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Astros Crawfish Boil: December 10, 2023

Welcome to the Shohei era of Dodgers baseball, and Everystros XLIV

Max Stassi talking to Corbin Martin
| Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Welcome to the Monday Boil, and Chapter 44 of Everystros.

It was bound to happen. It seems like a foregone conclusion at this point, but nobody’s surprised that Shohei Ohtani didn’t even have to change his area code for the biggest raise in ever. Let’s see how that works out for them.

Houston Astros

Looking ahead at competition for Astros bullpen

Predicting where each of the remaining Astros free agents are going to sign (CTH)

Bobby Heck is Scout of the Year and will Jake Meyers man centerfield for Astros in 2024? (YouTube)

The Astros appreciated Martín Maldonado. You should, too. (Chron)

AL West News

Oakland AthleticsOakland Welcomes a New Baseball Team to Compensate for Oakland A’s Departure (Post News Group)

Seattle MarinersDrayer: What Seattle Mariners’ options are in post-Ohtani offseason (Seattle Sports)

Texas RangersWhy Clayton Kershaw signing with Texas Rangers makes more sense now than ever before (KAGS TV)

Los Angeles Angels — Angels Have ‘Engaged in Discussions’ With Several Starting Pitching Options (YardBarker)

MLB News

Yankees, Yamamoto to meet in LA this week

Focus turns to Bellinger with Ohtani off the board

Why Hader’s market could heat up quickl

Ohtani signing captivates sports world on social media

Houston Astros Birthdays

OF Derek Bell (55)

OF Thomas Howard (59)

RHP Mike Henneman (62)

2B Rob Andrews (71)

OF Lee Maye (1934-2002)

RHP Hal Brown (1924-2015)

Everystros XLIV

420. Dean Stone was a six-foot-four left-handed pitcher from Moline, IL. Born on September 1, 1930, he reached the majors for the first time with the Washington Senators in 1953. He eventually pitched in parts of five seasons with Washington (23-31, 4.48, 502 23 IP, 265 K), then played with the Boston Red Sox (1-3, 5.08, 51 13 IP, 32 K) and the St. Louis Cardinals (0-1, 4.20, 30 IP, 17 K). After the 1961 season was in the books, the Houston Colt .45s chose Stone in the rule 5 draft.

Stone had a heck of a debut for the Colts, starting in their third ever game and keeping the Cubs to no runs on three hits and two walks, striking out nine in a 2-0 win. In his second game, he again faced the Cubs and again shut them out, on five hits and one walk with three strikeouts in a 6-0 win on April 19.

A shutout in every start seems to be unsustainable, and that proved true for Stone. He only had one other game in which he totaled a better-than-0.100 WPA, on May 5, when he held the Braves to four runs on eight hits over 7 13 innings in a 6-5 loss to Milwaukee. On June 25, the Colts sent Stone to the Chicago White Sox for Russ Kemmerer.

Stone finished out the season with Chicago (1-0, 3.26, 30 13 IP, 23 K), then joined the Baltimore Orioles (1-2, 5.12, 19 13 IP, 12 K) for the 1963 season. In his post-baseball career, he owned a landscaping company in Illinois. He passed away in 2018. SABR Bio

419. Max Stassi is a five-foot-10 catcher from Woodland, CA. Born on March 15, 1991, he was taken in the fourth round by the 2009 Oakland Athletics. Prior to Spring Training in 2013, the A’s traded Stassi with Chris Carter and Brad Peacock to Houston for Jed Lowrie and Fernando Rodriguez Jr.

Stassi appeared in each season between 2013 and 2017 for Houston, appearing in a total of 44 games. He was 20-for-79 with three home runs and 11 RBI. In his debut, on August 20, 2013, he hit a pair of singles in a 4-2 loss to the Texas Rangers. On August 15, 2017, Stassi hit an RBI-double and scored in the second, drew a walk in the seventh, and hit a home run in the ninth, in a 9-4 win against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

In 2018, Stassi appeared in 88 games for Houston, and hit .226/.316/.394 with eight home runs and 27 RBI. On April 8, Stassi hit a three run homer in a 4-1 win against the San Diego Padres. He had 11 multiple-hit games, including a three-hit effort on June 7, when he hit two singles and a double with two RBI in a 12-6 win against the Chicago White Sox.

