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Astros Crawfish Boil: November 30, 2023

It’s your Boil, plus Everystros XXXV

Tyler Greene
| Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images

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Welcome to the Thursday Boil!

Houston Astros News

The big hole to fill for the Astros’ 2024 (Chipalatta)

If Astros do explore trades, could Framber Valdez be on the block? (The Athletic)

How gain, gamble divide is closing as Astros reach crossroads with star slugger (SportsMap)

AL West News

Oakland Athletics A’s head into MLB Winter Meetings with long list of areas for improvement (SF Chronicle)

Los Angeles Angels Report: Two MLB Teams Dropped Out Of Shohei Ohtani Race (The Spun)

Seattle Mariners Would the Mariners TRADE Logan Gilbert If They Landed Yoshinobu Yamamoto? (KSDK)

Texas Rangers Rosenthal: Rangers face uncertainty in free agency, plus Yankees’ payroll, White Sox’s options for Cease (the Athletic)

MLB News

Why Soto could be traded — and which team is the best fit

Mets going ‘full bore’ after two top free-agent pitchers?

Cease trade talks intensifying, deal could happen soon

Mets have deal with former Yanks RHP Severino

Snell ‘badly’ wants to pitch for this team

Houston Astros Birthday

IF Luis Valbuena (1985-2018)

Everystros XXXV

In Chapter 35, we remain in the fourth bracket, comprised of players who registered a combined 1.9 wins below replacement in their time with the Astros. Each player had between 101 and 500 BF/PA while with the team, and landed between negative-0.0008 and negative-0.0006 bWAR per BF/PA with Houston.

517. Mike Maddux is a six-foot-two left-handed batting and right-handed throwing pitcher from Dayton, OH. Born on August 27, 1961, he was a 36th-round choice of the Cincinnati Reds out of high school in 1979. He went to the University of Texas at El Paso instead of signing, then three years later was taken in the fifth round by the Philadelphia Phillies.

Maddux, who has a brother who also pitches, reached the majors with the Phillies in 1986, and spent four seasons with the team (10-13, one save, 4.51, 227 13 IP), later playing with the Los Angeles Dodgers (0-1, 6.53, 20 23 IP), the San Diego Padres (9-4, 10 saves, 2.42, 178 13 IP), the New York Mets (5-9, seven saves, 4.16, 119 IP), the Pittsburgh Pirates (1-0, 9.00, nine IP), Boston Red Sox (7-3, one save, 3.97, 154 IP), the Seattle Mariners (1-0, 10.13, 10 23 IP), the Montreal Expos (3-4, one save, 4.15, 60 23 IP), and once more with the Dodgers (1-1, 3.29, 54 2/3 IP).

On February 1, 2000, Maddux signed on with the Houston Astros. He appeared in 21 games, all in relief, with a 2-2 record and a 6.26 ERA. He struck out 17 in 27 13 innings, and gave up 20 runs (19 earned) on 31 hits and 12 walks. On April 29, he stranded an inherited runner, then struck out two over 2 23 shutout innings in a 10-3 win over the Milwaukee Brewers.

Houston released Maddux on July 5, 2000. He finished with an 80 ERA+, a 6.28 FIP, and a 1.573 WHIP.

516. Bruce Von Hoff was a six-foot right-handed pitcher from Gulfport, FL. Born on November 17, 1943, he reached the big leagues for the first time in 1965 with the Houston Astros, pitching three games at the end of the season. On October 3, in Houston’s last game of the season, he struck out one batter in a perfect ninth inning, in a 5-2 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Von Hoff pitched a lot more with the Astros in his second season in the big leagues, starting 10 times for the Astros between August 15 and the end of the season. In his first start, he held the Dodgers to four hits and three walks over eight shutout innings in a 2-1 victory over Los Angeles. Somehow, Von Hoff didn’t strike anyone out that day. It was one of three Quality Starts for Von Hoff. Overall, he was 0-3 with a 4.83 ERA and 22 strikeouts in 50 13 innings, and allowed 29 runs (27 earned) on 52 hits and 28 walks.

