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Houston Astros v Texas Rangers

Astros Crawfish Boil: December 21, 2023

Chapter 53 of Everystros is included in today’s Boil.

Jordan Lyles
| Photo by Rick Yeatts/Getty Images

Houston Astros News

Astros’ off-season thoughts - Chipalatta

CROSSOVER: Which Houston Astros prospects might make it to MLB in 2024? (CBS 19)

This Cubs-Framber Valdez trade proposal is laughable - and will never happen (Cubbie’s Crib)

Astros’ Tayler Scott: Inks MiLB pact with Houston (CBS Sports)

Billy Wagner 2024 Hall of Fame case

AL West News

A’s — Sacramento is not the answer for the Oakland A’s (The Touchback)

Mall Cops — Rangers on the Verge of Fumbling Montgomery Extension (Sports DFW)

M’s — How the Mariners Can Acquire Carlos Correa AND a New Ace! (ABC 24)

Halos — Shohei Ohtani is the AP Male Athlete of the Year for the 2nd time in 3 years (AP News)

MLB News

Yamamoto has his first offer

Where will these decorated veterans play in 2024?

Here’s what makes this top free agent starter Mr. Reliable

Moore on O’s new lease: ‘This deal is about Baltimore’

This might be the best value in free agency

Houston Astros Birthdays

RHP Kendall Graveman (33)

3B Austin Deming (24)

RHP Philip Humber (41)

RHP Asher Wojciechowski (35)

RHP Howie Reed (1936-1984)

RHP Joaquín Andújar (1952-2015)

RHP LaTroy Hawkins (51)

Everystros LIII

The final bracket of the countdown is now in full swing. Every player with 501 or more plate transactions with Houston are included, and listed in ascending order of total bWAR (what is it good bFor?) Today’s nine Astros (and Colts) landed between negative-3.4 and negative-2.3 bWAR during their time with the club.

333. Daryle Ward (Bagwell score negative-34.24) is a six-foot-two left-handed leftfielder and first baseman from Lynwood, CA. Born on June 27, 1975, he was a 15th-round choice of the Detroit Tigers in 1994 out of Rancho Santiago College. Prior to reaching the majors, on December 10, 1996, Ward was traded to the Astros, along with Brad Ausmus, José Lima, Trever Miller, and C.J. Nitkowski for Todd Jones, Orlando Miller, Doug Brocail, and Brian Hunter.

Ward made his major league debut with Houston in four games in May, 1998. On May 22, he had the first hit of his career, a single in a 9-6 loss to the San Diego Padres. It was the only hit he collected in that season.

Rookie status still intact, Ward appeared in 64 of Houston’s final 119 games of the 1999 season. On July 26, he pinch hit for Brian Williams with a 5-5 tie score in the ninth against Colorado and drove home Derek Bell with the eventual game-winner in an 8-5 victory against the Rockies. On August 29, he hit a second-inning single and a three-run sixth-inning come-from-behind homer in a 10-4 win against the Florida Marlins. Overall, he hit .273/.311/.473 that season, going 41-for-150 with six doubles, eight homers, and 30 RBI. He fielded at .944 in 203 23 innings in left field and 1.000 in 39 innings at first base.

In 2000, Ward started 54 times in 119 overall appearances, and had multiple-hit games 15 times. On April 10, he hit two home runs for three RBI in an 8-7 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. Throughout the full season, he knocked a career-high 20 homers, hitting .258/.295/.538 with 47 RBI. As a defender, baseball reference has Ward pegged as a well-below-average fielder, which accounts for his lower ranking on this countdown despite his relatively prolific offensive profile. Still, his basic fielding metrics did not raise any red flags. He played 332 innings in left field (.985), and was perfect in 70 23 innings at first base and 34 innings in right field.

Ward began the 2001 season at an MVP-rate for the first three games, going eight-for-13 with four doubles, a home run and eight RBI. On June 22, he singled in the first, got intentionally walked in the sixth, hit a game-tying solo home run in the bottom of the ninth, in an eventual 7-6 10-inning loss to the Cincinnati Reds. Ward appeared in 95 games overall, with a .263/323/.460 line, along with 15 doubles, nine home runs and 39 RBI. He was again a passable defender going by his basic stats, with perfect fielding percentages in 208 23 innings in left field and 33 innings at first base, along with one error in 118 innings in right.

