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Everystros XLIII

In the 43rd part of Everystros, he look at another 10 Houston players.

C.J. Nitkowski
C.J. Nitkowski

Everystros XLIII

In today’s chapter, we’re still in the fourth bracket, Astros between 101 and 500 plate transactions with the team. Each player in this installment has between 0.0014 and 0.0016 bWAR per PA/BF with the team.

430. Brian Meyer is a six-foot-one right-handed pitcher from Camden, NJ. Born on January 29, 1963, he was Houston’s 16th-round pick in 1986 out of Rollins College. In his first appearance with the team at the major league level, on September 3, 1988, he pitched a perfect ninth inning in a 10-1 win against the St. Louis Cardinals. On September 28, he struck out two over two scoreless innings, keeping the Astros in the game in an eventual 4-3 loss to the Atlanta Braves.

Meyer stranded all three of the runners he inherited through his eight appearances to close out the 1988 season, and was used in lower leverage situations (0.35 aLI). Opponents slashed .225/.296/.375 against him, as he walked four and struck out 10 in 12 13 innings. He posted a 1.054 WHIP and a 1.46 ERA,

In 1989, Meyer joined Houston at their major league level on August 25 and remained with them through the end of the year. Used in a slightly higher 0.61 aLI than in the season prior, Meyer only stranded two of the six batters he inherited. On September 10, he struck out three in two scoreless innings in a 5-3 loss to the San Francisco Giants. On September 20, he struck out one and earned a save with a scoreless 14th inning, in a 7-6 win over the Atlanta Braves.

In his second look, Meyer went 0-1 with a 4.50 ERA in 18 innings, with 13 walks and 13 strikeouts, with a 1.611 WHIP. Opponents managed a .709 OPS on a .239/.366/.343 slashline.

The 1990 season would see Meyer join the Astros for a third time, again after the rosters expanded. Between September 1 and the end of the season, Meyer appeared in 14 of Houston’s 31 games, and stranded all four of his inherited runners in much higher leveraged games than that which he was previously accustomed (1.54 aLI).

In 20 13 innings, Meyer allowed four earned runs on three homers, and only allowed one earned run on a non-homer. He again was 1-1 on walks and strikeouts (six-to-six), and allowed 16 hits for a 1.082 WHIP. On September 24, he pitched two scoreless innings, keeping the Astros tied with the Los Angeles Dodgers in an eventual 7-5 Houston loss.

In his three seasons as an Astro, Meyer was 0-5 with a pair of saves and a 2.84 ERA. He was 0-for-1, striking out in his only plate appearance, and was perfect over 18 defensive plays. he split the 1991 season in the minors between the Calgary Cannons (Triple-A, SEA) and the Canton-Akron Indians (Double-A, CLE), but never again reached the majors.

429. Fernando Nieve is a six-foot right-handed pitcher from Puerto Cabello, VZ. Born on July 15, 1982, Nightly Nieve reached the bigs with Houston in 2006 for his first look at the majors. Of his 40 appearances, 11 were starts.

On May 12, Nieve struck out four in 5 13 innings, allowing one run and earning no-decision in an eventual 12-2 victory against the Colorado Rockies. On June 25, he earned a victory by collecting the final four outs in a 10-9, 13-inning win against the Chicago White Sox. On August 15, he pitched two hitless innings in an 8-6 loss to the Chicago Cubs.

Nieve went 3-3 with a 4.20 ERA, and gave up 46 runs (45 earned) on 87 hits and 41 walks, striking out 70. After not reaching the majors in 2007, he appeared in four games in May, but allowed 10 hits and six runs in three innings. After another three months in the minors, he finished the season with seven games in Houston in September. On September 14, he struck out three over 2 13 perfect innings, earning no decision in a 5-0 loss to the Cubs.

In 107 innings over his two major league seasons with Houston, Nieve struck out 82 batters and walked 43. He allowed 56 runs (55 earned) on 104 hits and 43 walks. As a hitter, he was two-for-17 with two walks and one RBI, and as a fielder he was perfect in 19 chances, with 11 putouts and eight assists. During Spring Training in 2009, the New York Mets claimed Nieve off waivers. Nieve spent two seasons with the Mets (5-7, 4.58, 78 23 IP, 61 K). He’s currently the pitching coach with the Greensboro Grasshoppers.

428. Iván Rodríguez is a five-foot-nine right-handed catcher from Manati, PR. Born on November 27, 1971, he began his major league career in 1991 with the Texas Rangers. You probably already know this, but he played the first 12 seasons of his major league career in Arlington (1479 games, .305/.342/.489, 215 home runs, 829 RBI). He later played for the Florida Marlins (144 games, .297/.369/.474, 16 home runs, 85 RBI), the Detroit Tigers (611 games, .298/.328/.449, 62 home runs, 300 RBI), and the New York Yankees (33 games, .219/.257/.323, two homers, three RBI).

