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Astros Crawfish Boil: December 13, 2023

A Wednesday Boil, and The Return of the Grievous Everystros.

Teoscar Hernández
| Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

Welcome to the middle of the week.

Sorry. Still no baseball, but TCB has you covered.

Houston Astros

$700 Million for Ohtani, Does That Change Things for the Astros? (Houston Press)

We asked AI to predict what the Houston Astros’ 2024 season could look like (& its reply might raise the hopes of fans) (Sportskeeda)

Astros star Alex Bregman and wife Reagan set date night ablaze in stylish black flames, igniting off-season cargo chic (Sportskeeda)

Could Ohtani contract deferrals set stage for Astros with Alex Bregman? (Fansided)

Here are the ways Astros not-so-quietly walking back Dusty Baker’s decisions (SportsMap)

Baseball’s funny money bubble gets bigger (Chipalatta)

AL West News

Angels — Meet Shohei Ohtani, whose popularity can only be exceeded by Toyota or Honda (Hindustan Times)

A’s — Athletics add Bobby Crosby, Dan Hubbs to 2024 coaching staff

Rangers — Texas Rangers lose Austin Hedges and Will Smith as they sign with new teams (BVM Sports)

Mariners — Does a massive potential trade with the Orioles make sense for the Mariners? (Sodo Mojo)

MLB News

Giants hope Korean superstar Lee is wind beneath their wings

What if Tom Brady chose baseball? Topps ad dreams it up

Rowdy Tellez reportedly agrees to deal with Pirates

Red Sox, Cooper Criswell Agree To Major League Contract (MLBTR)

Shohei Ohtani Is Getting Paid... Eventually (FanGraphs)

Houston Astros Birthdays

RHP Aneury Rodríguez (36)

RHP Luis García (27)

RHP Ron Taylor (86)

SS/3B Dale Berra (67)

Everystros XLV

410. Hank Conger is a switch-hitting right-handed catcher from Federal Way, WA. Born on January 29, 1988, he was a first-round pick of the Los Angeles Angels in 2006, out of Huntington Beach High School with the 25th overall pick off the board.

Conger got to the majors with the Angels in 2010, and played in parts of five seasons with them (251 games, .224/.294/.353, 17 home runs, 71 RBI). On November 5, 2014, the Angels sent Conger to Houston for Carlos Pérez and Nick Tropeano.

In nine of Conger’s 56 starts, he collected more than one hit. On April 12, he entered in the 12th inning as a defensive replacement at catcher, then in his first plate appearance hit a two-run shot for a 6-4 lead and eventual win over the Texas Rangers. On August 1, he hit a third-inning solo home run and a fourth-inning grand slam, adding an eighth-inning single in a 9-2 victory against the Arizona Diamondbacks. On September 4, he hit a single and a home run for another five RBI in an 8-0 victory over the Minnesota Twins.

Defensively, Conger caught 514 23 innings at catcher, and two in left field. As a catcher, he fielded at .992 and threw out one-of-43 basestealers, a CS+ of 2. At the plate, he hit .229/.311/.448 with 11 jacks and 33 RBI. He drew 23 walks against 63 strikeouts, and added 11 doubles over 73 overall appearances. On December 2, 2015, the Tampa Bay Rays purchased Conger’s contract. His season with the Rays (49 games, .194/.265/.306, three home runs, 10 RBI) would be his last in the big leagues.

409. Thomas Howard is a six-foot-two switch-hitting outfielder from Middletown, OH. Born on December 11, 1964, he was a first-round pick of the San Diego Padres out of Ball State University, with the 11th pick off the board.

Howard reached the majors with the Padres in 1990, and played in parts of three seasons with the club (131 games, .253/.305/.351, four homers, 22 RBI). He also played for the Cleveland Indians (191 games, .263/.298/.340, five home runs, 55 RBI) and the Cincinnati Reds (355 games, .280/.322/.423, 18 home runs, 105 RBI). On December 4, 1996, Howard signed with the Astros.

Howard started in 54 of his 107 games for Houston, and collected multiple hits in 12 of them. On April 4, Howard hit a game-tying pinch-RBI-double to make the score 2-2 against the St. Louis Cardinals. Houston eventually won in 11 innings on a Jeff Bagwell walk-off RBI-single. On July 23, he collected three RBI with a single, a triple, and a home run in a 7-2 win against the Cardinals.

Howard hit .247/.323/.353 with 16 doubles, a triple and three homers for the 1997 Astros. He drew 26 walks, scored 24 runs, and drove in 22. He stole one base in three attempts and struck out 48 times. As a defender, he was perfect at all three outfield positions, with 295 23 innings in centerfield, 108 23 innings in right field, and 68 innings in left.

