In today’s chapter of our offseason-long countdown, we’re looking at another 14 players on our way to number one.
We’re still in the third tier of ballplayers, those players who totaled between 21 and 100 BA/PF while with the franchise. Today’s chapter deals with players who totaled between -0.0069 and -0.0057 bWAR per BA/PF.
After six seasons on the farm for the Bucs, the Pirates traded Owens with Colton Cain and Robbie Grossman to the Astros for Wandy Rodriguez. After the trade, Owens reported to Houston’s Triple-A affiliate, at the time the Oklahoma City RedHawks, and started eight games, going 2-3 with a 4.34 ERA and a 1.248 WHIP. He missed a significant portion of the 2013 campaign due to injury, only appearing in three contests with the RedHawks, but he got a lot of work in the Dominican Winter League with Gigantes del Cibao, where he was 3-2 with a 2.68 ERA in 10 turns.
The 2014 season would see Owens once again start for the Astros at the Triple-A level with OKC, where he went 8-5 with a 4.33 ERA. On May 23, the Astros called on him for an emergency start, and he got the ball against the Seattle Mariners. He lasted 5 2⁄3 innings, and allowed five runs on nine hits and two walks, with one hit batter and one strikeout. He threw 59-of-91 of his pitches for strikes, and finished with a GameScore of 30.
Owens never got back to the majors, spending the next few seasons between the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Colorado Rockies farms, and also appearing with Toros del Este in the DWL, the Somerset Patriots in the ATLL and Unipol Bologna, in the Italian circuit.
825. Dayan Díaz is a five-foot-10 right-handed pitcher from Cartagena, Colombia. Born on February 10, 1989, Díaz joined the Houston Astros at 17 at their rookie level, and spent seven seasons in their farm system. Through free agency, he landed with the Chicago Cubs in 2013, the Boston Red Sox in 2014 and 2015, and the Cincinnati Reds in 2016. It was with the Reds for whom Díaz finally made his debut in the majors, pitching in six games that season.
Again granted free agency, Díaz came full circle and signed with the Astros in 2017. In 35 games at the Triple-A level, he went 4-3 with a 4.12 ERA over 48 innings. He made his major league debut with the Astros on May 14. On June 17, he pitched a perfect inning, striking one out in a 7-1 win against the Boston Red Sox. In his next appearance, he struck out two in another scoreless inning, allowing one hit in an 8-4 win against the Oakland A’s.
Overall, Díaz pitched in 10 games for the Astros. He struck out 20 batters in only 13 innings, but also allowed 14 runs (13 earned) on 17 hits and four walks. He joined the Los Angeles Angels in their farm system in 2018, but that was his last appearance in affiliated ball.
824. Domingo Santana is a six-foot-five right-handed right-fielder from Santo Domingo, DR. Born on August 5, 1992, Santana joined the Philadelphia Phillies organization in 2009. In 2011, the Phillies sent Santana with Jarred Cosart, Jon Singleton, and Josh Zeid for Hunter Pence.
In 2012, Santana hit .302/.385/.536 with 23 homers and 97 RBI with the Lancaster JetHawks. In 2014, he hit .296/.384/.474 at the Triple-A level with the Oklahoma City RedHawks. Also in 2014, Santana got his first look with the Astros. It was bad. He went 0-for-17 with 14 strikeouts, although he did score a run on an error.
He was named to the 2015 Triple-A All-Star Team and the Baseball America Minor League 2nd All-Star Team. In 75 games at that level, he slashed .320/.426/.582 with 16 jacks and 59 RBI. That was good enough for the Astros to give Santana another chance. He capitalized on the opportunity, going 10-for-39 with two doubles and two home runs with eight RBI.
At the 2015 trade deadline, the Astros traded Santana, Josh Hader, Adrian Houser, and Brett Phillips to the Milwaukee Brewers for Mike Fiers and Carlos Gómez. Yeah, we lost that one. Santana played four seasons with the Crew (351 games, .266/.354/.465) before joining the Seattle Mariners (121 games, .253/.329/.441) in 2019 and the Cleveland Indians (24 games, .157/.298/.286) in 2020.
823. Niko Goodrum is a six-foot-three switch-hitting middle infielder/outfielder from Atlanta, GA. Born on February 28, 1992, the Minnesota Twins chose him in the second round of the 2010 draft out of Fayette County HS. He got to the majors with the Twins seven years later, going one-for-17 in 11 games. After the 2017 program, he was granted free agency and signed with the Detroit Tigers.
Goodrum played four major league seasons for the Tigers, playing every position but pitcher and catcher during his time. In his first season, he hit .245/.315/.432 with 16 home runs, 53 RBI, and 12 stolen bases in 131 games. Overall, he had a line of .232/.306/.401 in 376 games with 42 jacks and 45 swipes. He was granted his free agency following the 2021 season.
