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Championship Series - Houston Astros v Texas Rangers - Game Five

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Astros Crawfish Boil: December 20, 2023

Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

It’s another offseason midweek Boil. Let’s get CrAzAaAaY!!!

Welcome to Wednesday. The winter is grey. No baseball today.

Houston Astros News

Smoke around Astros trade reports could signal something big (SportsMap)

Houston Astros confront tough decisions as revenue takes a hit (SportsMap)

Increased payroll may force the Astros to make a trade: How the Reds could benefit (Big Red Machine)

Astros MiLB Position Review: Third Base (Astros Future) — TCB writer Jimmy Price doing God’s work over at Astros Future.

AL West News

M’s — Will Mariners’ New Offensive Coordinator Help Them Land Jorge Soler? (KVUE)

Mall Cops — Could the Rangers, Mavs and Stars’ games soon be found on Amazon? (Audacy)

Halos — Surprise Bidder May Throw Hat in Ring for Ace Blake Snell (Essentially Sports)

A’s — MLB Player Blasts Relocation: ‘Nobody Wants The Las Vegas A’s’ (OutKick)

MLB News

This might be the best value in free agency

Braves’ TV booth adds C.J. Nitkowski as primary analyst

Padres near agreement with Japanese closer Matsui

Can this free-agent starter reinvent himself — again?

Elise Berger is latest woman to commit to playing college baseball

Houston Astros Birthdays

IF Abraham Toro (27)

IF/RF Aubrey Huff (47)

RHP Marc Valdes (52)

LHP Colton Gordon (25)

LF Keith Lampard (1945-2020)

Everystros LII

342. Yainer Diaz (Bagwell score 94.80) is a six-foot catcher from Azua, DR. Born on September 21, 1998, he started his minor league career with the Cleveland Indians in 2016. On July 30, 2021, the Indians sent Diaz to the Astros for Myles Straw.

Straw has gone on to pretty good things with the Indians/Guardians, totaling 5.6 bWAR in his three seasons with the team. Diaz took a little longer, going one-for-eight in six games to close out the 2022 season.

In Spring Training 2023, Diaz set himself apart from fellow number-one-in-training backstop Korey Lee, and started the season with Houston on their major-league roster. On June 15, he came in and hit a game-tying RBI-single in the bottom of the ninth, in an eventual 4-1 loss to the Washington Nationals. Three days later, he hit a first-inning single, reached on a third-inning error, added a fourth-inning RBI-double, then hit a single in the ninth in a 9-7 loss to the Cincinnati Reds. On July 5, Diaz hit a pair of home runs with three RBI in a 6-4 win against the Colorado Rockies. On July 24, he hit a game-tying RBI-sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fifth, then drove home the walkoff game-winner with an RBI-single to score Kyle Tucker in a 10-9 barnburner against the Texas Rangers.

Diaz started 85 times for Houston through his rookie campaign, finishing with 26 multiple hit games. Despite his status as the “backup” catcher, Diaz ranked fourth on the team with 23 home runs and second on the team with in SLG, slashing .282/.308/.538 with 22 doubles. He drew 11 walks, scored 51 times, and drove in 60, also striking out 74 times.

Diaz’ output was hampered by sporadic starts behind the plate. He only caught in 52 of them, appearing as the designated hitter 38 times. As a catcher, he slashed .324/.353/.648 versus a .213/.247/.346 mark as a DH. I don’t know if a 1.001 OPS (as a catcher) will translate over a full season, but 187 plate appearances isn’t really that small a sample size.

Defensively, Diaz fielded at .986 over 399 innings at the backstop, a FP+ of 57, and threw out 30 percent of basestealers — a CS+ of 143. In the offseason, he was one-for-14, but started zero times at catcher. Dusty Baker swore we would thank him one day, so thank you Dusty Baker.

B/R is bearish on Diaz’ 2024 projection. They have him at .276/.321/.510 with 20 home runs in 389 plate appearances. Fangraphs has him at .273/.312/.489 with 22 homers in 441 PA, and Steamer has an identical slashline projection and 21 homers in 421 PA.