Von Hoff never got back to the majors, but played three more seasons in the minors, between the Astros, the Cincinnati Reds, and the St. Louis Cardinals.

515. Jim Campbell is a six-foot right-handed catcher from Palo Alto, CA. Born on June 24, 1937, he made his major league debut with the Houston Colt .45s in their first major league season. On August 29, he hit a ninth-inning go-ahead eventual game-winning home run in a 3-2 victory against the St. Louis Cardinals. He played in a total of 27 games in that first season, going 19-for-86 with four doubles and three home runs with six RBI. He drew six walks and struck out 26 times. In 207 innings behind the plate, he fielded at .970 and threw out 32 percent of runners trying to steal, which works out to a 94 CS+.

Campbell appeared in 55 games for the Colt .45s in 1963, and hit .222/.268/.316 with three doubles, four homers, and 19 RBI. Defensively, he fielded at .979 in 361 23 innings at catcher, and again threw out 32 percent of runners for a 76 CS+.

Campbell had nine multiple-hit games in 1963, including a three-hit game on June 2, with two singles and a double, along with two walks in a 3-1, 17-inning win against the Milwaukee Braves. On July 4, he hit a leadoff single in the fourth, and a grand slam home run in the eighth inning of a 6-2 win against the Cincinnati Reds.

514. Tyler Greene is a six-foot-two right-handed infielder from Plantation, FL. Born on August 17, 1983, he was a second-round pick of the Atlanta Braves in 2002 out of high school. In 2005, after pitching with the Georgia Institute of Technology for three years, he was taken in the first round by the St. Louis Cardinals, with the 30th overall pick.

Greene reached the bigs with the Redbirds in 2009 (227 games, .218/.295/.329, nine home runs, 47 RBI, and 25 stolen bases in 27 attempts). On August 9, St. Louis sent him to Houston to complete a conditional deal. He finished out the season with the Astros, hitting .246/.278/.460 in 39 games. He collected multiple hits in nine of them.

On August 10, Greene entered as a pinch-runner with Houston trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth. He stole second, then took third on a walk pitch and tied the score when Steve Pearce hit a single to center field. That was his highest WPA with the team, a mark of .254.

Defensively with Houston, Greene played 258 innings at shortstop with a .953 fielding percentage, and added 31 23 perfect innings at second base. He remained with Houston through the offseason, and played through Spring Training before getting released and signed by the Chicago White Sox. After hitting .222 in 22 games, the team released him on August 13. He did not get back to the majors.

513. Brooks Raley is a six-foot-three left-handed pitcher from San Antonio, TX. Born on June 29, 1988, he was a sixth-round pick out of Texas A&M University by the Chicago Cubs in 2009. He reached the major leagues with them in 2012, and played parts of two seasons with them (1-2, 7.04, 38 13 IP).

In 2014, Raley played in the minors for the Los Angeles Angels and the Minnesota Twins, but couldn’t get back to the majors, so instead headed over to Korea. He played the next five seasons in the KBO with the Lotte Giants (48-53, 4.13, 910 23 IP). In 2020, he made his way back to the states and signed with the Cincinnati Reds (0-0, 9.00, 4 IP). On August 10, they sent him to the Astros for PTBNL Fredy Medina.

Raley appeared in 17 games in relief for Houston between his acquisition and the end of the season. On September 8, he came into a game with two outs in the fourth inning of a 4-4 tie with Oakland, and stranded his inherited runner. He then worked a perfect fifth and got the first out of the sixth for his best WPA of the year. 1 23 perfect innings in a tie game will do that for you, and Houston topped the A’s, 5-4.

Raley finished his first year with Houston at 0-1 with a 3.94 ERA and 21 K’s in 16 innings and a pretty clean-looking 0.750 WHIP.

In 2021, Raley pitched in 58 games for the Astros, and struck out 65 in 49 innings for a team-leading 11.9 K/9, along with a 1.204 WHIP and a 3.27 FIP. On July 4, he pitched a perfect 10th for his second save of the season, striking out one in a 4-3 win against the Cleveland Indians.

