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Astros Crawfish Boil: December 14, 2023

It’s finally here! The Thursday Boil!

Derek Fisher, 2019
| Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images

Welcome back to the Boil.

Someday you’ll be able to tell your grandkids that you were “there” that one day when TCB published a daily boil.

Houston Astros News

Astros Spending, Spring Training, and What s Next (KCEN TV)

We asked AI to predict which free agents the Houston Astros will sign this offseason (& it cooked up some great moves (Sportskeeda with a great idea for once)

More Details Emerge About Houston Astros Self Imposed Budget (SI)

Astros Hot Stove: 3 players the AL West champs need to target in coming weeks having had a relatively quiet offseason (Sportskeeda)

Astros’ best offensive seasons from catchers

Houston Astros’ Luxury Tax History: Impact on Offseason and Future (BVM Sports)

AL West News

Angels — Angels add RHPs Luis Garcia, Adam Cimber to bullpen (KNBR)

Athletics — A’s Owner John Fisher Sells Large Amount of GAP Stock (SI)

Rangers — Why Texas Rangers, Cleveland Guardians make sense as potential trade partners this winter (CBS 8)

Mariners — Jarred Kelenic eager for ‘fresh start’ after Seattle Mariners trade (Seattle Sports)

MLB News

NEW: Top 100 Draft prospects for ‘24

Rays discussing Glasnow trade with Dodgers

How Soto can have a monster year in NY

Flying off shelves! Ohtani’s Dodgers jersey sets record

Is this NL power looking to assemble a super rotation?

Doby’s trailblazing legacy honored with Congressional Gold Medal

Houston Astros Birthdays

RHP Rodrigo Rosario (46)

2B Craig Biggio (58)

Everystros XLVI

400. Derek Fisher is a six-foot-three lefty-batting and righty-throwing leftfielder from Lebanon, PA. Born on August 21, 1993, he was a sixth-round choice of the 2011 draft out of high school by the Texas Rangers. That didn’t cut it for Fisher, who then attended the University of Virginia. In 2014, Houston chose him in the first round, with the 37th overall selection.

In 2017, Fisher made his debut with the Astros, appearing in 53 regular season games and hitting .212/.307/.356 with five home runs and 17 RBI. In his debut on June 14, he hit a single and a home run with two RBI in a 13-2 win against the Rangers. Through his rookie season, he started in 39 of his 53 appearances, and collected multiple hits five times. On July 31, he hit a single, a double, and a home run with two RBI in a 14-7 win against the Tampa Bay Rays. Defensively, Fisher fielded at .987 in 360 outfield innings, mostly in left.

The 2018 season would see Fisher play in another 42 games for the Astros, and slash .165/.209/.392 with four home runs and 11 RBI. On May 5. he hit a two-out pinch-RBI-double to tie the Diamondbacks at three, in an eventual 4-3 loss to Arizona. In 220 defensive innings across the outfield, Fisher was perfect in 43 chances.

In 2019, Fisher appeared in 17 games for Houston, hitting .226/.317/.358, going 12-for-53 overall. On May 31, in a 3-2 win against the Oakland Athletics, he hit a leadoff home run in the eighth to give Houston the lead in a 3-2 victory. On July 31, Houston traded Fisher to the Toronto Blue Jays for Joe Biagini, Cal Stevenson, and Aaron Sanchez. After two seasons north of the border (56 games, .177/.295/.395, seven home runs, 19 RBI), Fisher played for the Milwaukee Brewers (four games, two-for-eight, one RBI).

399. Joe Boever is a six-foot-one right-handed pitcher from Kirkwood, MO. Born on October 4, 1960, he reached the majors with the 1985 St. Louis Cardinals, and played parts of two seasons with them (0-1, 2.84, 38 IP, 28 K), followed by time with the Atlanta Braves (6-16, 30 saves, 4.24, 163 13 IP, 128 K) and the Philadelphia Phillies (5-8, six saves, 3.30, 144 13 IP, 129 K).