The 2002 campaign would be Ward’s final with the Astros, and would see him appear in a career-high 136 games. Thirty-three times he finished with multiple hits, including July 6, when he hit a double and a homer for four RBI in a 10-2 win against the Pittsburgh Pirates. On August 12, he hit two singles, a double and a home run with three batted in during a 9-6 triumph over the Chicago Cubs. On September 25, he hit two home runs with four RBI in a 7-5 win against the Milwaukee Brewers.

Ward hit .276/.324/.424 with 12 home runs and a career-best 72 RBI in his Houston swan-song. Defensively, he appeared exclusively in left field, putting up a .981 fielding percentage in 936 23 innings.

Over the course of his five seasons in Houston, Ward hit .269/.316/.465 in 418 games, with 49 home runs and 188 RBI. He drew 77 walks and struck out 224 times. Defensively, he was worth negative-31 runs over his collective time with the Astros, which accounts for most of his poor WAR figure.

On January 26, 2003, the Astros traded Ward to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Ruddy Lugo. After his time with the Dodgers (52 games, .183/.211/.193, nine RBI), Ward played for the Pirates (212 games, .256/.313/.434, 27 home runs, 120 RBI), the Washington Nationals (78 games, .308/.390/.567, six home runs, 19 RBI), the Atlanta Braves (20 games, .308/.333/.462, one homer, seven RBI), and the Cubs (168 games, .274/.381/.467, seven home runs, 36 RBI).

332. Wade Blasingame (Bagwell score negative-19.99) is a six-foot-one left-handed pitcher from Deming, NM. Born on November 22, 1943, he made his major league debut with the Milwaukee Braves in 1963, remaining with the team through their move to Atlanta. He ended up playing five seasons in total for the Braves (29-22, 4.24, 437 13 IP, 247 K). On June 15, 1967, the Braves traded Blasingame with PTBNL Brian Murphy to the Astros for PTBNL Derrell Griffith.

Blasingame closed out the 1967 season in Houston’s rotation, starting in 14 of his 15 appearances with the Astros. He registered a Quality Start in only two of them. On July 30 he pitched one of them, pitching six innings, striking out five batters, allowing four hits and three walks for three runs, two of them earned in a 6-5 victory against the New York Mets.

The 1968 season would see Blasingame appear in only 22 games for Houston, 20 of them in relief. In his first appearance of the season, on April 15, he pitched the final four innings of a 1-0, 24-inning win against the Mets. Blasingame kept the Mets to one hit and one walk.

In 1969, Blasingame started five times and made the long walk out of the bullpen 21 times, going 0-5 with one save. The five losses correlated with his five starts, as he lost each of them while allowing his collective opponents an .811 OPS, including an All-Star level .309 batting average (remember this was the year of the pitcher). On August 8, he pitched the final 3 13 scoreless innings, striking out four and allowing only a walk for the save in a 5-2 win against the Montreal Expos.

In 1970, Blasingame joined Houston’s rotation on August 3, and remained there for 13 starts to finish out the season. On August 28, he gave up one run on four hits and a walk while striking out eight batters and going the distance in a 2-1 win against the Mets. In his next start, he held the Padres to one run on four hits and four walks, striking out eight over 8 23 innings for another 2-1 victory, this time over San Diego. The two starts were easily Blasingame’s best through his time to date with the Astros.

In 1971, Blasingame remained in Houston’s rotation for 28 turns, along with two relief appearances. On July 27, he pitched a complete game 5-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies, allowing one run on four hits and zero walks, striking out three. The following season, he pitched 8 13 innings out of the bullpen, giving up nine runs on four hits and eight walks. On June 7, the Astros sent Blasingame to the New York Yankees (0-1, 4.24, 17 IP, 11 K).

In six seasons with Houston, Blasingame was 17-28 with a 4.84 ERA. He struck out 258 and walked 146 in 409 13 innings, with a 1.478 WHIP. As a hitter, he went 16-for-112 with one home run. He fielded at .951, making five errors in 102 total chances.


