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Astros Crawfish Boil: December 23, 2023

Welcome to the Friday Boil (except it’s Saturday)!

Taylor Buchholz
| Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

It’s the Christmas Weekend Boil!

It’s a bonus Saturday Boil, with Everystros LIV.

Houston Astros News

Astros linked to intriguing international free agent reliever (CTH)

They’re tremendous players (SportsKeeda) Joe Espada talks about Jose Altuve and Alex Bregman.

Could Astros’ Framber Valdez Be In Trouble With a Shorter Pitch Clock? (SportsTalk 790)

AL West News

A’s — Big oversight in A’s relocation plans? Las Vegas is Dodgers territory (SF Chronicle)

M’s — Nolan Jones, Bryce Miller the KEY to First Mariners-Rockies Trade in Years? (Local Memphis)

Halos — Jake Marisnick Added On Minor League Contract (Yardbarker)

Mall Cops — Tyler Mahle’s hilarious ‘hungover’ response to Rangers reaching out after winning World Series (ClutchPoints)

MLB News

MLB is broken (AZ Snake Pit)

What did Yankees, Mets offer Yamamoto?

Ryan Minor, who replaced Ripken to end the streak, passes away at 49

Love ’em or hate ’em, you’re going to watch these Dodgers

Verdugo wants to ‘see some fire, some fight for the guys’ from his manager

Most stunning offseason trades in history

Houston Astros Birthdays

Saturday

RHP Shawn Chacón (46)

RHP Brad Lidge (47)

RHP Rick White (55)

RHP Al Cicotte (1929-1982)

Sunday

None

Monday

CF Willy Taveras (42)

OF Ty Gainey (63)

IF Julio González (71)

2B Nellie Fox (1927-1975)

Everystros LIV

324. Ron Taylor (Bagwell score negative-45.56) is a six-foot-one right-handed pitcher from Toronto, CA. Born on December 17, 1937, Taylor was 24-years-old when he reached the major leagues in 1962 with the Cleveland Indians.

After a year with Cleveland (2-2, 5.94, 33 13 IP, 15 K), Taylor joined the St. Louis Cardinals (19-12, 3.75, 278 13 IP, 186 K). On June 15, 1965, the Cardinals traded Taylor with Mike Cuellar to Houston for Chuck Taylor and Hal Woodeshick.

Upon joining the Astros, Taylor immediately slotted in as a low-to-mid-level reliever (0.80 aLI). Of 26 inherited runners, he stranded 21 (81 percent). His 6.40 ERA with Houston belied his actual skill level, his 3.45 FIP was a lot closer to the truth. On July 18, he struck out one batter over four shutout innings, scattering four hits and no walks to earn the W in a 5-2 victory over the San Francisco Giants.

Taylor pitched 32 times for the 1965 Astros, starting once. He was 1-5 with four saves, with 37 strikeouts in 57 23 innings. He walked 16 and authored a 1.457 WHIP, with an opposing slashline of .288/.344/.459.

Taylor remained in Houston’s bullpen for the 1966 campaign, again making one start over the course of the season. He also made 35 trips out of the pen. He had a 1.531 WHIP and a 2-3 record with a 5.71 ERA and a 3.36 FIP. Although not much of a swing-and-miss guy (29 K’s in 64 23 innings), he also didn’t miss the strike zone very much (10 walks issued). On July 2, he pitched the final 3 13 innings of a 6-3 win against the Reds, holding Cincinnati to no runs on one hit and no walks.

On February 10, 1967, the New York Mets purchased Taylor’s contract from the Astros. After five years with New York (21-21, 3.04, 361 IP, 197 K), Taylor spent his final major league season with the San Diego Padres (0-0, 12.60, 5 IP, 0 K).

323. Eric Yelding (Bagwell score negative-22.09) is a five-foot-11 right-handed middle infielder and centerfielder from Montrose, AL. Born on February 22, 1965, he was a first-round selection of the Toronto Blue Jays in 1984, with the 19th overall selection out of Chipola College.