Raley signed with the Tampa Bay Rays through free agency for the 2022 season (1-2, six saves, 2.68, 53 23 IP), then played 2023 with the New York Mets (1-2, three saves, 2.80, 54 23 IP).

512. Mike Burns is a six-foot-one right-handed pitcher from Westminster, CA. Born on July 14, 1978, he was a 30th-round pick in 2000 by the Astros out of California State University. It took him five years, but he got to the major leagues for Houston in May, 2005. On July 2, he pitched two scoreless innings against the Reds in a 4-3 win for a season-high .251 WPA. On July 19, he pitched a perfect ninth, striking out a pair of Bucs in a 9-3 win over Pittsburgh.

In 27 games, Burns struck out 20 in 31 innings, walking eight and allowing 29 hits for a 1.194 WHIP. After the season, the Cincinnati Reds claimed Burns off waivers. After his time with the Reds (13 13 IP, 8.78 ERA, 2.475 WHIP), he played for the Boston Red Sox (7 23 IP, 4.70 ERA, 1.435 WHIP) and the Milwaukee Brewers (3-5, 51 23 IP, 5.75 ERA, 1.490 WHIP.

511. Chris Truby is a six-foot-two right-handed third baseman from Palm Springs, CA. Born on December 9, 1973, he first reached the major leagues in 2000 with Houston, and appeared in 78 games. He was 67-for-258 with 15 doubles, four triples, and 11 home runs, with 10 walks, 28 runs scored, 59 RBI, and 56 strikeouts. He slashed .260/.295/.477 for that first go-round. He had 17 multi-hit games through the year, including five three-hit contests.

Truby’s two best games of the season were back-to-back on August 6 and August 7. In the first, an 8-1 win against the Montreal Expos, Truby provided most of the offense with a single, a double, and a home run for six RBI. The next day, in a 6-5 loss to the New York Mets, he drove in three more on a single and a double. On September 15, he fell a single short of the cycle, and drove in five in a 16-7 win against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Defensively, he fielded at a .926 clip over 591 23 innings at third base.

Truby spent another season with the Astros, and fielded at .923 over 299 innings at third. He slashed .206/.276/.441 and hit six doubles, a triple, and eight home runs with 23 RBI. He opened the season with homers in his first three games, along with four walks and five RBI.

Truby didn’t play for Houston again, but did later appear with the Montreal Expos (35 games, .257/.297/.400, two homers, seven RBI), the Detroit Tigers (89 games, .199/.215/.282, two homers, 15 RBI), and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays (13 games, .279/.354/.349, three RBI).

510. Tommy Davis was a six-foot-two right-handed left-fielder and third baseman from Brooklyn, NY. Born on March 21, 1939, he reached the bigs with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1959. After eight seasons with the Dodgers (821 games, .304/.338/.441, 86 home runs, 465 RBI, two All-Star appearances), he played for the New York Mets (154 games, .302/.342/.440, 16 home runs, 73 RBI), the Chicago White Sox (132 games, .268/.289/.344, eight home runs, 50 RBI) and the Seattle Pilots (123 games, .271/.318/.379, six jacks, 80 RBI.

At the 1969 trade deadline, the Pilots traded Davis to Houston for Sandy Valdespino (557) and Danny Walton (870). Davis played 24 games and hit .241/.318/.316, one homer, nine RBI. On September 7, he collected three RBI with two singles and a double in a 7-6 win against the San Francisco Giants. In 169 13 innings in the outfield, all but eight of them in left field, he made 25 putouts and one assist with no errors.

Davis played in 57 of Houston’s first 68 games in 1970, hitting .282/.305/.399 with 17 multiple-hit games, 12 doubles, two triples, and three home runs with 30 RBI. On June 16, he hit a double and a pair of singles in a 2-1 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies.

Davis later played for the Oakland Athletics (145 games, .308/.342/.387, four homers, 69 RBI), the Chicago Cubs (26 games, .265/.296/.397, two homers, 14 RBI), Baltimore Orioles (437 games, .291/.327/.372, 24 homers, 236 RBI), the California Angels (72 games, .265/.312/.329, three homers, 26 RBI), and the Kansas City Royals (eight games, five-for-19).