331. Ryan Bowen (Bagwell score negative-66.44) is a six-foot right-handed pitcher from Hanford, CA. Born on February 19, 1968, he was a first-round choice of Houston in 1986 out of Hanford High School, 13th overall off the board.

Bowen reached the big leagues with the Astros in 1991, and took 13 turns in the rotation starting on July 22. On August 3, he kept the Dodgers to one run on seven hits and two walks over seven innings, striking out five in a 2-1 win against Los Angeles. He easily exceeded his rookie limits that season, and ended it with a 6-4 record and a 5.15 ERA. He struck out 49 and walked 36 in 71 23 innings, with a 1.521 WHIP and a .268/.353/.360 opposing slashline.

Bowen remained with Houston through the first part of the 1992 season, making four starts and two relief appearances through the first 28 games of the campaign. After May, he was relegated to the minor leagues for the following four months, reemerging with the Astros on September 10 for five more turns in the rotation. At no point through his second year with the team did his ERA drop below 10, and he finished at 10.96. He was 0-7 with an opposing slashline of .333/.455/.576. The resultant OPS of 1.031 was positively Yordan-like — which is terrible considering the players that Brown was facing were not Yordan-like.

Bowen went 6-11 with a 7.01 ERA in 105 13 innings, with 66 walks and 71 strikeouts to his credit. He also went five-for-31 at the plate, with one double and three runs scored. As a fielder, he had four putouts and six assists to go with two errors for an .833 fielding percentage. On November 17, 1992, the Astros left Bowen unprotected in the expansion draft, which resulted in the Florida Marlins selecting him. Bowen played three seasons for the Marlins (11-17, 4.49, 220 23 IP, 145 K), concluding his major league career.

330. Héctor Torres Bagwell score negative-49.25) is a six-foot right-handed infielder from Monterrey, MX. Born on September 16, 1945, he reached the major leagues for the first time with the 1968 Houston Astros. In 128 games in total he started 119 times, and collected multiple hits 21 times. On July 5, he hit a two-run single in the second, added a double in the fourth, hit a non-RBI grounder to score a run in the seventh, then added a single in the ninth in a 13-9 win against the Atlanta Braves.

Torres hit .223/.252/.258 overall, with 11 doubles, one triple and one home run. He drew 18 walks against 64 K’s, crossing the plate 44 times and driving in 24. He stole two bases in five attempts, and played 1054 innings at shortstop (24 errors, .958 fielding percentage).

On July 13, 1969, Torres hit a pinch-RBI-double to trim Cincinnati’s lead to 4-3, later in the inning scoring the game-tying run in a 9-6 win against the Reds. On September 7, Torres pinch hit for Johnny Edwards, with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, tied with the Giants 6-6. He then hit a walkoff RBI-single to score Jim Wynn for a 7-6 win against San Francisco. Overall, he appeared in 34 games and went 11-for-69 with a double, a homer, and eight RBI. He also made four errors in 144 23 innings at shortstop for a .944 fielding percentage.

In 1970, Torres went 16-for-65 for Houston with five RBI, and a .947 fielding percentage in 134 23 innings at shortstop. After the season, the Astros sent him to the California Angels as a PTBNL for Jim Weaver.

Torres played the 1971 season with the Chicago Cubs (31 games, .224/.274/.276, two RBI) and 1972 with the Montreal Expos (83 games, .155/.215/.221, two homers, seven RBI). On April 4, 1973, the Astros purchased Torres’ contract from Montreal.

Torres appeared in 38 games for the 1973 Astros, but went just six-for-66 with a pair of RBI and a .955 fielding percentage in 185 23 innings combined between shortstop and second base. After the season, the Astros traded Torres to the Chicago White Sox as a PTBNL for Dan Neumeier. Torres later played for the San Diego Padres (186 games, .235/.281/.314, nine home runs, 41 RBI) and the Toronto Blue Jays (91 games, .241/.282/.346, five home runs, 26 RBI.

After his playing career, Torres went on to manage in the minor leagues for the Blue Jays and the Milwaukee Brewers organizations. Most recently, he headed up Sultanes de Monterrey in 2005, in the Mexican League.