In 2019, Stassi was 15-for-90 in 31 games for Houston, with one home run and three RBI. In 806 13 innings behind the plate over his two seasons, Stassi had four errors for a .995 fielding percentage. He threw out 14-of-63 runners over that time, a 22 percent CS-rate, or an 81 CS+ if you like.

At the 2019 trade deadline, the Astros sent Stassi to the Los Angeles Angels for minor leaguers Rainier Rivasad and Raider Uceta. Stassi has since appeared in parts of four seasons for the Angels (240 games, .209/.294/.364, 29 home runs, 87 RBI). He’s currently part of the White Sox organization.

418. Kevin Chapman is a six-foot-three left-handed pitcher from Coral Springs, FL. Born on February 19, 1988, he was a 42nd-round pick of the Detroit Tigers in 2006 out of high school, then a 50th-round pick of the Chicago White Sox out of the University of Florida in 2009. Instead of signing, he bet on himself and finished his degree, and it paid off with much-increased draft stock, resulting in a fourth-round selection by the 2010 Kansas City Royals.

Chapman got to the majors in 2013 with the final version of the Lastros before they leveled up. On August 14, he pitched 1 23 perfect innings despite only facing four batters, erasing an inherited runner on his first pitch, a line-out double play from Brandon Barnes to Matt Dominguez. He then retired all three A’s he faced in a perfect ninth, in an eventual 2-1, 11-inning win against Oakland.

Chapman pitched with a 1.55 aLI over 20 13 innings, and stranded 16-of-19 inherited runners. On August 29, he struck out three over 2 13 scoreless innings in a 3-2 loss to the Seattle Mariners. Chapman was 1-1 with a 1.77 ERA and a 1.279 WHIP in his first look at the bigs.

In 2014, Chapman was again trusted in bigger situations, pitching to a 1.27 aLI and again stranding the great majority of his inherited runners (only two-of-16 scored). On August 23 he pitched two perfect innings and collected a pair of strikeouts in a 3-2 loss to the Cleveland Indians. Overall he was 2-0 with a 4.64 ERA and a 1.547 WHIP. He struck out 19 batters in 21 13 innings, and walked 11.

Chapman returned for a bit part in the 2015 and 2016 seasons, eventually totaling 58 major league appearances and 55 innings pitched. He struck out 48 in total, walking 31 and pitching to a 4.09 ERA and a 1.545 WHIP. Defensively, he was perfect in 11 chances, with four putouts and seven assists. On March 13, 2017, the Atlanta Braves claimed Chapman off waivers, but Chapman never regained a path to the major leagues.

417. Rocky Childress is a six-foot-two right-handed pitcher from Santa Rosa, CA. Born on February 18, 1962, he was a 21st-round pick of the 1980 Philadelphia Phillies out of Santa Rosa High School.

Childress debuted with the Phils in 1985, and pitched in parts of two seasons for them (0-1, 6.25, 36 IP, 15 K). On November 16, 1986, the Astros purchased his contract from Philadelphia.

In Childress’ first appearance with Houston, he pitched two perfect innings and struck out a pair in a 4-1 win against the San Diego Padres. On September 19, he pitched 1 23 scoreless innings to keep Houston in it, but the Padres were triumphant, 2-1 in 14 innings.

Childress appeared in 32 games for Houston that year, going 1-2 with a 2.98 ERA. He struck out 26 against 18 walks in 48 13 innings. He finished the season with a career-best 1.324 WHIP. He was 0-for-2 at the plate and took eight fielding chances without an error.

In 1988, Childress pitched another 23 13 innings for Houston, with a 1-0 record and a 6.17 ERA and a 1.500 WHIP in 1988. He was at his absolute best on October 1, when he struck out eight in 4 13 hitless innings of relief, walking two batters in a 6-3 loss to the Padres. At the plate, he was one-for-four with an RBI, and in the field, he made one error in two chances.