341. Roberto Osuna (Bagwell score 96.16) is a six-foot-two right-handed pitcher from Juan Jose Rios, MX. Born on February 7, 1995, he began his major league career with the Toronto Blue Jays in 2016, and played three-and-a-half seasons with the club (8-13, 2.87, 223 IP, 253 K). In May 2018, he was arrested for domestic violence, and was suspended for 75 games.

On July 30, 2018, the Jays sent Osuna to the Astros for Ken Giles, David Paulino and Hector Perez. Through the last two months of the season, he pitched 22 23 innings and posted a 0.822 WHIP by walking only three against 19 strikeouts. He was 2-2 with a 1.99 ERA and 12 saves, and held opponents to a .210/.253/.296 slashline. On September 10 and 11, he pitched a perfect inning in each, earning his 16th and-17th save of the season.

Osuna limited his opponents to three hits over 15 13 innings to start the 2019 season, a mark of .063 with no walks and no extra-base hits. On April 27, he struck out one batter in two scoreless innings, earning a win in a 4-3 win over the Cleveland Indians. May 15, Osuna pitched a perfect inning, striking out the side in a 5-1 win against the Detroit Tigers. On September 5, he struck out three over 1 13 scoreless and hitless innings, walking one in an 11-9 13-inning win over the Seattle Mariners.

In 65 innings in total, Osuna saved an AL-leading 38 contests. He walked 12 and struck out 73, pitching to a 0.877 WHIP and going 4-3 with a 2.63 ERA, and held the opposition to a .190/.234/.321.

As good as he was overall, Osuna was particularly lethal against left-handed hitters, keeping them to .150/.214/.258. The following year, Osuna appeared in four of Houston’s first eight games and struck out three in 4 13 innings and earning his final MLB save to date. On August 2, he was placed on the IL, and Houston waived him on October 29.

Since then, Osuna has played in 149 games between Mexico, Charros de Jalisco, the Chiba Lotte Marines, and the Fukoka Softbank Hawks. In his post-MLB career, he’s gone 17-5 with a 1.13 ERA, 161 strikeouts, and a 0.789 WHIP.

340. LaTroy Hawkins (Bagwell score 101.28) is a six-foot-five right-handed pitcher from Gary, IN. Born on December 21, 1972, he was a seventh-round choice of the Minnesota Twins in 1991. He played the first nine seasons of his MLB career with the Twins starting in 1995 (44-57, 44 saves, 5.05, 818 IP, 532 K). He followed that with the “journeyman” portion of his career, playing for 10 teams over the following 13 seasons.

Hawkins played for the Chicago Cubs (6-8, 2.76, 101 IP, 82 K) in 2004 and 2005, the San Francisco Giants (1-4, 4.10, 37 13 IP, 30 K) in 2005, the Baltimore Orioles (3-2, 4.48, 60 13 IP, 27 K) in 2006, the Colorado Rockies (8-9, 3.41, 132 IP, 81 K) in 2007, and the New York Yankees (1-1, 5.71, 41 IP, 23 K) in 2008. On July 30, 2008, the Yankees traded Hawkins to the Asros for Matt Cusick.

Hawkins slotted in quite nicely into Houston’s bullpen immediately. In 24 games over the final two months of the season, he allowed one earned run in 21 innings. On August 6, he struck out the side in a perfect inning of an 11-4 loss to the Chicago Cubs.

Used in a 1.09 aLI and stranding all five inherited runners, Hawkins held his opponents to a .151/.203/.206 slashline. He was 2-0 with a save and 25 K’s over 21 innings, with 11 hits and five walks surrendered for a 0.762 WHIP.

Hawkins remained with the Astros in 2009, and ranked second on the team with 65 appearances. He was 1-4 with a 2.13 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 63 13 innings. He also gave up 16 walks and 60 hits for a 1.200 WHIP, used in mostly high-leverage situations (1.46 aLI). On May 3 he earned his third save of the season, pitching 1 13 perfect innings in a 7-5 win against the Atlanta Braves.