Yelding reached the major leagues for the first time in 1989. On August 6, he singled and stole a base in the fifth, got HBP and stole a base in the seventh, and hit a go-ahead, RBI-single in the eighth inning of a 3-2 win over the San Francisco Giants. In 70 game in total, he hit .233/.290/.256, going 21-for-90 with two doubles. He drew seven walks versus 19 strikeouts, with 11 steals, 19 runs scored, and nine RBI.

In 1990, Yelding, appeared in a career-high 142 games, and slashed .254/.305/.297, going 130-for-511 with nine doubles, five triples, and a homer. He drew 39 walks against 87 strikeouts, stealing 64 bases, scoring 69 runs, and driving 28 in. Thirty-three times Yelding collected more than one hit, including seven times when he hit three or more. On July 25, he hit two singles and two doubles with a walk, two stolen bases, two RBI, and one run scored in a 5-1 win over the Atlanta Braves.

In 1991, Yelding slashed .243/.276/.301, going 67-for-276 with 11 doubles, a triple, and a home run. He stole another 11 bases, drawing 13 walks with 46 strikeouts, scoring 19 runs and driving in 20. On June 6, Yelding hit an RBI-sacrifice fly in the second, a single in the fourth, a bunt-single and the game-tying run in the eighth, and a walkoff two-run single in the bottom of the ninth to defeat the Montreal Expos, 9-8.

Yelding only appeared in nine games for the 1992 Astros, going two-for-eight with one run scored. Over the course of his stay with the team, he played 1005 13 innings at shortstop (.950), 135 innings at second base (.958), 768 23 innings in the outfield (.961), and 6 13 innings at third base (.667). On July 10, 1992, Yelding was traded to the Chicago White Sox as a PTBNL for Rich Scheid.

322. Frank LaCorte (Bagwell score negative-17.20) is a six-foot-one pitcher from San Jose, CA. Born on October 13, 1951, he reached the major leagues for the first time in 1975 with the Atlanta Braves, playing parts of five seasons with the team (4-24, 6.23, 179 IP, 130 K). On May 25, 1979 the Braves sent LaCorte to the Astros for Bo McLaughlin.

LaCorte appeared in 12 games to close out the 1979 season with Houston, starting three of them and making nine trips out of the bullpen. A low-leverage reliever (0.51 aLI), LaCorte stranded all five of his inherited baserunners. He pitched to a 5.00 ERA in 27 innings of work, striking out 24 and walking 10 with a 1.148 WHIP.

In 1980, LaCorte pitched 55 times in relief, going 8-5 with a 2.82 ERA, while striking out 66 and walking 43 in 83 innings for a 1.253 WHIP. With an aLI over triple the value from the season just past (1.57), LaCorte stranded 31-of-33 inherited runners. That’s really good. On June 24, he pitched the final 2 13 innings of a 5-4, 12-inning win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. On August 15, he pitched the 11th through the 15th, keeping the Padres scoreless over 4 23 innings in an eventual 3-1, 20-inning win over San Diego. On August 22, he earned the win by holding the Cubbies scoreless over the final five innings of a 3-2, 12-inning Houston win over Chicago.

In 1981, LaCorte pitched in 37 games for Houston. On September 6, he pitched the final two innings of a 4-3, 12-inning win against the Expos, holding Montreal scoreless and striking out one batter. He was 4-2 with a 3.64 ERA over 42 innings, with 40 strikeouts and 21 walks for a 1.476 WHIP. With a 1.23 aLI, he let 10-of-27 inherited runners to cross the plate.

1982 would see LaCorte pitch in another 55 games out of the bullpen for the Astros. by this time, he pitched with a 1.09 aLI as a more mid-level relief pitcher, and allowed 13-of-38 runners to score. On July 21, he earned his second save of the season by pitching a perfect final 1 23 innings in a 2-1 win against the Chicago Cubs. On September 22, he earned his sixth save by pitching a hitless and scoreless ninth and striking out a pair in a 3-2 win against the Atlanta Braves. He was 1-5 overall with a 4.48 ERA and a 1.533 WHIP in 76 13 innings. He walked 46 while striking out 51.