329. Ricky Gutiérrez (Bagwell score negative-21-17) is a six-foot-one right-handed infielder from Miami, FL. Born on May 23, 1970, he was a first-round selection of the Baltimore Orioles in 1988, with the 28th overall choice out of American Senior High School.

By the time he reached the majors, Gutiérrez was a part of the San Diego Padres, and played two seasons for the Friars (223 games, .247/.329/.321, six homers, 54 RBI). On December 28, 1994, he was included with Doug Brocail, Derek Bell, Pedro Martinez, Craig Shipley, and Phil Plantier to Houston for Ken Caminiti, Brian Williams, Roberto Petagine, Steve Finley, and PTBNL Sean Fesh. I think we lost that one.

On June 9, 1996, Gutiérrez singled in the third and stole second base, then hit a two-run, come-from-behind single in the bottom of the seventh in a 2-1 win against the Philadelphia Phillies. On August 1, 1997, Gutiérrez entered as a defensive replacement in the eighth inning of a 1-1 tie with the New York Mets. He then hit a single in the bottom of the inning before coming home on a Craig Biggio home run for a 3-2 lead. Later in the game, the game-tying run came home in the bottom of the ninth on a Gutiérrez ground ball that he beat out on a third-base error, as Houston lost to the Mets, 8-5.

On April 1, 1998, Gutiérrez doubled in the sixth, then singled when Houston was trailing by one in the eight inning against the Giants, scoring the game-tying run on a Brad Ausmus single. Houston eventually beat San Francisco, 7-6. On August 2, he hit a go-ahead two-run double in the bottom of the eighth inning of a 6-2 victory over the Pirates. On September 10, 1999, he hit three singles and a triple with one RBI in a 6-4, 13-inning win against the Cubs.

Gutiérrez played five seasons for the Astros in total, hitting .266/.337/.340 with 59 doubles, 13 triples, seven home runs and 132 RBI. He drew 145 walks and struck out 254 times, scoring 171 runs and stealing 31-of-46 bases. Defensively, he played mostly at shortstop, starting 346 times and fielding at .968 in 3,135 13 innings. He left via free agency on October 28, 1999.

Gutiérrez later played for the Cubs (272 games, .284/.359/.401, 21 home runs, 122 RBI), the Cleveland Indians (110 games, .273/.323/.342, four homers, 41 RBI), the New York Mets (24 games, .175/.257/.206, five RBI) and the Boston Red Sox (21 games, .275/.310/.300, three RBI). He currently serves as the third base coach with the Washington Nationals.

328. Bob Lillis (Bagwell score negative-15.59) is a five-foot-11 infielder from Altadena, CA. Born on June 2, 1930, he made his first major league appearance with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1958, eventually playing in parts of four seasons with the team (117 games, .296/.332/.371, one home run, 14 RBI). He finished the 1961 season with the St. Louis Cardinals (86 games, .217/.245/.235, 21 RBI).

On October 10, 1961, the Houston Colt .45s chose Lillis with the fifth overall selection of the expansion draft. Although Don Buddin owns the honor of being Houston’s Opening Day shortstop, Lillis eventually led the team with 98 starts at the position.

On June 3, Lillis hit three singles and a triple with three RBI in a 10-6 win against the Pittsburgh Pirates. On August 5, he hit four singles with a pair of RBI in a 7-4 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals. On September 8, he hit three singles and a double with one RBI in a 6-5, 10-inning win over the New York Mets.

Those were just three of the 25 multiple-hit games that Lillis authored over Houston’s first-ever season. When the dust settled, Lillis had a .249/.292/.300 line with 12 doubles, four triples, and one home run. He drew 28 walks and struck out 23 times, with 38 runs, 30 RBI, and seven stolen bases. He also demonstrated his utility, with 790 innings at shortstop (.972), 205 innings at second base (.983) and 62 perfect innings at third base.