On March 20, 2009, Pudge signed with the Astros, and played in 93 of Houston’s first 118 games of the season, collecting multiple hits 19 times. On May 10, he went fell a double short of a cycle, collecting four hits and two RBI in a 12-5 win against the San Diego Padres. On July 17, he had another four-hit game, including a home run with two RBI in an 8-1 win against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Even at this late stage of his career, Rodríguez threw out more than his share of runners, gunning down 32 percent (110 CS+). He posted a .994 fielding percentage in 748 innings behind the plate, and played his part in turning four double plays.

Rodríguez hit .251/.280/.382 in his time with Houston, with eight home runs and 34 RBI. On August 18, the Astros sent him to the Rangers for Matt Nevarez and Jose Vallejo. Rodríguez finished out the season with Texas (28 games, .245/.279/.388, two home runs, 13 RBI), then spent two seasons with the Washington Nationals (155 games, .255/.291/.341, six homers, 68 RBI). In 2017, in his first year of eligibility, he was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame with 76 percent of the BBWAA vote. SABR Bio

427. John Mayberry is a six-foot-three left-handed batting and throwing first baseman from Detroit, MI. Born on February 18, 1949, he was a first-round pick of Houston in 1967, with the sixth overall pick out of Northwestern High School. He got to the big leagues quickly, but went hitless in nine games over his first two looks, at the end of the 1968 and 1969 seasons, going 0-for-13.

In 1970, Mayberry appeared in 50 games, with four multiple hit games. On April 15, he hit a second-inning solo home run, an eighth-inning three-run game-tying home run, and scored the walkoff game-winner on a Jim Beauchamp single in a 7-6, 10-inning win over the San Francisco Giants. Overall, he hit .216/.318/.365, with five homers and 14 RBI, along with a .995 fielding percentage in 347 23 innings at first base.

In 1971, Mayberry fielded at .997 in 319 23 innings at first base, and slashed .182/.260/.350, seven homers, 14 RBI. On September 11, he hit a come-from-behind two-run homer in the second, then added a solo homer in the ninth in a 5-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds.

On December 2, 1971 the Astros traded Mayberry with minor leaguer David Grangaard to the Kansas City Royals for Lance Clemons and Jim York. Mayberry played six seasons with the Royals (897 games, .261/.374/.448, 143 home runs, 552 RBI, two All-Star Games), then played with the Toronto Blue Jays (549 games, .256/.352/.450, 92 home runs, 272 RBI) and the New York Yankees (69 games, .209/.313/.353, eight homers, 27 RBI). SABR Bio

426. Dave Bergman was a six-foot-one left-handed first baseman and corner outfielder from Evanston, IL. Born on June 6, 1953, he was a 12th-round choice of the Chicago Cubs in 1971 out of high school. After electing to pursue higher education instead, the New York Yankees took him in round two of the 1974 draft out of Illinois State University.

Bergman reached the majors with the Bombers in 1975, and appeared in 12 games between his debut and 1977, going one-for-21. Despite his inauspicious start, he was included in a deal to the Astros as a PTBNL on November 23, 1977.

In his first season with the Astros, Bergman appeared in 104 games, hitting .231/.361/.269. Between July 18 and August 5, he went 19-for-56 with five of his 10 multi-hit games of the season. On July 27, he came within a home run of the cycle, driving in one run in an 8-3 win against the New York Mets. The following year, he only got 15 plate appearances, all in September and mostly as a pinch hitter, going six-for-15 with a solo home run.

In 1980, Bergman hit .256/.341/.359 in 90 appearances, and only had one multiple-hit game, on April 22 he hit two singles in an 8-0 win against the Cincinnati Reds. On July 20, he entered in a 3-3 tie as a defensive replacement in the top of the ninth, then hit a walk-off sacrifice bunt when the Montreal Expos cooperated with a fielding error on the play for a 4-3 win.

On April 20, 1981, the Astros traded Bergman and Jeffrey Leonard to the San Francisco Giants for Mike Ivie. After three seasons with San Francisco (253 games, .271/.366/.416, 13 home runs, 51 RBI), he played nine years with the Detroit Tigers (871 games, .259/.346/.368, 39 home runs, 219 RBI). SABR Bio

425. Larry Milbourne is a six-foot switch-hitting infielder from Port Norris, NJ. Born on February 14, 1951, he began his professional baseball career with the Baltimore Orioles in 1969, and also made minor league stops with the San Francisco Giants, the California Angels, and the St. Louis Cardinals. On December 3, 1973, Houston drafted Milbourne via rule 5 from the Cards.