In 1983, LaCorte went 4-4 in his final season with the Astros, with a 5.06 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 53 13 innings. On April 24, he struck out a batter in 1 23 innings of a 3-2 win against the Philadelphia Phillies.

On December 8, 1983, LaCorte signed with the California Angels through free agency and played one season with the team (1-2, 7.06, 29 13 IP, 13 K). In the end, he was 18-18 in five seasons for Houston, with a 4.03 ERA and 229 K’s in 281 23 innings.

321. Doug Konieczny (Bagwell score negative-18.95) is a six-foot-four right-handed pitcher from Detroit, MI. Born on September 27, 1951, he was a 23rd-round choice of the Detroit Tigers in 1969 out of high school. In 1971, he was again chosen in the draft, in the first round of the January draft out of St. Clair County Community College with the fourth overall choice.

Konieczny reached the majors with the Astros in 1973, taking two turns in the rotation in September. In his major league debut, he pitched a quality start, holding the Padres to two runs over six innings, giving up five hits and no walks in an eventual 4-2 win over San Diego. He ended up striking out six and walking four over 13 innings in total, finishing with a 5.54 ERA and a 1.231 WHIP.

In 1974, Konieczny made three starts and three relief appearances for Houston, all in the first third of the season. In his first appearance, on April 13, he pitched two scoreless innings and struck out a batter, unfortunately also striking a batter but facing the minimum in an eventual 6-3 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. His brief look resulted in a 7.88 ERA and a 1.875 WHIP, with 12 walks and only eight strikeouts in 16 innings.

The 1975 campaign would represent the bulk of Konieczny’s major league experience. He spent most of the season as part of Houston’s rotation, making 29 starts. Thirteen of those were quality starts. On May 30, he struck out eight in a 5-0 win against the Philadelphia Phillies. He went the distance, scattering seven hits and a pair of walks. On July 22, he struck out seven and limited the Expos to one run on six hits and a walk over nine innings. He was relieved after completing nine innings, and Montreal eventually won, 2-1 in 11.

Konieczny was 6-13 with a 4.47 ERA in his only full season as a major league starter. He walked 87 and struck out 89 over 171 innings, with a 1.585 WHIP. After spending the entire 1976 season in the minor leagues with the Memphis Blues, the Astros Triple-A affiliate in the International League (6-10, 6.09, 105 IP, 48 K), he rejoined Houston at their major league level to start the 1977 season.

Konieczny started 1977 as Houston’s number four starter. On April 16, in his antepenultimate major league game, he pitched his only Quality Start of the season, holding the Braves to two runs on six hits over six innings. He struck out two and walked two, in an eventual 4-3 loss to Atlanta.

320. Brian Williams (Bagwell score negative-11.87) is a six-foot-three right-handed pitcher from Lancaster, SC. Born on February 15, 1969, he was a third-round choice of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1987 out of high school. In 1990, the Astros took him in the first round, 31st overall out of the University of South Carolina.

Williams reached the majors with the Astros just one year later, appearing in two games for Houston near the end of the season. His first ever start, on September 16, 1991, was a Quality Start. He struck out two over seven innings, and allowed three runs on six hits and three walks to earn the loss in a 6-1 setback at the hands of San Diego.

In 1992, Williams made 16 starts for Houston between mid-June and mid-September, racking up a 7-6 record and a 3.92 ERA. Eleven were Quality Starts, including his best game of the year (by GameScore), when he held the Dodgers to one run on two hits and two walks, also striking out a pair in a 5-1 win against Los Angeles. On August 21, he struck out seven in seven innings and held the Phillies to one run on five hits and three walks in a 6-1 win over Philadelphia. He finished the year with a 1.391 WHIP, with 42 walks and 54 strikeouts in 96 13 innings.