Howard left via free agency after the season, and later played with the Los Angeles Dodgers (47 games, .184/.215/.316, two home runs, four RBI) and the Cardinals (184 games, .259/.315/.418, 12 home runs, 56 RBI).

408. Teoscar Hernández is a six-foot-two right-handed outfielder from Cotui, DR. Born on October 15, 1992, Hernández made his major league debut in 2016 with Houston. In his first game ever, he drew a walk and scored in the third, hit a solo home run in the sixth, then added a single in the eighth for good measure in a 5-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. On August 19, he hit two singles and a homer with three RBI in a 15-8 win against the Baltimore Orioles.

Hernández hit .230/.304/.420, with seven doubles and four home runs. He drew 11 walks and scored 15 runs, driving in another 11. He struck out 28 times, and was caught stealing twice without a success. As a defender, he played 125 13 innings in left (19 chances, no errors), 85 23 innings in center (19 chances, one error), and 45 innings in right (11 chances, one error).

In 2017, the Astros traded Hernández with Nori Aoki to Toronto for Francisco Liriano. Hernández spent six years with the Jays (609 games, .263/.320/.503, 129 home runs, 369 RBI, 2020 Silver Slugger, 2020 and 2021 All-Star) and the 2023 season with the Seattle Mariners (160 games, .258/.305/.435, 26 home runs, 93 RBI). If Houston is indeed in the market for another outfielder through free agency, Hernández would be a great fit.

407. Gary Kroll is a six-foot-six right-handed pitcher from Culver City, CA. Born on July 8, 1941, he made his first appearance in the majors with the 1964 Philadelphia Phillies (0-0, 3.00, three IP, two K), also pitching for the New York Mets (6-7, 4.39, 108 23 IP, 86 K). On January 6, 1966, the Mets sent Kroll to the Astros for John Weekly.

Kroll pitched in a total of 10 games for Houston, as a long reliever for low-leverage (aLI 0.32). Low leverage generally means that a game is pretty much out of reach for the team with fewer runs. In all 10 of Kroll’s games, that team was Houston. Resultantly, the Astros were 0-10 in games that Kroll pitched in. The only time Kroll pitched with an aLI above 0.57 was on June 4, when he came in with a leverage of 1.55. With Houston leading, 6-4, Kroll got the final out of the third, pitched a scoreless fourth, and got the first out of the fifth before surrending a run to Bill Mazeroski. Kroll earned no decision in the game, but allowed five hits in only 1 23 innings while striking out three.

Kroll struck out 22 against 11 walks in 23 23 innings. He gave up 10 runs, all earned, on 26 hits for a 3.80 ERA and a 1.563 WHIP. In mid-1967, the Astros sold Kroll to the Cleveland Indians (0-0, 4.13, 24 IP, 28 K).

406. Mike Magnante is a six-foot-one left-handed pitcher from Glendale, CA. Born on July 17, 1965, he was an 11th-round choice of the Kansas City Royals in 1988 out of the University of California, at Los Angeles (more popularly known as UCLA). He reached the majors with them in 1991, and played in parts of six seasons for them (10-18, 4.40, 325 13 IP, 170 K).

Finding himself out of a job when released by the Royals following the 1996 campaign, Magnante soon came to terms with the Astros. On June 6, he inherited a pair of runners in scoring position and one out while leading the San Diego Padres, 8-7, and stranded them both in an eventual win by the same score. On July 14, he again came into a game with two on and one out, in the seventh inning of a 7-7 tie with the Chicago Cubs, and stranded both of them, also working a perfect eighth in a 9-7 win. On July 23, he pitched 3 23 perfect relief innings with a pair of strikeouts in a 7-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals.

Magnante appeared in 40 games for the 1997 Astros, going 3-1 with career-bests of a 1.049 WHIP and a 2.27 ERA. He struck out 43 in 47 23 innings, walking only 11 batters.

In 1998, Magnante appeared in 48 games, but fared poorly in his simple metrics. He was 4-7 with a 4.88 ERA and a 1.587 WHIP, with 39 strikeouts in 51 23 innings. Although he followed his best season with a considerably less-than-elite campaign, Magnante did collect two hits in as many plate appearances, adding his only career RBI. Houston granted his free agency following the season.

Magnante went on to play for the Anaheim Angels (5-2, 3.38, 69 13 IP, 44 K) and the Oakland Athletics (4-4, 4.00, 123 23 IP, 51 K).