509. Rick Rhoden is a six-foot-three right-handed pitcher from Boynton Beach, FL. Born on May 16, 1953 he was a first-round pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1971 out of Atlantic Community High School, 20th off the board.

Rhoden reached the majors with the Dodgers in 1974, and in five seasons posted a 42-24 record with a 3.40 ERA and 325 strikeouts in 670 13 innings. He had a 1.268 WHIP, a 3.76 FIP, and a 105 ERA+, making the 1976 All-Star Team. He later appeared with the Pittsburgh Pirates 79-73, 3.51, one save, 1448 innings, three Silver Slugger Awards, 1986 All-Star Team) and the New York Yankees (28-22, 4.09, 378 23 IP).

In 1989, before Spring Training, the Yankees traded Rhoden to the Astros for Pedro de Leon, Mike Hook, and John Fishel (775). He made 17 turns in Houston’s rotation, and three trips out of the bullpen for a 2-6 record, a 4.28 ERA, and a 1.541 WHIP, He struck out 41 in 96 23 IP, also walking 41 and finishing with a 4.22 FIP. He also went six-for-29 as a hitter.

On April 12, Rhoden tapped into his old self for a start against the Reds, despite finishing the 3-1 loss to Cincinnati with seven innings of shutout ball. He only struck out one, but also only walked one and held the Reds to five singles. On September 15, he earned a 4-1 win against the Reds, giving up one run over seven innings, giving up two hits and four walks while also striking out four. He was granted free agency after the season.

508. Brian Powell was a six-foot-two right-handed pitcher from Bainbridge, GA. Born on October 10, 1973, he was a third round pick in 1992 by the California Angels out of high school. The then attended the University of Georgia, and the Detroit Tigers took him in the second round in 1995.

Powell reached the bigs in 1998 with the Tigers (18 games, 16 starts, 3-8, 6.35, 46 K’s in 83 23 IP, 1.637 WHIP). Before 1999 Spring Training, Detroit traded him with Mark Persails, Carlos Villalobos, Paul Bako (404) and Dean Crow to Houston for Brad Ausmus (110) and C.J. Nitkowski (422).

Powell started five times for the 2000 Astros, appearing another four times in relief between early August and the end of the season. Going by GameScore, he had his best game, a mark of 65 btw, against the New York Mets on August 8. He limited them to one run on five hits over seven innings, collecting three strikeouts and walking only one along the way in a 9-3 Astros win. In 2001, he only appeared once, starting against the Marlins on August 11 for a 13-5 loss, with six runs allowed in three innings.

In total, Powell was 2-2 over 10 games with Houston, with six starts. He had a 6.82 ERA in 34 13 innings, with 16 walks and 17 strikeouts. He later played with the Tigers again (13 games, 1-5, 4.84, 57 23 IP), then appeared with the San Francisco Giants (4 23 IP, seven runs) and the Philadelphia Phillies (1-2, 5.03, 39 13 IP).

507. Cecil Upshaw was a six-foot-six right-handed pitcher from Spearsville, LA. Born on October 22, 1942, he first reached the majors with the Atlanta Braves in 1966. In seven big-league innings for the Braves, he was 30-26 with a 3.01 ERA and 246 K’s in 409 23 innings. On April 22, 1973, they sent him to the Astros for Norm Miller (228).

In 35 games for the Astros, Upshaw was 2-3 with a 4.46 ERA. He struck out 21 in 38 13 innings, allowing 21 runs, 19 earned, on 38 hits and 15 walks for a 1.383 WHIP. He earned a win in his best appearance of the season, pitching the last three innings and giving up only one run on one hit in a 5-4 win against the San Francisco Giants. After the 1973 season, Houston traded him to the Cleveland Indians for Jerry Johnson (574).

After his time with Cleveland (0-1, 3.38, eight IP), Upshaw played for the New York Yankees (1-5, 3.02, 59 23 IP) and the Chicago White Sox (1-1, 3.23, 47 13 IP).

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