Houston signed Goodrum on March 15, 2022 and added him to the major league roster. On April 16, he hit a single and a double, scoring a run in a 4-0 win over the Seattle Mariners. On May 1, he again hit a single and a double, adding an RBI in a 3-2 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays. Unfortunately, those four hits represented 80 percent of Goodrum’s output while with the team. In 15 games, Goodrum was five-for-43 with two doubles, two runs, an RBI, and one stolen base.
Goodrum went 14-for-45 in 13 games for the Sugar Land Space Cowboys, but hasn’t yet made his way back to the majors. He signed on with the Boston Red Sox and hit .280 at their Triple-A level club, later hitting .295 with the Lotte Giants in the KBO.
822. John Franco is a five-foot-10 left-handed pitcher from Brooklyn, NY. Born on September 17, 1960, Franco was a fifth-round pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1981 draft out of St. John’s University. He eventually reached the majors for the first time with the Cincinnati Reds in 1984. In 393 appearances over six seasons, he was 42-30 with a 2.49 ERA, 148 saves, and a 1.269 WHIP.
Following the 1989 season, Franco was traded by the Reds to the New York Mets for Kip Gross and Randy Myers. Franco spent a long time with the Mets, pitching in 695 games over 14 seasons. He was 48-56 with a 3.10 ERA and 276 saves and 592 strikeouts in 702 2⁄3 innings. Following the 2004 season, the Mets granted Franco free agency.
Franco joined the Astros for the veteran’s minimum, starting the 2005 season in their bullpen as the oldest pitcher in the majors. Although he pitched in 31 games in total, he averaged less than half of an inning per outing, totaling 15 frames. Franco kept a decent 2.89 FIP despite a sky-high 7.20 ERA, and struck out 16. He also gave up 23 hits and nine walks for a 2.133 WHIP. The Astros released him on July 2. Five years later, he earned 4.6 percent of the votes in his initial push for the Baseball Hall of Fame, thus removing him from future consideration by the standard BBWAA vote.
821. Pedro Báez is a right-handed pitcher from Bani, DR. Born on March 11, 1988, Báez, who is sometimes called “The Human Rain Delay,” signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2007, then reached the majors with them in 2014. In seven years, he posted a 21-15 record with a 3.03 ERA as a middle-reliever/set-up man.
Báez signed with Houston on January 15, 2021, for two years and $10.5 million, with an option year on the back end for $7.5 million more. Between COVID-19 and various small ailments, Báez was limited to only four games through the season. He struck out five in 4 1⁄3 innings, and allowing one run on two hits and three walks. More was expected from Baez in 2022.
Báez opened the 2022 season with the Astros at the top level. He appeared in relief in three of Houston’s first 11 games, totaling 2 1⁄3 innings but surrendering six runs, although only half of them were earned. He gave up five hits and three walks, striking out two and posting a 3.429 WHIP. Houston didn’t waste much time, releasing him on April 27. Báez then signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but didn’t get back to the big leagues. Not yet anyway.
820. Mick Kelleher is a five-foot-nine utility infielder from Seattle, WA. Born on July 25, 1947, he was a third-round pick in the 1969 draft by the St Louis Cardinals out of the University of Puget Sound. Kelleher got to the majors with the Cardinals in 1972, and appeared in 66 games for them over that season and the next hitting .168/.250/.228. After the 1973 season, Houston purchased Kelleher’s contract from St. Louis.
Kelleher spent most of the 1974 season at the Triple-A level with the Denver Bears, where he hit .236 with 28 RBI. He was called up to the Astros at the end of April, and appeared in 16 straight games for Houston. He was four-for-seven in his first two games, but was unable to keep up that pace. After the 16 games were over he was nine-for-52 with three runs and two RBI, with four walks and nine strikeouts. He rejoined the Astros late in the year, and went 0-for-five in three games, with one walk and one run.
After the 1974 season was in the books, the Cardinals purchased Kelleher’s contract back from the Astros. Kelleher spent the year with the Cards, He later played with the Chicago Cubs (433 games, .226), the Detroit TIgers (63 games, .218) and the California Angels (34 games, .163).
Bell got to the majors with the Orioles in 1985, and spent three seasons at the major league level. In 41 appearances, including 33 starts, Bell was 11-15 with a 5.38 ERA and 133 K’s in 194 innings. From 1988 through 1990, he remained in Baltimore’s system, but didn’t get back into the big leagues with them. He joined the Cleveland Indians for the 1991 season. In two seasons with the Tribe, he appeared in 17 games and struck out 17 in 33 1⁄3 innings.
Bell signed as a free agent with the Astros for the 1993 season. He started the year at the major league level, and pitched in 10 of Houston’s first 29 contests. He gave up five runs in 7 1⁄3 innings, striking out two and allowing 10 hits and a pair of walks. Relegated back to the minors, he went 4-6 with a 4.05 ERA for the Tucson Toros.
