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Astros Crawfish Boil: December 15, 2023

It’s the final Boil of the week, and Chapter LXVII of Everystros.

Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images

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Welcome to the weekend, here’s a Boil along with Chapter LXVII of Everystros.

Houston Astros News

Houston’s heartbeat: Designing the ultimate farewell deal for Astros’ Jose Altuve (SportsMap)

How Astros simple, game-changing moves already position them for greater success (SportsMap)

Vegas Odds on AL MVP After Departure of Shohei Ohtani (SportsTalk 790)

Astros’ best offensive seasons from catchers

AL West News

Halos — Angels declined to match Dodgers’ offer to Shohei Ohtani (The Athletic)

A’s — A’s agree they’re moving, will pay $45 million owed for Coliseum stake (SF Chronicle)

M’s — Red Sox were reportedly ‘rebuffed’ by Mariners after asking about promising starting pitchers (Boston.com)

Mall Cops — Rangers Sign Tyler Mahle To Two-Year Deal (MLBTR)

MLB News

Glasnow goes from Rays to Dodgers in massive deal

Tigers add Flaherty to rotation on 1-year deal

Baseball’s best arrive in Vegas for inaugural All-MLB Weekend

Here’s how future free-agent classes look

Houston Astros Birthdays

Friday

RHP Ryan Pressly (35)

IF Jimmy Sexton (72)

IF Art Howe (77)

RHP Henry Bibieca (21)

Saturday

OF / 3B Charles Gipson (51)

C Sandro Gaston (21)

OF Chris Jones (58)

RHP Randy Hennis (58)

Sunday

LHP Fernando Abad (38)

RHP Kelly Austin (23)

RHP Wilmy Sanchez (20)

CF Ross Adolph (27)

Everystros LXVII

390. Frank Riccelli is a six-foot-three left-handed pitcher from Syracuse, NY. Born on February 24, 1953, he was a first-round choice of the San Francisco Giants in 1971, 18th overall out of Christian Brothers Academy. He reached the Giants proper in 1976, and pitched in four games (16 innings, 1-1, 5.63, 11 K). After spending 1977 in the minors, the Giants traded Riccelli to the St. Louis Cardinals for PTBNL Jim Dwyer. Without reaching St. Louis, the Cardinals flipped Riccelli to the Astros on June 8, 1978.

Riccelli only appeared in two games for Houston in 1978, pitching three scoreless innings in relief. In 1979, he pitched with an aLI of 0.93 and did not let any of his four inherited runners to come around to score. On April 13, he struck out three over two scoreless innings in an 8-7 loss to the Giants. On April 27, he struck out four over 1 13 scoreless innings, earning the victory in a 9-8, 11-inning win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. On May 6, he made one of his two career starts for Houston, and struck out seven over eight innings. He allowed two runs on five hits and six walks in the affair, an 8-2 victory against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Riccelli struck out 20 against 18 walks in 1979, going 2-2 with a 4.09 ERA and a 1.818 WHIP. He went two-for-six as a hitter, with a double and three RBI, and was perfect with six defensive chances to his credit. On February 21, 1980, the Astros released Riccelli.

389. Nori Aoki is a five-foot-nine lefty-hitting and righty-throwing outfielder from Hyuga, Japan. Born on January 5, 1982, he played eight seasons with the Yakult Swallows before his major league career, and six seasons after, totaling a .315/.394/.448 line with 145 home runs and 663 RBI in NPB action. From 2012 through 2017, he played six seasons in North America.

Prior to 2012 Spring Training, Aoki had his contract sold to the Milwaukee Brewers (306 games, .287/.355/.399, 18 home runs, 87 RBI, 50 stolen bases), later appearing with the Kansas City Royals (132 games, .285/.349/.360, one home run, 43 RBI, 17 stolen bases), the San Francisco Giants (93 games, .287/.353/.380, five home runs, 26 RBI, 14 stolen bases), and the Seattle Mariners (118 games, .283/.349/.388, four home runs, 28 RBI).