Milbourne appeared in 112 games for the 1974 Astros, gathering multiple hits eight times. On July 28, he entered a 2-2 tie as a pinch hitter with one out and one on in the ninth, and hit a single off Randy Moffitt to get Bob Watson to third, but neither could score. Lee May hit a walk-off in the bottom of the 10th when he drove in Roger Metzger with a single. Milbourne ended the year with an 84 OPS+ and a .279/.329/.309 slashline.

Milbourne hit .212/.245/.265 in 73 games in 1975, including six multi-hit games. On July 22, he hit two singles and a triple in a 2-1, 11-inning loss to the Montreal Expos. He stuck around for 59 more appearances in 1976, and slashed .248/.319/.276.

In all Milbourne’s time with the Astros he hit seven doubles, three triples and one home run with 25 RBI, and stole 13 bases in 18 attempts. In 1087 23 innings as a middle infielder, he made 23 errors for a .968 fielding percentage. On March 30, 1977, Houston traded Milbourne to the Seattle Mariners for Roy Thomas.

Milbourne played five years with Seattle (408 games, .251/.284/.321, six homers, 93 RBI), then played for the Yankees a second time (14 games, four-for-27), the Minnesota Twins (29 games, .235/.283/.265, one RBI), the Cleveland Indians (82 games, .275/.301/.361, two homers, 25 RBI), the Philadelphia Phillies (41 games, .242/.282/.273, four RBI), a third tour with the Yankees (31 games, .200/.263/.257, two RBI), and the Mariners for a second time (79 games, .265/.304/.313, one home, 22 RBI).

424. Glen Barker is a five-foot-10 switch-hitting centerfielder from Albany, NY. Born on May 10, 1971, he was an 11th-round pick of the Detroit Tigers in 1993 out of the College of Saint Rose.

Barker got to the majors with the Astros for the first time in 1999, appearing in 81 games and hitting .288/.384/.356. He was 21-for-73 with two doubles and a home run, drawing 11 walks, scoring 23 runs, and driving in 11. He also stole 17 bases in 23 attempts. As a defender, he made one error in 169 23 innings in center, none in 25 innings in right, and none in six innings of left. On August 21, he hit the only homer of the season in a 5-4 win over the Florida Marlins.

Barker appeared in 84 games for Houston the following season, going 15-for-67 with two doubles, a triple, and a pair of home runs. He walked seven times, scored 18 runs, and drove in six, also stealing nine bases in 15 attempts. On July 24, he scored the game-tying run as a pinch-runner in the ninth inning, then drove in the go-ahead run in the 10th to score Mitch Meluskey in a 7-5 win over the Cincinnati Reds.

Barker appeared in 70 games for Houston in 2001, going two-for-24 with one RBI and four stolen bases in 10 attempts. After the season, the Astros granted his free agency. He signed minor league deals with the Montreal Expos, the Boston Red Sox, the Atlanta Braves, and the Baltimore Orioles,

423. Paul Siebert is a six-foot-two left-handed pitcher from Minneapolis, MN. Born on June 5, 1953, he was a third-round pick of the Houston Astros in 1971 out of Edina High School. He reached the majors with Houston in 1974, taking five turns in the rotation over the last four weeks of the season. Without a doubt, his best was on September 15, when he pitched a shutout, with three strikeouts. He accomplished it despite walking five batters, along with two singles and two doubles in a 6-0 victory against the San Francisco Giants. He finished the year 1-1 with a 3.55 ERA.

In 1975, Siebert was a depth option in Triple-A for most of the season, showing his head on June 13 in an emergency start. He lasted four innings and gave up four runs, taking the loss against the St. Louis Cardinals. In September, he rejoined the parent club for their final 22 games of the season, making six more appearances. In a start on September 12, he pitched five shutout innings, allowing three hits and three walks while striking out one in an eventual 1-0 loss to the San Diego Padres. In 18 13 innings, he was 0-2 with two saves and a 2.95 ERA.

The bulk of Siebert’s time with the Astros at their parent-club level came in 1976, when he appeared in 19 of Houston’s 46 games between May 19 and July 7. Unlike in the two seasons just passed, Siebert appeared exclusively as a relief pitcher. He was a lower-leverage type (0.64 aLI), and allowed eight-of-15 inherited runners to cross the plate. Over the course of the season, he was 0-2 with a 3.16 ERA.

Siebert pitched in a total of 31 games for Houston over those three seasons, striking out 26 in 69 13 innings. He allowed 29 runs (25 earned) on 70 hits and 35 walks, a 1.514 WHIP. As a hitter, he was 0-for-11 with five strikeouts and two sacrifice hits. As a fielder he made one error in 22 chances for a .955 fielding percentage. Before Spring Training in 1977, Houston traded Siebert to the Padres for minor leaguer Mike Allen.