416. Roger Cedeño is a six-foot-one switch-hitting outfielder from Valencia, VZ. Born on August 16, 1974, he got his first major league experience in 1995 with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

After four years with LA (311 games, .252/.331/.344, seven home runs, 55 RBI), Cedeño played in 1999 for the New York Mets (155 games, .313/.396/.408, four home runs, 36 RBI, 66 stolen bases).

On December 23, 1999, the Mets sent Cedeño, Octavio Dotel, and minor leaguer Kyle Kessel to Houston for Derek Bell and Mike Hampton. Cedeño collected 19 multiple-hit games in 74 games for Houston, playing most of the first two months and most of the final six weeks of the season with the Astros. On April 22, he drew a walk, stole a base and scored in the first, had a double and a steal in the third, hit a two-run game-tying single and stole a base in the sixth, then walked and stole a base in the eighth, but Houston lost to the San Diego Padres, 8-6 in 10 innings. On May 12, he hit five singles and drove two runs in, stealing another three bases in a 7-3, 11-inning loss to the Cincinnati Reds.

Cedeño hit .282/.383/.398 for Houston, with two doubles, five triples, and six home runs. He drew 43 walks (against 47 strikeouts), scored 54 runs, and drove in 26, going 73-for-259 overall. He stole 25 bases in 36 attempts, and made three errors in the outfield for a .978 fielding percentage in 545 innings.

On December 11, 2000, Houston traded Cedeño with Chris Holt and Mitch Melusky to the Detroit TIgers for Brad Ausmus, Doug Brocail and Nelson Cruz. After his time with the Tigers (131 games, .293/.337/.396, six homers, 48 RBI, 55 stolen bases), Cedeño spent a second tour with the Mets (297 games, .263/.319/.362, 14 home runs, 78 RBI, 39 stolen bases) then joined the St. Louis Cardinals (132 games, .241/.299/.331, three home runs, 31 RBI).

415. Gary Woods was a six-foot-two right-handed outfielder from Santa Barbara, CA. Born on July 20, 1953, he was a 27th-round pick by the Minnesota Twins in 1973 out of Santa Barbara City College.

Woods eventually made the majors as a part of the Oakland Athletics in 1976, going one-for-eight in six appearances. He then played parts of two seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays (68 games, .211/.242/.260, 17 RBI). On December 4, 1978, the Jays sent him to the Astros for minor-leaguer Don Pisker.

When Woods reached the majors with Houston in September, 1980, he had Astros-faithful thinking about where to play him for the next 10 years. He appeared in 19 of Houston’s final 32 games, and hit .377/.400/.585 with two home runs and 15 RBI. He collected a hit in all but two of his 13 starts, including four multiple-hit games. He also stole a pair of bases without getting thrown out.

On September 5, Woods hit three singles and scored a run, driving in another two in a 7-5 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. On September 10, he hit a pinch-RBI-game-tying-single in the bottom of the 11th in an eventual 6-5 12-inning win against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Woods had a much larger sample size with the team in 1981, appearing in 32 games between the start of the season and June 10, and then in 22 more from August 10 through the end of the season. During that first stretch, he may have burned some of the goodwill gained from his tremendous debut by going 11-for-65 with three RBI. After spending two months in the minors, he joined the Astros once more and hit .267 the rest of the way. On August 29, he hit three singles with an RBI in a 6-1 win over the Philadelphia Philllies.

On December 9, 1981, the Astros sent Woods to the Chicago Cubs for Jim Tracy. Woods played four seasons for the South Siders (378 games, .252/.323/.363, 11 home runs, 66 RBI), comprising the lion’s share of his major league service time. Later on, he was a youth-level coach and an area scout for the Chicago White Sox. He passed away on February 19, 2015.