On January 27, 1992, Boever signed with Houston through free agency. In a major-league leading 81 pitching appearances, he was 3-6 with a pair of saves and a 2.51 ERA, backed up with a 3.25 FIP. He walked 45 versus 67 strikeouts in 111 13 innings, and gave up 38 runs (31 earned) on 103 hits, laying down a 1.329 WHIP.

Boever inherited 61 runners, and only allowed 10 to cross the plate. On April 22, he entered the seventh with one out and the bases loaded with a 1-0 lead over the San Francisco Giants. Boever induced a double play ball on a 1-1 pitch, then pitched a perfect eighth in an eventual 12-inning 2-1 win. On September 16, he entered the seventh inning with no outs and the bases loaded with a 3-0 lead against the Giants. Only one of the runners scored, on a sacrifice fly, as Boever stranded the other two. In the end, he pitched three nearly flawless innings, allowing only the IR to score and only allowing a runner on base via error.

Through his lone season with the Astros, Boever’s opponents managed a .248/.324/.310 slashline, and only three home runs in 479 plate appearances. Leaving Houston the way he came, Boever signed on with the Oakland Athletics (4-2, 3.86, 79 13 IP, 49 K), and later also played with the Detroit Tigers (16-10, nine saves, 5.01, 203 IP, 134 K) and the Pittsburgh Pirates (0-2, two saves, 5.40, 15 IP, six K).

398. Willie Crawford was a six-foot-one left-handed outfielder from Los Angeles, CA. Born on September 7, 1946, he debuted at the age of 17 with the 1964 Los Angeles Dodgers, and played a total of 12 seasons with the club (989 games, .268/.351/.413, 74 home runs, 335 RBI). In 1976 he played for the St. Louis Cardinals (120 games, .304/.360/.441, nine home runs, 50 RBI).

On March 26, 1977, the Giants traded Crawford with Rob Sperring to Houston for Rob Andrews. Crawford started in 28 of his 42 games with Houston, playing playing only in left field. He was 29-for-114 with three doubles and a pair of home runs, drawing 16 walks (to only 10 strikeouts) and scoring 14 runs while driving 18 home. On April 13, trailing 6-1 in the fourth, Crawford hit an RBI-single to score Jose Cruz. He walked and scored in the sixth to trim the Reds’ lead to 6-5, then singled in the eighth. In the bottom of the ninth, with two outs in a 6-6 tie, Crawford hit a walkoff three-run homer for a 9-6 victory.

Defensively, Crawford played 229 23 innings in left field, fielding at .959 due to a pair of errors. On June 15, Houston traded him to the Oakland Athletics for Denny Walling. Crawford finished up the major league portion of his career in closing the 1977 season out with the A’s (59 games, .184/.277/.272, one home run, 16 RBI).

397. Jim Gentile is a six-foot-three left-handed first baseman from San Francisco, CA. Born on June 3, 1934, he reached the major leagues with the 1957 Brooklyn Dodgers, and remained with them through their move to Los Angeles (16 games, .139/.244/.250, one home run, five RBI).

Gentile later went on to play with the Baltimore Orioles (583 games, .272/.379/.512, 124 home runs, 398 RBI, three All-Star Games, AL-leading 141 RBI in 1961) and the Kansas City Athletics (174 games, .250/.359/.481, 38 home runs, 93 RBI).

On June 4, 1965, the A’s sent Gentile to the Astros for Jesse Hickman and PTBNL Ernie Fazio. Gentile then started in 62 of his 81 appearances for Houston through the Astros final 111 games of the season. On September 19, he hit a pinch-three-run homer in the eighth inning, turning a 6-5 deficit into an 8-6 lead, in a victory of the same score over the Cincinnati Reds.

Gentile hit .242/.352/.392 with 11 doubles, one triple, and seven home runs. He drew 34 walks and scored 22 runs, driving in 31. He struck out 72 times. In 541 13 defensive innings at first base, he put up a .993 fielding percentage, making four errors in 591 total chances.