Hawkins went on to play for the Milwaukee Brewers (3-4, 3.92, 64 13 IP, 46 K) in 2010 and 2011, the Los Angeles Angels (2-3, 3.64, 42 IP, 23 K) in 2012, the New York Mets (3-2, 2.93, 70 23 IP, 55 K) in 2013, the Colorado Rockies (8-9, 3.41, 132 IP, 81 K) in 2014 and 2015, and the Toronto Blue Jays (1-0, 2.76, 16 13 IP, 14 K) in 2015. Five years after his retirement he earned 0.5 percent of the BBWAA vote for the Baseball Hall of Fame, then falling off the ballot.

339. Robinson Chirinos (Bagwell score 105.34) is a six-foot-one, right-handed catcher from Punto Fijo, VZ. Born on June 5, 1984, he debuted in the major leagues with the Tampa Bay Rays in 2011 (20 games, .218/.283/.309, one home run, seven RBI). He then spent six seasons with the Texas Rangers (442 games, .233/.325/.443, 67 home runs, 197 RBI).

After the 2018 season, the Astros signed Chirinos to a $5.75 million deal one-year deal. He started behind the plate 106 times over his 114 appearances, and had more than one hit in 16 of them. On April 8, Chirinos hit a pair of doubles with two RBI in a 4-3 win against the New York Yankees. On May 6, he hit a single and a home run with two RBI in a 6-4 win over the Kansas City Royals. On June 7, he waited until the 11th inning to get his first hit of the game, but made it count, doubling home Yuli Gurriel for a two-out walk-off hit for a 4-3 11-inning win. On September 9, he hit a single and a pair of home runs, totaling six RBI in a 15-0 shellacking of the Oakland Athletics.

Chirinos hit .238/.347/.443 with 22 doubles, one triple and home runs for the Astros. He drew 51 walks and scored 57 times, driving 58 in. He went six-for-41 in 14 postseason contests, as Houston fell just short of the cup to the Washington Nationals. Defensively, Chirinos caught 966 innings and fielded at .995, and caught 12-of-57 runners trying to steal (78 CS+).

Chirinos left Houston the same way he came in, via free agency. He played for the Rangers a second time (14 games, .119/.224/.143, two RBI), the New York Mets (12 games, .219./.242/.375, one one home run, five RBI), the Chicago Cubs (45 games, .227./324/.454, five home runs, 15 RBI), and the Baltimore Orioles (67 games, .179/.265/.287, four home runs, 22 RBI).

338. Randy Johnson (Bagwell score 129.71) is six-foot-10 left-handed pitcher from Walnut Creek, CA. Born on September 10, 1963, he was a fourth-round choice of the Atlanta Braves in 1982 out of high school. Three seasons later, the Montreal Expos took him in round two out of the University of Southern California.

Johnson was 3-4 with a 4.69 ERA over 11 appearances in Montreal, striking out 33 in 55 23 innings. He then joined the Seattle Mariners, and made the All-Star Team in half of his 10 seasons with the M’s. He was 130-74 with a 3.42 ERA and 2,162 strikeouts in 1838 13 innings, leading the AL with 241 K’s in 1992, then leading the majors with 308, 204, and 294 strikeouts over the following three seasons, respectively. In 1995, he also led the AL with a 2.48 ERA.

Johnson joined the Astros via trade for the 1998 season with Freddy Garcia and Carlos Guillén for John Halama, and took 11 turns in the rotation, averaging a 74 GameScore and posting a 10-1 record with a 1.28 ERA and an opposing slashline of .191/.261/.258. He struck out double digits in seven of those starts, and pitched a Quality Start 10 times.

On August 7, he pitched a five-hitter, striking out eight in a 9-0 win over the Philadelphia Phillies. Five days later, he pitched another five-hitter, striking out 13 in a 3-0 win against the Milwaukee Brewers. Not content with that, he added a third shutout on September 7, striking out 14 Reds in a six-hit 1-0 win over Cincinnati.

Johnson was a dominant pitcher for a long time, but his short time in Houston may have been the best 11-game stretch of his career. After leaving the Astros, he pitched eight seasons for the Arizona Diamondbacks (118-62, 2.83, 1630 13 IP, 2,077 K), the New York Yankees (34-19, 4.37, 430 23 IP, 383 K), and the San Francisco Giants (8-6, 4.88, 96 IP, 86 K).