In 1963, Lillis appeared in a career-high 147 games. On September 5, he hit a game-tying ninth-inning RBI-single with one out in an eventual 5-2 Houston win over the San Francisco Giants. He eventually finished with another 20 multi-hit games, with a .198/.229/.237 line, 13 doubles, one triple, and one home run, along with 15 walks and 35 strikeouts, 31 runs, and 19 RBI. Defensively, he finished with 1037 innings at shortstop (.957), 109 innings at second (.983) and 34 perfect innings at third base.

Lillis repaired his OPS by 138 points in 1964, slashing .268/.291/.313 in 109 games with 11 doubles and two triples in 109 games. He drew 11 walks against 10 strikeouts, with 31 runs and 17 RBI. He also diversified his defensive holdings somewhat, neatly splitting his time between second base (314 13 innings, .995) and shortstop (316 innings, .959). He also had a .958 in 66 13 innings at third base.

Lillis played in 124 games in 1965, slashing .221/.267/.255 with 12 doubles and one triple. He drew 20 walks and only struck out 10 times, scoring 34 and driving in 20. He had 894 innings at shortstop (.968), 65 innings at third base (1.000), and 46 innings at second (.962).

On July 1, 1966, Lillis led off the 11th inning of a 1-1 tie with the Cincinnati Reds by singling, his first hit of the day. In his next plate appearance, he drove home Bob Aspromonte with a two-out double for a 2-1 walkoff win. One-of-nine multiple hit games for Lillis that year, he eventually slashed .232/.260/.268 with six doubles and 11 RBI. He fielded at .954 in 397 13 combined innings between his three favorite positions.

On July 27, 1967, Lillis hit a two-out RBI-single in the sixth inning to close a 3-1 deficit to 3-2, then led off the ninth inning with a double, later scoring the game-tying run in a 5-4 win against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Lillis appeared in 37 games in what would be the final season of his MLB career, hitting .244/.253/.256.

Lillis went into the managerial field after retiring as a player, eventually captaining the 1982 Astros to a 28-23 record. He then stuck around for three seasons, finishing at 276-261. SABR Bio

327. Jordan Lyles (Bagwell score negative-17.37) is a six-foot-five right-handed pitcher from Hartsville, SC. Born on October 19, 1990, he was a first-round pick for Houston in 2008, 38th overall out of Hartsville High School.

Lyles reached the majors in 2011 for the Astros, just in time for the Astros' worst three seasons in franchise history. His first career start came on May 31, when he limited the Cubs to two runs on five hits and zero walks, striking out four over seven innings in a 7-3 win against Chicago. It was one-of-six Quality Starts during Lyles’ maiden voyage, which would conclude with a 2-8 record and a 5.36 ERA in 94 games. He struck out 67 in 94 innings, walking 26 and authoring a 1.415 WHIP.

In 2012, Lyles made 25 rotational starts for Houston, with 10 of them Quality Starts. The best of those were in his final start of the season, when he went the distance and held the Brewers to one walk and four hits in a 7-0 victory. In 141 13 innings overall, Lyles was 5-12 with a 5.09 ERA and 99 strikeouts and 42 walks and a 1.422 WHIP.

Lyles made another 25 starts for Houston in 2013, pitching a nearly identical 141 23 innings and an exactly identical 10 Quality Starts. On May 28, he held the Rockies to one run on six hits and three walks over seven innings, striking out three in a hard-luck 2-1 loss to Colorado. On June 12, Lyles gave up three hits, two walks, and no runs over seven innings, striking out 10 in a 6-1 victory over the Seattle Mariners. He finished the season at 7-9 with a 5.59 ERA and 93 strikeouts in 141 23 innings. He walked 49 and finished with a 1.511 WHIP.

After three seasons with the Astros, Lyles was 14-29 with a 5.35 ERA and a 1.454 WHIP. On December 3, 2013, Houston traded Lyles with Brandon Barnes to the Rockies for Dexter Fowler. After parts of four seasons with Colorado (13-16, 5.22, 281 IP, 185 K), Lyles played for the San Diego Padres (3-7, 5.53, 94 13 IP, 84 K), the Milwaukee Brewers (1-0, 3.31, 16 13 IP, 22 K), the Pittsburgh Pirates (5-7, 5.36, 82 13 IP, 90 K), the Brewers again (7-1, 2.45, 58 23 IP, 56 K), the Texas Rangers (11-19, 5.60, 237 23 IP, 182 K), the Baltimore Orioles (12-11, 4.42, 179 IP, 144 K, and the Kansas City Royals (6-17, 6.28, 177 23 IP, 120 K). Still listed on Kansas City’s 40-man unit, Lyles is projected to pitch 166 innings in 2024 by Baseball Reference.