818. Travis Driskill is a six-foot right-handed pitcher from Omaha, NE. Born on August 1, 1971, Driskill was a 76th round choice of the Astros in 1990 out of LC Anderson HS, then in the 11th round in 1992 out of Blinn College by the California Angels, and finally in the fourth round of the 1993 draft by the Cleveland Indians out of Texas Tech.
Prior to getting to the majors, Driskill joined the Yakult Swallows in the Japan Central League in 1998. In 2002, he got up to the show with the Baltimore Orioles, appearing in 49 games over the following two seasons. He spent 2004 with the Colorado Rockies, but only got into five games in the majors with them.
On November 11, 2004, the Astros signed Driskill to a deal through free agency. In 2005, with the Triple-A Round Rock Express, Driskill pitched in 47 games and was 9-5 with a 4.37 ERA. On September 3, he joined the Astros for one game against the St. Louis Cardinals, and struck out a pair over a scoreless inning in a 4-2 loss.
Driskill spent all of 2006 and most of 2007 back at the Triple-A level, pitching 130 innings in 96 games. In August, 2007 he pitched in two more games for Houston, striking out four but allowing six runs in six innings. He gave up 10 hits and a walk.
817. Jerry Goff is a six-foot-three catcher from San Rafael, CA. Born on April 12, 1964, he was a seventh-round pick of the Oakland A’s in 1983 out of the College of Marin. In 1984, he was a 12th-round selection of the New York Yankees out of the College of Marin. Still, he didn’t sign. In 1986, the Seattle Mariners chose him in the third round out of the University of California at Berkley.
Goff reached majors with the Montreal Expos in 1990, and played in 55 games for them, hitting .221. He played two seasons for Pittsburgh in 1993 and 1994, totaling 22 contests and hitting .210. In 1995, he joined the Astros at their major league level. In 12 games between July and August, Goff went four for-26 with two doubles and a home run with three RBI. He drew four walks and struck out 13 times. On May 12, 1996, Goff made his only appearance of the season at baseball’s top level, going two-for-four with a two-run home run. It was also his last ever major league appearance.
McLemore worked his way up through the ranks of Houston’s minor league system at a normal rate of progression. In 2007, he got to the majors for the first time. In his debut on May 24, he struck out two over a perfect inning of relief, in a 9-1 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks. On August 4, he struck out two over two perfect frames in a 6-5 loss to the Florida Marlins.
The 2007 season would be the only one in which McLemore played in the majors. In 29 games, he was 3-0 with a 3.86 ERA and 35 strikeouts in 35 innings. He pitched to a 4.73 FIP and a 1.600 WHIP. Although McLemore spent another four years in organized baseball, he didn’t get back to the majors again.
815. Matt Kata is a six-foot-one infielder from Avon Lake, OH. Born on March 14, 1978, Kata was a 20th round selection of the Minnesota Twins in 1996 out of St. Ignatius HS. Instead of signing, he attended Vanderbilt, and three years later the Arizona Diamondbacks chose him in the ninth round.
Kata played with the Diamondbacks (150 games, .249/.310/.395), the Philadelphia Philles (10 games, one-for-six), the Texas Rangers (31 games, 13-for-70) and the PIttsburgh Pirates (47 games, .250/.258/.386).
On December 11, 2008, Kata signed on with the Astros through free agency. He reported to the team in June, and spent two-and-a-half seasons with the club. He went 10-for-50 with five RBI, with one double and zero walks. On June 13, he hit a single and a double with an RBI, in a 6-4 win over the Diamondbacks.
814. Ross Powell was a six-foot left-handed pitcher from Grand Rapids, MI. In Born on January 24, 1968, he was a third-round choice of the Cincinnati Reds in 1989. Four years later, he got to the majors with the Reds, striking out 17 in 16 1⁄3 innings over nine contests.
On April 19, 1994, the Reds traded Powell with Marty Lister to the Astros for Ed Taubensee. Powell played 12 games in the majors for Houston between early-June and mid-August. He struck out five in 7 1⁄3 innings, and gave up one run on six hits and five walks. On August 7, he struck out a pair in a perfect seventh inning of a 6-2 win over the Colorado Rockies.
813. Tim Federowicz is a five-foot-10 right-handed catcher from Erie, PA. Born on August 5, 1987, he was a seventh-round choice of the Boston Red Sox in 2008 out of the University of North Carolina.
In eight major league seasons, Federowicz appeared in a total of 163 games, which is basically one major league season, but it took him from 2011 through 2019. He opened the 2018 campaign as part of Houston’s roster. Between May 31 and July 22, he played in 10 games for Houston, going seven-for-34 with three doubles, four runs scored, and two RBI. He drew one walk and struck out 13 times while providing credible defense in 82 innings behind the plate. He was granted free agency on July 30, and went on to play with the Cincinnati Reds and the Texas Rangers.
That’s Chapter 11. For those of you counting, that’s 162 down and 813 to go. Tomorrow we’re still in the third bracket, looking at players between negative 0.0056 and negative 0.048 bWAR per PA/BF.