Johnson retired from baseball on January 5, 2010, with an all-time second 4,875 strikeouts. I can’t help but think he probably could have been the second guy to collect 5,000 career strikeouts. He was elected in his first season of eligibility to the Baseball Hall of Fame with 97.3 percent of the BBWAA vote, but I can’t for the life of me wrap my head around anyone withholding a vote. And also, one time he killed a bird. SABR Bio

337. Jerry DaVanon (Bagwell score 135.36) is a five-foot-11 right-handed infielder from Oceanside, CA. Born on August 21, 1945, he was a 36th-round selection of the Houston Astros in 1965 out of San Diego Mesa College. In 1966, after deigning to sign with Houston, DaVanon was taken in the first round by the St. Louis Cardinals, 17th overall out of Westmont College.

DaVanon reached the majors with the San Diego Padres in 1969 (24 games, .136/.177/.153, three RBI), later appearing with the Cardinals (66 games, .189/.287/.264), the Baltimore Orioles (38 games, .235/.340/.296, four RBI), and the California Angels (41 games, .245/.288/.306, two RBI).

In 1975, DaVanon started the season on the St. Louis roster, but was purchased by the Detroit Tigers on January 3. Released just 20 days later, he was signed to a deal by the Cleveland Indians, then the Astros purchased him on April 9. He appeared in 32 games for Houston in August and September, starting 27 times and getting multiple hit games in eight of them.

On August 26, DaVanon hit a single and a pair of triples with two RBI in a 10-9 loss to the Cards. On August 11, he drove in three runs on two singles and a homer in a 7-2 victory, also against the Cardinals. Overall, he slashed .278/.386/.392 with four doubles, two triples, and one home run. He drew 16 walks and struck out only seven times, scoring 15 times and driving in 10. He also provided above-average fielding for Houston at all three positions that he had a certification for, playing 174 innings at shortstop (.944), 61 innings at second base (.976), and 11 13 innings at first base (1.000).

DaVanon hit .290/.408/.402 in his second season with the Astros, appearing in 61 games and starting 25 of them. On July 2, he entered the bottom of the ninth at shortstop in a 4-4 tie with the Cincinnati Reds. In the 11th, he hit a two-run go-ahead triple, then came around to score on a Greg Gross single. The Reds scored three in the bottom of the 11th to again extend things. In the 14th, he hit a two-out RBI-single for a 10-7 lead, then Gene Pentz pitched the bottom of the inning, giving up a run on two walks and two hits but doing enough to earn the victory.

DaVanon went 31-for-107 with three doubles, three triples and a home run, drawing 21 walks against 12 strikeouts, scoring 19 runs and driving in 20. Defensively, he played 141 13 innings at second base (.980), 85 innings at shortstop (.911) and 27 23 innings at third base (.900).

After the 1976 season, the Astros traded DeVanon with Larry Dierker to the Cardinals for Bob Detherage and Joe Ferguson. DaVanon appeared in nine games, going 0-for-8 with a walk.

And that’s that for the fourth bracket of our countdown. Only one bracket left, the fifth one. The fifth bracket consists of players who totaled 501 or more plate transactions with the Houston franchise. Unlike the first 639 players in this series, the final 336 will be in order of ascending total bWAR, as opposed to a bWAR per plate transaction basis.

It feels weird to have these guys ranked above Randy Johnson, but I had to draw the line somewhere. Five-hundred plate transactions seemed to be a pretty good place for it.

336. Luis Pujols (Bagwell score negative-67.01) is a six-foot-two right-handed catcher from Santiago, DR. Born on November 18, 1955, he made the majors with the Astros in 1977. Over seven seasons, Pujols appeared in 311 games and slashed .192/.239/.259, with six home runs and 80 RBI.

