency after the season, and signed on with the Cincinnati Reds.

CIsnero got back to the majors in 2019 with the Detroit Tigers, and has been a regular out of their bullpen since. He’s pitched in 222 games and gone 11-15 with six saves, 229 K’s in 211 innings, and a 3.84 ERA. He’s currently a free agent.

519. José Herrera is a five-foot-eight right-handed outfielder and second baseman from San Lorenzo, VZ. Born on April 8, 1942, he reached the major leagues for the first time in 1967 with Houston. In five games, he was one-for-four with an RBI.

In 1968, Herrera played in another 27 games for the Astros, hitting 24-for-100 with five doubles and seven RBI. He had five multiple-hit games, including a three-hit game on September 22, scoring a run in a 6-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

After the 1968 season, the Montreal Expos drafted Herrera from Houston as the 29th pick in the expansion draft. He hit .283/.300/.370 with two home runs and 12 RBI.

518. Ty Gainey is a six-foot-one lefty-batting right-handed throwing outfielder from Cheraw, SC. Born on December 25, 1960, he was Houston’s second-round choice in 1979 out of high school.

Gainey reached the majors in 1985, and was six-for-37 and scored five runs in 13 games for the Astros. On July 8, he collected a pair of singles and scored once in a 7-4 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies.

The following season on July 8, Gainey hit a single and a triple with an RBI in a 4-1 win against the Montreal Expos. Overall in 1986, he hit .300/.375/.460 in 26 games, and hit one home run with six RBI.

In 1987, Gainey was three-for-24 with an RBI and a run scored over 18 appearances. It was his last time in the majors, although he played another four seasons of minor league ball for the Astros, the Cleveland Indians, and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Check back tomorrow as we cover the players between 101 and 500 PA/BF with Houston and between negative-0.0008 and negative-0.0005 bWAR per plate transaction.

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