414. Bob Scanlan is a six-foot-seven right-handed pitcher from Los Angeles, CA. Born on August 9, 1966, he was a 25th-round choice of the Philadelphia Phillies in 1984 out of Harvard High School.

Scanlan was a part of the Chicago Cubs organization when he reached the major leagues in 1991, and played in parts of three seasons with the club (14-19, 3.75, 273 23 IP, 130 K), then played with the Milwaukee Brewers (6-13, 5.22, 186 13 IP, 94 K), the Detroit Tigers (0-0, 10.64, 11 IP, three K), and the Kansas City Royals (0-1, 3.18, 11 13 IP, three K).

During the offseason following 1997, the Astros signed Scanlan through free agency. He played in 27 games all in relief while with the team. Used in lower leverage situations (0.52 aLI), Scanlan allowed four-of-nine inherited runners to cross the plate. On April 12, he pitched a scoreless inning, allowing one hit in pitching the eighth inning of a 7-6 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. On April 28, he struck out a pair in a perfect eighth in a 4-3 win against the New York Mets.

Scanlan went 0-1 with a 3.08 ERA for Houston, with 13 walks and nine strikeouts in 26 13 innings. He allowed 12 runs, nine earned, on 24 hits, including four home runs. His 6.03 FIP, paired with a 1.405 WHIP was less-than-elite, although he did finish with a 136 ERA+.

Scanlan later got back to the bigs with the Milwaukee Brewers (0-0, 27.00, 1 23 IP, one K) and the Montreal Expos (0-0, 7.86, 26 13 IP, five K).

413. Bobby Abreu is a six-foot righty-throwing and lefty-batting rightfielder from Maracay, VZ. Born on March 11, 1974, he reached the major leagues for the first time with the 1996 Astros, going five-for-22 with a double and one RBI in 15 games. All five hits came during a four-game hitting streak between September 24 and September 28, when Abreu boosted his average from .000 to .238 by going five-for-11. On September 28, he hit a double in the second and a game-tying RBI in the sixth, then walked and scored in the eighth in a 5-1 win against the Florida Marlins.

In 1997, Abreu appeared in 59 games for Houston, and hit .250/.329/.372 with 10 doubles, two triples, and three home runs. He drew 21 walks versus 48 strikeouts, scoring 22 runs and driving in 26. He stole seven bases in nine atttempts, while playing 428 innings in the outfield, mostly in right and totaling two errors for a .978 fielding percentage. On April 28, Abreu hit a double and two home runs for four RBI, but Houston still lost to the Colorado Rockies, 7-6 in 10 innings. In the postseason, Abreu went one-for-three with a stolen base in Houston’s NLDS loss to the Atlanta Braves.

After the 1997 season, Houston failed to protect Abreu in the expansion draft, and lost him to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. They immediately flipped him to the Philadelphia Phillies for Kevin Stocker. You have to think both Houston and Tampa Bay are kicking themselves in hindsight.

Abreu played nine seasons for the Phils (.303/.416/.513, 195 home runs, 814 RBI, two All-Star Games, one Silver Slugger, one Gold Glove, MLB-leading 11 triples in 1999, NL-leading 50 doubles in 2002), later playing with the New York Yankees (372 games, .295/.378/.465, 43 home runs, 243 RBI), the Los Angeles Angels (456 games, .267/.364/. 412, 43 home runs, 246 RBI), the Los Angeles Dodgers (92 games, .246/.361/.344, three home runs, 19 RBI) and the New York Mets (78 games, .248/.342/.338, one home run, 14 RBI).

412. Pat Neshek is a six-foot-three right-handed throwing switch-hitting pitcher from Madison, WI. Born on September 4, 1980, he was taken in the 45th round of the 1999 draft by the Minnesota Twins out of high school. After instead attending Butler University, the Twins spent a sixth-round choice on Neshek in 2002.