405. Mike White is a five-foot-eight right-handed utility player from Detroit, MI. Born on December 18, 1938, White reached the majors with the 1963 Houston Colt .45s. He went two-for-seven in three games near the end of the year.

It really wasn’t very much to go on, if at the time you were a Colts fan, but Houston plugged White in wherever he was needed in 1964. He had 18 multi-hit games out of his 70 starts through the season, at second base (57 innings, .982), third base (23 innings, .875), and all three outfield positions (540 23 innings, .978).

On April 25, White hit a ninth-inning pinch-two-run-triple, turning a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 lead, in an eventual 4-2 win against the St. Louis Cardinals. On May 23, he hit a two-run single to open the scoring in the first, an RBI-single in the third, a game-tying RBI-single in the seventh, accounting for half of Houston’s offense in an 8-4 win against the New York Mets.

White’s .271 average ranked second on the team of all players with more than 25 plate appearances, to only Bob Aspromonte’s .280. White slashed .271/.319/.332 with no home runs but 27 RBI. He stole one base in two chances and drew 20 walks against 47 strikeouts.

White appeared in another eight games for the Houston franchise, by then the Astros, in 1965, but went 0-for-9 with a walk. It would be his final time in the major leagues.

404. Paul Bako is a six-foot-two righty-throwing and lefty-hitting catcher from Lafayette, LA. Born on June 20, 1972, he was a sixth-round choice of the Cleveland Indians in 1990 out of high school. Bako turned down a contract, instead pursuing higher education at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. In 1993, the Cincinnati Reds took him in the fifth round.

Bako had a lot of places he called home during his eventual 12-season major league career, 16 seasons when you plug in his minor league time. By the time he reached the majors in 1998, he did it with the Detroit Tigers (96 games, .272/.319/.348, three home runs, 30 RBI). On January 14, 1999, the Tigers sent Bako with Mark Persails, Carlos Villalobos, Dean Crow and Brian Powell to the Astros for Brad Ausmus and C.J. Nitkowski.

On April 30, in Bako’s second game for Houston, he hit three singles with a pair of RBI in an 8-1 win against the Florida Marlins. On June 12, Bako walked in the second, walked and stole a base in the fifth, hit a lead-taking solo home run in the seventh in a 3-2 victory over the San Diego Padres. On 13 occasions through the season, Bako had more than one hit. On July 29, he hit three singles and a double, scoring twice in a 4-2 loss to the Colorado Rockies.

Bako hit .256/.332/.358 with two home runs and 17 RBI with the Astros, drawing 26 walks versus 57 strikeouts. After going 0-for-2 in his first game of the 2000 season, the Marlins purchased Bako from Houston. After his time with Florida (56 games, .242/.335/.292, 14 RBI), he played with the Atlanta Braves (85 games, .205/.295/.349, four homers, 21 RBI), the Milwaukee Brewers (87 games, .235/.295/.329, four home runs, 20 RBI), the Chicago Cubs (119 games, .218/.302/.310, one home run, 27 RBI), the Los Angeles Dodgers (13 games, .250/.362/.300, four RBI), the Kansas City Royals (56 games, .209/.261/.229, 10 RBI), Baltimore Orioles (60 games, .205/.277/.256, one home run, eight RBI), the Cincinnati Reds (99 games, .217/.299/.328, six home runs, 35 RBI), and the Philadelphia Phillies (44 games, .224/.308/.336, three home runs, nine RBI).

403. Johnny Temple was a five-foot-11 right-handed second baseman from White Rock, SC. Born on August 8, 1927, he got to the major leagues for the first time with the 1952 Cincinnati Reds, and eventually appeared in three All-Star Games with them over nine seasons (984 games, .291/.372/.361, 15 home runs, 300 RBI). He later went on to play for the Cleveland Indians (227 games, .273/.341/.337, five home runs, 49 RBI) and the Baltimore Orioles (78 games, .263/.352/.311, one home run, 17 RBI).

On August 11, 1962, the inaugural version of the Houston Colt .45s purchased Temple’s contract from the O’s. In 31 games for Houston, he collected more than one hit in seven, including September 6. Playing the Pittsburgh Pirates, Temple singled in the first, walked in the fourth, singled in the sixth, and doubled to lead off the ninth, eventually coming around to score the first of three runs in a come-from-behind walk-off 4-3 victory.

Temple closed out the campaign with a .263/.311/.305 batting line, with a dozen RBI. In the field, he made six errors in 189 23 innings at second base for a .941 fielding percentage (an FP+ of 44).