On November 3, 2016, the Astros selected Aoki via waivers from the Mariners. Aoki totaled 12 multi-hit games in his 70 appearances with Houston, including 56 starts. On April 14, he hit a single and a home run for two RBI in a 7-2 win against the Oakland Athletics. On July 23, he went three-for-four and missed the cycle by the width of a triple, totaling three RBI in a 9-7 loss to the Baltimore Orioles.

Aoki went 55-for-202 with 12 doubles, a triple, and a pair of home runs for Houston, with 19 RBI and five steals in seven attempts. On July 31, the Astros sent Aoki with Teoscar Hernández to the Toronto Blue Jays for Francisco Liriano.

Aoki finished the season with the Jays (12 games, nine-for-32, three homers, eight RBI) and the New York Mets (27 games, .284/.371/.373, eight RBI) before resuming his still-ongoing career with Yakult.

388. Tommie Agee was a five-foot-11, 195 lb. right-handed batting and throwing outfielder from Magnolia, AL. Born on August 9, 1942, Agee had a notable major league career before making his way to the Astros in 1973. After appearing in 31 games over parts of three seasons with the Cleveland Indians early in the 1960s, he joined the Chicago White Sox for three season, and made the All Star Team twice. In 1966, he was named the American League Rookie of the Year by hitting .273/.326/.447 with 22 homers, 86 RBI, and 44 stolen bases.

After the 1967 season, the Sox traded Agee with Al Weis to the New York Mets for Buddy Booker, Tommy Davis, Jack Fisher, and Billy Wynne. In five seasons as the Mets starting center fielder, Agee appeared in 661 contests and slashed .262/.329/.419 with 82 homers and 92 stolen bases. Following the 1972 season, the Mets sent him to Houston for Rich Chiles and Buddy Harris.

Agee appeared in 84 games for the Astros through the first half of the 1973 season. He put together a .235/.294/.397 line, and hit eight home runs with 15 RBI. Oddly, Agee appeared a nearly identical amount at each of the three outfield positions, with 145 1/3 innings in center, and 142 1/3 innings at each left and right field. Despite his time with the Astros being relatively late in his career, Agee was five ZFR better than the “average” outfielder, regardless of his position.

Agee’s best game with the Astros was on June 15, when he hit a single and a two-run home run in a 3-2 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals. On August 18, Houston traded Agee to these same Redbirds for Rich Chiles and Buddy Harris. Agee is one of very few players to ever be thrice traded for a guy named Buddy. Agee went 11-for-62 down the stretch for the Cardinals, and did not appear in the majors again. SABR Bio

387. Tony McKnight is a six-foot-five right-handed pitcher from Texarkana, AR. Born on June 29, 1977, he was Houston’s first-round choice in 1995 out of Arkansas High School, with the 22nd pick off the board.

McKnight reached the Astros proper in August, and made six starts through the remainder of the season. Four of the starts were “Quality,” but he saved his best for last. On September 27, he struck out seven and allowed one run on four hits and a walk, pitching the whole game in a 10-1 win against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Through the season, McKnight was 4-1 with a 3.86 ERA, with nine walks and 23 strikeouts. He had a 1.257 WHIP and an opponent slashline of .245/.297/.378. In 2001, he started three more games at the major league level for Houston, going 1-0 with a 4.00 ERA. He struck out 10 and walked three over 18 innings, with two Quality Starts. His best was on June 16, when he allowed one run over six innings in a 2-1 win against the Texas Rangers. On July 21, the Astros traded McKnight to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Mike Williams.

McKnight finished the season with the Bucs (2-6, 5.19, 69 13 IP, 36 K), but didn’t again pitch at the major league level.

386. Jeff Calhoun is a six-foot-two left-handed pitcher from La Grange, GA. Born on April 11, 1958, he was a 28th-round choice of the California Angels in 1976 out of Parklane Academy. Four years later, degree in hand, Calhoun was selected by Houston in round three out of the University of Mississippi.