326. Felipe Paulino (Bagwell score negative-28.13) is a six-foot-three right-handed pitcher from Santo Domingo, DR. Born on October 5, 1983, he initially reached the major league level in 2007 with the Astros. In five September appearances, he made two trips out of the pen and three starts. Although his overall line wasn’t impressive, he started Houston’s last game of the season and struck out three over six scoreless innings, giving up two hits and three walks in a 3-0 win against the Atlanta Braves. Paulino ended the season with a 1.526 WHIP, a 2-1 record, and a 7.11 ERA.

In 2008 Spring Training, Paulino exited with an injury on March 10, and was limited to one regular-season appearance with the organization, just 23 of an inning for the Round Rock Express. In 2009, Paulino started in 17 of his 23 pitching appearances at the parent-club level for Houston, putting up a 3-11 record and a 6.27 ERA, with 93 strikeouts in 97 23 innings and a 1.669 WHIP. On April 19, he struck out six Reds in as many innings, holding Cincinnati to no runs on three hits and two walks in an eventual 4-2 Houston loss. On June 27, he struck out nine and gave up one run (a solo homer) on three hits and no walks over seven innings to earn the win by defeating the Detroit Tigers, 8-1.

In 2010, Paulino made another 14 starts in the rotation and another five relief appearances for the Astros. On May 8, he struck out 11 Padres in seven innings, allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits and no walks in a 2-1 loss to San Diego. On May 30, he earned no decision after pitching eight shutout innings against the Reds, although Houston did beat Cincinnati, 2-0. He finished the season 1-9 with a 5.11 ERA and 83 strikeouts in 91 23 innings.

In his three seasons with the Astros, Paulino was 6-21 with a 5.83 ERA. He struck out 187 in 208 13 innings, walking 90 and finishing with a 1.598 WHIP. His 4.51 FIP indicates that maybe he wasn’t as bad as his ERA was showing, but his days in Houston were at an end either way. On November 18, 2010, the Astros traded him to the Colorado Rockies for Clint Barmes.

Paulino played another three major league seasons, making appearances for the Rockies (0-4, 7.36, 14 23 IP, 14 K), the Kansas City Royals (7-7, 3.55, 162 13 IP, 158 K), and the Chicago White Sox (0-2, 11.29, 18 13 IP, 14 K).

325. Bob Forsch (Bagwell score negative-40.83) was a six-foot-four right-handed pitcher from Sacramento, CA. Born on January 13, 1950, he was a 26th-round choice of the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1968 draft out of Hiram W. Johnson High School.

Forsch enjoyed a 15-season-long career with the Cardinals, starting 1974 and ending in mid-1988. Over that time, he pitched 2,658 23 innings and posted a 163-127 record with a 3.67 ERA and 1079 strikeouts against 780 walks. On August 31, 1988, his Cardinals career came to an end when they traded him to the Astros for Denny Walling.

Forsch impressed in his Houston debut, punching out five over eight innings of shutout ball against the Cincinnati Reds, in an eventual 3-0 win for the Astros. After that? He surrendered a 9.15 ERA and a .411/.426/.556 slashline in 104 batters faced to close the season at 1-4 for Houston with a 6.51 ERA.

On April 13, 1989, Forsch pitched the final four innings of a 4-2, 15-inning win over the Los Angeles Dodgers, allowing just one hit to run his early-season record to 1-0. On June 15, he struck out two over seven shutout innings, scattering four hits and a pair of walks in an eventual 2-1 loss to the Dodgers.

Overall, Forsch went 4-5 with a 5.32 ERA and 40 strikeouts in 108 13 innings. He started in 15 of his 37 appearances through his final major league season, finishing with a 1.652 WHIP. SABR Bio

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