On April 11, 1980, Pujols broke an eighth-inning tie with a pinch-three-run-double, in an eventual 10-6 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. On April 26, he hit a two-run seventh-inning double to open the scoring in a 6-0 win against the New York Mets. On August 3, 1982, he hit a single in the second, a home run in the fourth, and a sacrifice bunt in the bottom of the 11th, to defeat the San Diego Padres, 7-6. In six postseason games, Pujols went one-for-14 with a triple.

Pujols totaled 27 doubles, six triples and six homers with Houston, drawing 52 walks and 164 strikeouts. He scored 50 runs and drove in 80. Defensively, he gunned down 76-for-336 runners trying to steal, a 22.7 percent rate, fielding at .987 in 2229 23 innings behind the plate.

On September 1, 1984, Houston traded Pujols to the Kansas City Royals for James Miner. After a cup-of-coffee with the Royals (one-for-five), he made one plate appearance in 1985 with the Texas Rangers, hitting a single.

335. Jim Clancy (Bagwell score negative-34.75) is a six-foot-four right-handed pitcher from Chicago, IL. Born on December 18, 1955, he went to the Texas Rangers in 1974, getting drafted in the fourth round out of St. Rita of Cascia High School. After the 1976 minor league season, the Toronto Blue Jays drafted Clancy in the expansion draft.

Clancy played the first 12 seasons of his major league career with the Jays. (128-140, 4.10, 2,204 23 IP, 1237 K). On December 16, 1988, the Houston Astros signed Clancy through free agency.

Clancy took 25 turns in the rotation for Houston in 1989, with 13 of those turning out to be Quality Starts. Despite that, he was 7-14 with a 5.08 ERA. On June 3, he pitched the final five innings of a 5-4, 22-inning victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Clancy struck out two and allowed two hits for his third win of the year. On June 10, he kept the Braves to five hits, two walks, and no runs over 7 13 innings, striking out three in a 1-0 win over Atlanta.

On April 26, 1990, Clancy pitched seven two-hit shutout innings to earn a win in a 3-0 victory over the Atlanta Braves. In 10 starts and 23 trips out of the pen, he was 2-8 with a 6.51 ERA.

Clancy was 0-3 with a 2.78 ERA for the Astros through the first 23 of the 1991 season. On July 31, 1991, the Astros sent Clancy to the Braves for Matt Turner and PTBNL Earl Sanders. In his three seasons with the Astros, Clancy was 9-25 with a 5.02 ERA and a 1.478 WHIP. He issued 119 walks and struck out 168 in 278 innings. After joining the Braves, Clancy was 3-2 with a 5.71 ERA and 1.442 WHIP.

334. Skip Jutze (Bagwell score negative-77.63) is a five-foot-11 right-handed catcher from Bayside, NY. Born on May 28, 1946, he was drafted three times. To wit, as a fourth-rounder in 1966 out of Central Connecticut State University by the Boston Red Sox, a third-rounder by the Detroit Tigers in 1967, and by the St. Louis Cardinals in the fourth round in 1968.

Jutze made it to the majors with the Cardinals in 1972 (21 games, .239/.247/.268, five RBI). On November 28, the Cardinals traded Jutze and Milt Ramirez to the Astros for Ray Busse and Bobby Fenwick.

Jutze appeared in 90 games for Houston in 1973, starting 78 of them and going 62-for-278 with 18 RBI. He drew 19 walks and struck out 37 times. On July 12, he hit a tiebreaking two-run single in the eighth inning for a 6-4 lead, in an eventual 7-6 win over the Philadelphia Phillies. On August 25, the Astros came up on the short side of a 4-3, 10-inning loss to the Chicago Cubs despite a three-hit effort by Jutze. In 697 23 innings behind the plate, Jutze fielded at .984 and threw out 33 percent of attempts to steal, a 92 CS+.

Over the three seasons following his rookie campaign, Jutze appeared in 101 games for the Astros, starting another 53 times at catcher. In total, he put up a .210/.250/.244 slashline with no home runs and 31 RBI. He fielded at .988 and threw out 17-of-65 runners.

Jutze joined the Seattle Mariners in 1977 after the Astros traded him for Alan Griffin. In 42 games for the M’s, he slashed .220/.267/.321.

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