Neshek reached the Twins proper in 2006, and eventually pitched in parts of four seasons with Minnesota (11-6, 3.05, 129 23 IP, 151 K). He later also played for the San Diego Padres (1-1, 4.01, 24 23 IP, 20 K), the Oakland Athletics (4-2, 2.70, 60 IP, 45 K) and the St. Louis Cardinals (7-2, 1.87, 67 13 IP, 68 K, 2014 All-Star). After the 2014 season the Astros signed Neshek to a deal for two years and $12.5 million.

In 2015, Neshek ranked second on the Astros with 66 pitching appearances, with an aLI of 1.31. Of 27 baserunners inherited, Neshek stranded 23 of them. On April 27, he earned his first win of the season when he stranded two runners in 23 of an inning in a 9-4 victory against the Padres. On June 24, he struck out three over 1 13 perfect innings in a 2-1 loss to the Los Angeles Angels.

Neshek struck out 51 in 54 23 innings for Houston in his first season, walking only 12. He was 3-6 with a 3.62 ERA a 1.116 WHIP, and a 3.94 FIP. He made one error in eight defensive chances, and pitched one inning in the postseason in Houston’s ALDS loss to the Kansas City Royals, giving up two hits for no runs and striking out a pair.

In 2015, Neshek pitched with a 1.08 aLI and stranded 20-of-31 inherited baserunners. By WPA, Neshek added 1.334, especially impressive when you consider he never topped 0.196 throughout his 60 appearances. On May 17, he earned a victory with a perfect 10th inning in relief, striking one batter out in a 6-5, 11-inning win against the Chicago White Sox.

Although Neshek didn’t reach the IP threshold to qualify for team-leader in WHIP, he did finish second when it’s lowered to his 47 innings, at 0.936. He allowed 17 runs, all but one earned, on 33 hits and 11 walks, with 43 strikeouts. He made one error in nine fielding chances. After the season, the Astros traded Neshek to the Philadelphia Phillies.

Neshek made the All-Star team after a solid first half for the Phillies (3-2, 1.12, 40 13, 45. K), pitching the second half of the season with the Colorado Rockies (2-1, 2.45, 22 IP, 24 K). He rejoined the Phillies in 2018 and 2019 (3-3, 3.61, 42 13 IP, 24 K).

411. Chuck Jackson is a six-foot right-handed utility fielder from Seattle, WA. Born on March 19, 1963, he was a 21st-round choice of the Cleveland Indians in 1981 out of high school. After instead pursuing higher education at the University of Hawaii, the 1984 Astros took him in the seventh round.

Jackson reached the bigs with Houston in 1987, appearing in 30 of their 44 games between May 26 and July 12. On June 5, he hit a single and a double with an RBI in a 6-1 win against the San Francisco Giants. He also appeared with them later in the season, going 0-for-1 with a sacrifice hit and a walk in five games.

Jackson went 15-for-71 in his 35 games through his first look, with three doubles and a home run. He drew seven walks, scored three runs, and drove in six, striking out 19 times and going one-for-two in stolen bases. Defensively, he played 122 13 innings at third base (.957), as well as 47 23 innings in center field, three innings at shortstop, and one frame in left field, all without an error.

Jackson hit .229/.286/.349 in 46 games for Houston in 1988, with five doubles, a triple, and a homer, going 19-for-83. He drew seven walks, scored seven runs, and drove in eight, striking out 16 times and again going one-for-two in stolen bases. Defensively, Jackson played all but 7 23 innings at third base, making six errors for a .908 fielding percentage. On May 22, Jackson drew an intentional walk in the first and added a go-ahead RBI-double in the ninth inning, the eventual game-winner in a 2-1 win against the St. Louis Cardinals.

After starting the 1989 season in the minors, Jackson went on a six-year odyssey to get back to the majors, with stops for the Kansas City Royals, the San Francisco Giants, the Seattle Mariners, the Florida Marlins, and the Texas Rangers. His much awaited return resulted in an 0-for-2 performance in a single game, a 7-6, 13-inning Rangers loss to the Mariners.

That’s a wrap on part 44. Tomorrow we’ll be looking at players between 0.0017 and 0.0022 bWAR per BF/PA in their time with the Astros, out of all players between 101 and 500 plate transactions.

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