Gentile played in another 49 games for Houston in 1966, registering 10 multi-hit games and going 35-for-144 with a .243/.355/.444 slashline. On May 29, singled in the eighth and ended the game with a walkoff leadoff homer in the 11th, in a 3-2 win against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He posted a .989 fielding percentage in 352 innings at first base. On July 19, the Astros traded Gentile to the Cleveland Indians for Tony Curry.

396. Jason Bourgeois is a five-foot-nine right-handed outfielder from Houston, TX. Born on January 4, 1982, he was a Texas Ranger draftee in round two in 2000, out of Forest Brook High School.

By the time he reached the majors in 2008, Bourgeois was part of the Chicago White Sox (six games, one-for-three), and played part of the next season with the Milwaukee Brewers (24 games, .189/.250/.270, one home run, three RBI). Houston claimed Bourgeois off waivers from the Crew after the season.

In 69 games for the Astros in 2010, Bourgeois hit .220/.294/.268 with three RBI and 12 stolen bases in 16 attempts. He started in 23 of his appearances, and collected more than one hit on four occasions. One of those was on June 26, in a 7-2 loss to the Rangers. Bourgeois hit a single and a double, drawing a walk and stealing two bases. He was also perfect in 228 outfield innings, making 65 putouts without incident.

Bourgeois played another season with the Astros in 2011, going 70-for-238 in 93 contests for a .294/.323/.357 slashline. He also stole 31-of-37 bases successfully, ranking ninth in the National League. He started 49 times in total, and collected more than one hit 17 times. On April 20, he hit a double and a pair of singles, scoring once and driving one in, while also stealing two bases in a 2-1 win against the Brewers. On July 31, Bourgeois turned a 2-0 deficit into a 3-2 lead with a fourth-inning three-run homer against Milwaukee, stealing twice and scoring twice. Wait — he had one hit (a home run) and zero walks, stealing two bases? Aaah, he reached on an eighth-inning fielders choice then stole second and third.

Bourgeois played 464 innings in the outfield for the Astros in 2011, making one error out of 118 chances for a .992 fielding percentage. On March 20, 2012, the Astros traded Bourgeois with Humberto Quintero to the Kansas City Royals for Kevin Chapman and PTBNL D’Andre Toney. After the Royals, (30 games, .258/.303/.323, five RBI), Bourgeois played for the Tampa Bay Rays (nine games, three-for-16, one home run, two RBI) and the Cincinnati Reds (86 games, .240/.290/.328, three home runs, 15 RBI).

395. Eddie Mathews was a Hall of Fame corner infielder from Texarkana, TX. Born on October 13, 1931, he started his career with the 1952 Boston Braves, remaining with the team through two moves. In his 15 seasons with the Braves, Mathews appeared in 2,223 games and hit .273/.379/.517 with 493 home runs and 1388 RBI.

On December 31, 1966, the Braves traded Mathews with Arnold Umbach and PTBNL Sandy Alomar to Houston for Dave Nicholson and Bob Bruce. Mathews hit .238/.333/.381 in 101 games for the Astros, with 10 home runs and 38 RBI. On September 6, he hit a pair of home runs for three RBI in an 8-5 win over the Kansas City Athletics. In total, Mathews drew 48 walks against 65 strikeouts for Houston. On August 17, Houston traded Mathews to the Detroit Tigers for PTBNLs Leo Marentette and Fred Gladding.

Mathews hit .225/.315/.413 in 67 games over parts of two seasons with Detroit, with nine home runs and 27 RBI. SABR Bio

394. Mickey Storey is a right-handed pitcher from Fort Lauderdale, FL. Born on March 16, 1986, he was a 22nd-round pick out of Florida Atlantic University in 2007 by the Minnesota Twins, but went back to school instead. In 2008, the Oakland Athletics picked him in the 31st round. On June 30, 2011, the A’s sent Storey to Houston as part of a conditional deal.

Storey pitched in 26 games for Houston, striking out 34 and walking 10 in 30 13 innings. Used at an aLI of 0.60, Storey allowed four-of-15 inherited runners to score. On August 11, he pitched 1 13 perfect innings, striking out three in a 6-5 win against the Milwaukee Brewers. On September 9, he struck out four in two hitless, one-walk innings in a 5-1 victory over the Cincinnati Reds.