Calhoun joined the Astros proper in September 1984, and pitched mostly in low-to-mid-leverage situations (0.73 aLI) and allowed one-of-six inherited runners to score. On September 18, he struck out three over two innings, allowing one hit and no walks in a 5-4 win against the San Francisco Giants. Two days later, he pitched three perfect innings, striking one batter out in a 6-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

In nine appearances, Calhoun was 0-1 with a 1.17 ERA and a 0.457 WHIP. He struck out 11 and walked two in 15 13 innings and let opponents slash just .100/.135/.140.

Calhoun pitched to a 1.257 WHIP and a 2.54 ERA in his second season with the Astros, pitching 63 23 innings over 44 appearances. He was 2-5 with four saves, and a nearly two-to-one K/BB, with 47 and 24, respectively. A mid-to-high level reliever in 1985 (1.05 aLI), Calhoun allowed 35 percent of his 31 inherited runners to score. On July 2, he struck out four over two perfect innings, earning his third save of the season in a 3-2 win against the San Diego Padres.

In 1986, Calhoun pitched in another 20 games for Houston, going 1-0 with a 3.71 ERA and a 1.500 WHIP. He issued 12 walks and punched 14 out, allowing 11 earned (and five unearned) runs on 28 hits. His last appearance with the Astros was in the NLCS against the New York Mets, when he gave up a run on a walk and a hit in one inning pitched. On April 2, 1987, Houston traded Calhoun to the Philadelphia Phillies for Ronn Reynolds.

Calhoun spent two seasons with Philadelphia (3-1, 2.20, 45 IP, 32 K), and didn’t appear at the major league level again.

385. Steve Shea was a six-foot-three right-handed pitcher from Worcester, MA. Born on December 5, 1942, he played from 1962 through 1964 in the system for the Chicago Cubs. In 1966, he joined the Astros at their Single-A level with the Cocoa Astros (12-5, 1.78, 106 IP, 107 K). He played 1967 with the Double-A Amarillo Sonics (5-7, 2.56, 88 IP, 77 K) and 1968 with the Triple-A Oklahoma City 89ers (8-5, 2.74, 125 IP, 89 K). Midway through the 1968 season, Shea was promoted to the parent club level.

Immediately tabbed as a high-leverage reliever (1.79 aLI), Shea limited his 32 inherited baserunners to just five runs. Going by WPA, his best appearance of the season, of his career in fact (0.315) was on July 14 in his major league debut. He inherited three runners with two outs and a tie score in the ninth inning, then pitched a perfect 10th to earn a 5-4 victory over the Cincinnati Reds. In a really impressive stretch from August 7 through September 2, Shea struck out seven and allowed only five baserunners over 12 13 innings, giving up zero runs on four hits and a walk, and going 2-0 with a save.

Through the season, Shea limited his opponents to a .229/.306/.263 slashline and only four extra-base hits, all doubles. In 30 games in total, all in relief, he struck out 15 against 11 walks in 34 23 innings, giving up 14 runs (13 earned) on 27 hits, going 4-4 with a 3.38 ERA and a 1.096 WHIP. He was helpless at the plate (0-for-six, four strikeouts) and perfect in the field (1.000 fielding percentage, two putouts, nine assists).

On April 3, 1969, the Montreal Expos purchased Shea’s contract. He appeared in 10 games for the Expos in relief, striking out 11 in 15 23 innings and posting a 2.87 ERA and a 1.660 WHIP.

Shea went into banking after the end of his baseball career, owing to an MBA picked up at Boston College. He eventually worked his way up to president and CEO of Rockingham Bank Corp, helping to create the Central Asia-American Education Foundation in the process. He passed away in 2015, at the age of 72.

384. Rich Chiles is a five-foot-11 left-handed hitting and throwing leftfielder from Sacramento, CA. Born on November 22, 1949, he was a second-round choice of the Astros in 1968 out of Winters High School.

Chiles started in 20 of his 67 appearances through his first season, the 1971 campaign. On May 8, he hit an RBI-pinch-double to get Houston on the board in a no longer 2-0 lead for the Padres, a game that Houston eventually walked off for a 3-2 win against San Diego. On August 7, Chiles hit a pinch-hit game-tying RBI-single, then scored the go-ahead run versus the Padres in an eventual 5-3 victory.