After his time with San Diego (0-0, 2.45, 3 23 IP, one K), Siebert went on to pitch in parts of two seasons with the New York Mets (2-3, 4.50, 56 IP, 32 K).

422. C.J. Nitkowski is a six-foot-two left-handed pitcher from Suffern, NY. Born on March 9, 1973, he was a first-round pick in 1994 by the Cincinnati Reds, ninth off the board out of St. John’s University. He reached the Reds proper in 1995 (1-3, 6.12, 32 13 IP, 18 K), then spent a year-and-a-half with the Detroit Tigers (3-7, 7.62, 85 IP, 49 K).

After the 1996 season, the Tigers traded Nitkowski with Brad Ausmus, Jose Lima, Trever Miller, and Daryle Ward to Houston for Doug Brocail, Brian Hunter, Todd Jones, and Orlando Miller. Nitkowski spent the entire 1997 season in the New Orleans Zephyrs starting rotation, making 28 starts (8-10, 3.98, 174 13 IP, 141 K).

Nitkowski started off the 1998 season on Houston’s Opening Day roster, and was the losing pitcher of record in that first game, a 9-4 13-inning loss to the San Francisco Giants. He would fare better in subsequent appearances. Nearly a dead-average leverage at aLI 0.99, Nitkowski allowed nine-of-35 inherited runners to score, a 74 percent strand-rate. He also racked up a positive WPA, with a seasonal mark of 0.724.

On April 9, Nitkowski earned his first save of the season, pitching three perfect innings and striking out as many in a 3-1 victory over the Giants. On April 18, he came in to pitch the eighth inning of a then-3-3 tie with the Montreal Expos, stranding the inherited runner at second despite allowing a single of his own in an eventual 4-3 walk-off victory. On May 24, he entered in the sixth inning with two runners on to protect a 3-2 lead, struck out Eddie Williams, then after a walk to load the bases, got Joey Hamilton to bunt out harmlessly. He also got the first two outs of the seventh without incident, in an eventual 5-2 win against the San Diego Padres.

Nitkowski ranked fourth on the 102-win Astros with 43 pitching appearances, going 3-3 with a 3.77 ERA. He allowed 27 runs (25 earned) on 23 walks and 49 hits, striking out 44 for a 3.99 FIP, a 1.207 WHIP, and a .228/.317/.340 opposing slashline in 59 23 innings. He went 0-for-four with three strikeouts at the plate, and fielded perfectly with one putout and 10 assists.

Prior to 1999 Spring Training, the Astros sent Nitkowski along with Brad Ausmus back to the Tigers for Mark Persails, Carlos Villalobos, Paul Bako, Dean Crow, and Brian Powell. Nitkowski went on to pitch for the Tigers again (8-17, 4.98, 236 23 IP, 185 K), the New York Mets (1-0, 0.00, 5 23 IP, four K), the Texas Rangers (0-1, 4.63, 23 13 IP, 19 K), the Atlanta Braves (1-0, 4.50, 20 IP, 16 K), the New York Yankees (1-1, 7.62, 13 IP, 10 K) and the Washington Nationals (0-0, 8.10, 3 13 IP, two K).

421. Pete Schourek is a six-foot-five left-handed pitcher from Austin, TX. Born on May 10, 1969, he was a second-round pick of the 1987 New York Mets out of George C. Marshall High School.

Schourek reached the bigs with the Mets in 1991 (16-24, 4.65, 350 23 IP, 199 K), later playing four seasons with the Cincinnati Reds (34-22, 4.27, 423 23 IP, 342 K). On January 9, 1998, the Astros signed Schourek through free agency.

Schourek started 15 games for Houston between May and July, going 7-6 with a pair of no-decisions. On June 5, he struck out eight and allowed only one run on two hits in seven innings, in a 3-0 tough luck loss to the Kansas City Royals. In his next start, five days later, he struck out four and gave up one run on four hits over seven innings in a 10-3 win against the Detroit Tigers.

In 80 innings of pitching for Houston, Schourek struck out 59 and walked 36. He allowed 43 runs (40 earned) on 82 hits, and finished with a 4.50 ERA and a 1.475 WHIP. On August 6, the Boston Red Sox purchased his contract.

After his time with Boston (1-3, 4.30, 44 IP, 36 K), Schourek joined the Pittsburgh Pirates (4-7, 5.34, 113 IP, 94 K). He rejoined Boston for two seasons starting in 2000 (4-15, 4.97, 137 23 IP, 83 K).

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