In 1963, Temple played in 100 games for the Colts. On July 1, he doubled and stole a base in the second, walked in the seventh, and hit a two-run come-from-behind single to take a 3-2 eighth-inning lead over the St. Louis Cardinals. After the Cardinals tied it in the ninth, Temple sacrifice bunted the eventual winning runner in the 11th, in a 4-3 victory. The very next day, he singled and scored to tie the Reds in the first, hit a run-scoring grounder in the fifth to take a 3-2 lead, then walked twice more and stole a base for good measure in a 6-4 win over Cincinnati.

Temple hit .264/.347/.317 with one home run and 17 RBI in his final season with Houston. The Colts released him after the season. He would come back to appear in six games for the Reds in 1964, going 0-for-3 in his final look at the bigs.

402. Leon Roberts is a six-foot-three right-handed outfielder from Vicksburg, MI. Born on January 22, 1951, he was a 10th-round choice of the Detroit Tigers in 1972 out of the University of Michigan. He played in two seasons with the Big Cats after debuting in 1974 (146 games, .259/.314/.384, 10 home runs, 45 RBI). On December 6, 1975, the Tigers traded Roberts wtih Mark Lemongello, Gene Pentz, and Terry Humphrey to Houston for Jim Crawford, Dave Roberts, and Milt May.

Roberts enjoyed his best season to date in his first year playing for the Astros, 1976. In 87 games he slashed .289/.347/.443, landing just 10 points shy of the vaunted .800 OPS. On April 28, in a 6-4 win against the Montreal Expos, Roberts hit a three-run jack in the first inning to account for half of Houston’s offense. On May 20, Roberts hit an RBI-single in the first, hit another single and scored in the third, then singled in the fifth in an eventual 5-4 victory over the San Diego Padres. On July 24, Roberts hit a pinch-double and scored in the seventh to trim a three run deficit to two, hit a game-tying RBI-single in the 10th in an eventual 5-4, 13-inning triumph against the San Francisco Giants. On September 19, Roberts singled in the fifth, then hit an RBI-lead-taking double in the seventh, in an eventual 3-2 win against the Padres.

Roberts finished the season with 11 doubles, two triples, and seven home runs with 33 RBI. He followed in a 1977 season mostly stuck in Triple-A. When he did get his chance to continue in the majors, he went just two-for-27 in 19 contests. On December 5, 1977, the Astros traded Roberts to the Seattle Mariners for Jimmy Sexton.

Roberts played three seasons with the M’s (393 games, .276/.349/.458, 47 home runs, 179 RBI), later playing for the Texas Rangers (103 games, .268/.329/.395, five home runs, 37 RBI), the Toronto Blue Jays (40 games, .229/.274/.295, one home run, five RBI), and the Kansas City Royals (112 games, .252/.311/.384, eight homers, 27 RBI).

401. Geoff Geary is a six-foot right-handed pitcher from Buffalo, NY. Born on August 26, 1976, he was a 41st-round selection of the Milwaukee Brewers in 1997, then a 15th-round choice of the Philadelphia Phillies in 1998, both out of the University of Oklahoma.

Geary reached the majors with the Phils in 2003, and played in parts of five seasons for them at baseball’s top level (13-4, 3.94, 267 13 IP, 173 K). On November 7, 2007, the Phillies traded Geary with Michael Bourn and Mike Constanzo to Houston for Brad Lidge and Eric Bruntlett.

Geary played the bulk of his time with the Astros in 2008, totaling 64 innings in 55 games. He earned his highest WPA (.412) on July 6, coming in to pitch in the bottom of the 10th in a 6-6 tie with the Atlanta Braves. Geary struck out two batters and only gave up one hit over three scoreless frames, but Houston eventually lost 7-6 in 17 innings. On July 18, he pitched a flawless final two innings for a victory, including two strikeouts in a 2-1 victory against the Chicago Cubs. He was a mid-leverage reliever (aLI 1.06) who was adept at erasing inherited runners (17-of-20).

Geary pitched to a 2-3 record with a 2.53 ERA for Houston that season, striking out 45. He gave up a total of 18 runs, all earned, on 45 hits and 28 walks for a nice little 1.141 WHIP.

In 2009, Geary pitched 20 innings in 16 appearances, but registered an even 2.000 WHIP on 30 hits and 10 walks. He struck out 12 and was 1-3 with an 8.10 ERA. That was his last time in the major leagues.


In tomorrow’s Everystros, we continue through the fourth bracket, of players between 101 and 500 plate transactions while with Houston. Each player in tomorrow’s article fall between 0.0022 and 0.0025 bWAR per PA/BF while part of the team.

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