Overall, Chiles went 27-for-119 with a .227/.268/.336 with five doubles, a triple and a pair of home runs. He drew six walks against 20 strikeouts, scoring 12 times and driving in 15. Defensively, Chiles played 181 13 innings in the outfield, all but four of them in left, and posted a perfect fielding percentage with 35 clean chances.

The 1972 season would see Chiles stuck at Triple-A most of the season, where he slashed .263/.334/.387 in 115 games. In nine appearances for the Astros, he was three-for-12 with two RBI. After the season, the Astros traded Chiles with Buddy Harris to the New York Mets for Tommie Agee. Chiles played eight games for the Mets in 1973, going three-for-25 then disappearing from the majors for a lot of minor league service time.

Prior to the 1976 season, Chiles signed a deal to return to the Astros. Unfortunately, he only played in five games, going two-for-four with a double. After the season, the Minnesota Twins selected Chiles via rule 5 draft. Chiles went on to play the bulk of his major league service time with the Twins (195 games, .266/.328/.357, four home runs, 58 RBI).

383. Dwayne Henry is a six-foot-three right-handed pitcher from Elkton, MD. Born on February 16, 1962, he was a second-round selection of the Texas Rangers in 1980, out of MIddletown High School.

Henry reached the major leagues proper in 1984 for the Rangers, and eventually pitched in parts of five seasons with the club (3-4, 5.54, 65 IP, 56 K). He later spent two seasons with the Atlanta Braves (2-4, 5.29, 51 IP, 50 K).

On March 29, 1991, Henry signed with the Astros through free agency and ended up ranking third on the team with 52 pitching appearances. Pitching with a 0.95 aLI, Henry allowed just under half of his 35 inherited baserunners to score.

On April 12, Henry struck out two over two perfect innings, earning his first save in a 3-2 win against the San Francisco Giants. On April 24, he came into a scoreless tie in the 12th inning, and pitched two scoreless to earn a win in the 13th on a Ken Oberkfell walk-off single.

Henry allowed his opponents to slash out a .219/.333/.361 line overall. On November 26, 1991, the Cincinnati Reds claimed him off waivers.

After his time with the Reds (3-4, 3.36, 88 13 IP, 74 K), Henry went on to play for the Seattle Mariners (2-1, 6.67, 54 IP, 35 K) and the Detroit Tigers (1-0, 6.23, 8 23 IP, nine K).

382. Blake Taylor is a six-foot-three left-handed pitcher from Orange, CA. Born on August 17, 1995, he was taken in the second round of the 2013 draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates out of Dana Hills High School. Pittsburgh sent Taylor to the New York Mets in a deal in 2014. After five seasons in the minors, the Mets traded him to the Astros with Kenedy Corona for Jake Marisnick.

Taylor finally made his major league debut in 2020, appearing 22 times in relief for Houston. He was 2-1 with a 2.18 ERA and 17 strikeouts versus 12 walks in 20 23 innings. He had a 1.210 WHIP and opponents slashed .173/.287/.280.

Houston used Taylor in mainly high-leverage situations (1.73 aLI), and he stranded 10-of-15 inherited runners. On July 29, he struck out three over 2 13 scoreless innings, stranding two runners in the sixth then pitching two more innings in a 4-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. On August 2, Taylor came in to a 5-5 tie against the Angels with the bases loaded and two out in the bottom of the 10th, then struck out Matt Thaiss to get out of the jam. He then pitched a scoreless 11th to earn the victory in a 6-5 triumph against the Los Angeles Angels.

In 2021, Taylor ranked fourth on the Astros with 51 pitching appearances. He was 4-4 with a 3.16 ERA and a 4.62 FIP and a 1.406 WHIP. The very definition of a mid-level reliever (0.99 aLI), Taylor let 31 percent of his 26 inherited runners to score. Opponents managed a .233/.321/.399 slashline in action against Taylor.