Storey ended up 0-1 with a 3.86 ERA, a 1.220 WHIP, a 2.80 FIP and 10.1 K/9 for Houston. After the 2012 season, he was claimed off waivers three times, by the New York Yankees on November 20, the Astros on December 6, and the Toronto Blue Jays on December 19. Storey pitched in three games for Toronto, striking out six and walking only one in four innings, and giving up three runs on six hits. Released before the end of April, it was the final chapter of Storey’s MLB story.

393. Aaron Pointer is a six-foot-two right-handed leftfielder from Little Rock, AR. Born on April 19, 1942, he made a quick appearance with the 1963 Houston Colt .45s, going one-for-five with a strikeout. It would be three years before he worked his way back.

Pointer returned to Houston in 1966, in the month of September, and went nine-for-26 with a double and a homer in 11 games. On September 16, he hit two singles and scored a run in a 6-4 win against the Philadelphia Phillies. In the last game of the season, he hit another pair of singles with a pair of RBI in an 8-2 victory over the New York Mets.

In 1967, Pointer appeared in a career-high 27 games, and went .157/.291/.257 with four doubles and one home run. He scored six times and drove in 10 RBI. On September 19, he hit a single and a double with three RBI in an 11-7 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Pointer played a total of 267 13 innings in the outfield, making a pair of errors for a .966 overall fielding percentage (a 71 FP+).

392. Dean Hartgraves is a six-foot left-handed pitcher from Bakersfield, CA. Born on August 12, 1966, he was a 12th-round choice of the New York Mets in 1986 out of the College of the Siskiyous. After failing to sign, the Astros picked him a year later in round number 20.

It took a long bunch o’years, but Hartgraves reached the bigs with the 1995 version of the Astros. Used exclusively in relief as a mid-leverage arm (aLI 0.96), Hartgraves allowed 11-of-39 inherited runners to plate. On July 8, he gave up a hit over an otherwise perfect two innings (the 14th and 15th), striking out three in an eventual 3-2, 17-inning win over the San Diego Padres.

Hartgraves pitched to a 2-0 record and a 3.22 ERA in his first major league season. He struck out 24 against 16 walks in 36 13 innings, allowing 14 runs (13 earned) on 30 hits. Opponents slashed just .227/.309/.356 in 150 plate appearances.

In 1996, Hartgraves pitched in another 19 games for Houston, pitching at aLI 0.47 and allowing two-of-seven inherited runners to score. On June 19, he struck out four over 1 23 scoreless innings in a 10-7 loss to the Cincinnati Reds. In 19 innings in total, Hartgraves struck out 16 and walked 16, pitching to a 5.21 ERA and a 1.789 WHIP. On July 25, the Atlanta Braves claimed Hartgraves off waivers.

Hartgraves played the rest of the season with Atlanta (1-0, 4.34, 18 23 IP, 14 K), later pitching for the San Francisco Giants (0-0, 9.53, 5 23 IP, four K).

391. Mark McLemore is a six-foot-two left-handed pitcher from Sacramento, CA. Born on October 9, 1980, he was a fourth-round choice of the Astros in 2002 out of Oregon State University.

McLemore reached the Astros in 2007, and was used exclusively in relief with an aLI of 0.80. Part of the reason why he was mostly used in below-average leverages, no doubt, is his inherited runner track record. He allowed five-of-10 to eventually cross the plate.

On August 4, McLemore struck out a pair over two perfect innings in an eventual 6-5 loss to the Florida Marlins. On August 26, he struck out three and allowed only a single in two innings of a 5-4 win against the Pittsburgh Pirates, earning his third win of the season.

In 29 games, McLemore struck out 35 in as many innings, going 3-0 with a 3.86 ERA. He drew 18 walks and allowed 38 hits, finishing up with a 1.600 WHIP.

In tomorrow’s chapter, we remain in the fourth bracket between 101 and 500 plate transactions. Specifically, we’ll look at Houston players who landed between 0.0025 and 0.0029 bWAR per BF/PA while stationed in Houston.

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