In 2022, Taylor pitched in 19 games in relief for Houston, going 1-1 with a 3.94 ERA. He walked 10 and struck out nine over 16 innings for a 1.563 WHIP. In a related development, he pitched with a 0.77 aLI as Houston tried to get use out of an increasingly unreliable arm.

But Taylor did pitch in 12 of Houston’s many postseason games during his three years with the team. He pitched exactly one game (nine innings), striking out nine and allowing two runs on nine hits and four walks. On August 4, 2023, the Astros parted ways with Taylor. He currently remains on the market.

381. Mark Melancon is a six-foot-one right-handed pitcher from Wheat Ridge, CO. Born on March 28, 1985, he was a 30th-round choice of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2003 out of high school, then in 2006, the New York Yankees made him a ninth-round pick out of the University of Arizona.

Melancon reached the major leagues with the Yankees in 2009 playing in parts of two major-league seasons with the Bombers (0-1, 4.87, 20 13 IP, 13 K). On July 31, 2010, the Yankees traded Melancon and Jimmy Paredes to Houston for Lance Berkman.

Melancon worked with an aLI of 1.51 with Houston in his first season with the team, and stranded all seven of his inherited runners. On August 24, Melancon did his part in bringing a win home by pitching three scoreless innings against the Phillies, striking out three in a 4-2 16-inning victory. On September 9, Melancon inherited the bases loaded with two outs and a 3-2 lead in the top of the seventh against the Los Angeles Dodgers. After inducing a groundout to end the threat, he then pitched to the minimum in the eighth in an eventual win by the same score.

In 20 games for Houston, Melancon went 2-0 with a 3.12 ERA and 19 strikeouts in 17 13 innings. He pitched to a 1.154 WHIP and a .238/.311/.363 opposing slashline, with a 2.75 K/BB.

Pitching for Houston again in 2011, Melancon ranked second on the team with 71 pitching appearances, and led all qualified pitchers with a 3.25 FIP, a 1.224 WHIP, a 7.9 H/9, and a 2.78 ERA. He pitched to a 1.58 aLI and stranded 13-of-17 inherited runners. On May 22, he earned his third save of the season when he came in to relieve Wilton Lopez with on out and a runner on first. After striking out both batters he faced in the eighth, he remained in the game and pitched a scoreless ninth (despite loading the bases) in a 3-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays. On August 24, he relieved with one out and two runners on base in a 6-6 tie with the Colorado Rockies, and escaped the inning without giving up a run with a walk and a strikeout. He remained in to pitch the ninth, and held the Rockies scoreless in an eventual 7-6 loss. On September 18, Melancon earned his 18th save of the season by pitching 1 13 perfect innings, with three strikeouts in a 3-2 win against the Chicago Cubs.

Melancon went 8-4 with 20 saves for Houston through that season, the first of Houston’s three-year exile into baseball’s cellar. Melancon struck out 66 against 26 walks in 74 13 innings, with an opposing batter slashline of .234/.304/.327. On December 14, Melancon was traded to the Boston Red Sox for Jed Lowrie and Kyle Weiland.

Melancon pitched one season with the Red Sox (0-2, one save, 6.20, 45 IP, 41 K), later playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates (10-10, 130 saves, 1.80, 260 13 IP, 241 K, three All-Star Games in three seasons, ML-leading 51 saves in 2015), the Washington Nationals (1-1, 17 saves, 1.82, 29 23 IP, 27 K), the San Francisco Giants (6-8, 15 saves, 3.67, 115 13 IP, 104 K), the Atlanta Braves (3-1, 22 saves, 3.30, 43 23 IP, 38 K), the San Diego Padres (4-3, ML-leading 39 saves, 2.23, 64 23 IP, 59 K), and the Arizona Diamondbacks (3-10, 18 saves, 4.66, 56 IP, 35 K). He remains available through free agency.


Everystros XLVIII will feature another 10 players between 101 and 500 PA/BF for Houston, and between 0.0029 and 0.0033 bWAR per plate transaction.

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Spring Training Game 2 Thread. February 25th, 2024, 12: 05 CT. Cardinals @ Astros

Astros Crawfish Boil

Everystros CXII