The 1993 campaign would see Williams moved primarily to the bullpen, where he relieved 37 times and started only five times. On May 31, he pitched one of his best games of the season in a spot-start against the Expos. He held Montreal to one run on three hits and three walks over seven innings, also striking out seven batters in an eventual 2-1 victory. Maybe a little unfairly, Williams earned no decision. On June 24, he erased two inherited runners in the seventh and went on to pitch two scoreless innings in a 1-0 win against the Dodgers.

In 82 innings through 1993, Williams was 4-4 with a 4.83 ERA, a 1.390 WHIP, and 56 strikeouts versus 38 walks in 82 innings. He stuck around for the first four months of the 1994 season (before the rest of the season was called), and went 6-5 with a 5.74 ERA and a 1.953 WHIP over 78 13 innings.

After the season, Williams, along with Ken Caminiti, Andújar Cedeño, Steve Finley, Roberto Petagine & PTBNL Sean Fesh to the San Diego Padres for Derek Bell, Doug Brocail, Ricky Gutiérrez, Pedro Martinez, Craig Shipley, and Phil Plantier. After his time with the Padres (3-10, 6.00, 72 IP, 75 K), Williams played for the Detroit Tigers (3-10, 6.77, 121 IP, 72 K) and the Baltimore Orioles (0-0, 3.00, 24 IP, 14 K).

On January 21, 1999, Houston resigned Williams through free agency. He appeared in 50 games for the Astros through the season, ranking third on the team. He struck out 53 in 67 13 innings, walking 35. Williams was 2-1 with a 4.41 ERA and a 1.545 WHIP. Granted free agency once more following the season, Williams later played with the Chicago Cubs (1-1, 9.62, 24 13 IP, 14 K) and the Cleveland Indians (0-0, 4.00, 18 IP, six K).

319. Julio González (Bagwell score negative-19.65) is a five-foot-11 right-handed infielder from Caguas, PR. Born on December 25, 1952, he reached the majors for the first time in 1977, and played in a career-high 110 games. He was 94-for-383 with 18 doubles, three triples, and one home run. He drew 19 walks, scored 34 runs, drove in 27, and stole three bases in six attempts. He started in 96 games, and collected multiple hits 20 times.

On April 24, González hit a third-inning RBI-double, then singled and scored the game-tying run in the bottom of the ninth to extend their game against the Padres into extra innings. Rob Sperring eventually walked San Diego off with an RBI-single off Rollie Fingers for a 9-8 Houston victory. On May 4, he hit a game-tying RBI-single in the ninth inning then added the go-ahead single in the 11th in a 5-4 win over the Chicago Cubs. Defensively, he played 489 23 innings at shortstop (.921) and 378 innings at second base (.968).

In 1978, González played in 78 games, starting 38 games at second (368 innings, .983), 10 games at shortstop (99 13 innings, .917), and once at third base (14 innings, 1.000). He collected multiple hits a dozen times, including three singles on September 9 in a 10-4 win against the San Diego Padres. Overall he slashed .233/.263/.269, going 52-for-223 with three doubles, a triple and one home run. He drew five walks, scored 16 runs, drove 10 runs in, and stole six bases in seven attempts.

Gonzalez hit .249/.280/.298 in 68 games in 1979 for Houston, going 45-for-181 with five doubles and two triples. He drew five walks against 14 strikeouts, scoring 16 runs and driving 10 in and stealing two-of-three bases. He started 44 times, and finished with multiple hits 11 times. On July 21, he hit a single, a double, and a triple with two RBI and a run scored in a 6-5 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Defensively, he played 243 innings at second base (.987), 138 13 innings at shortstop (.966), and 28 innings at third base (1.000).

In 1980, González appeared in 40 games for Houston, but only started seven times and only had multiple hits twice. He was six-for-52 with one double, one walk, eight strikeouts, five runs scored, and one RBI, with one stolen base. He played 72 13 innings at short (1.000), 33 innings at third (.917), and three innings at second (1.000).

On March 27, 1981, nearing the end of Spring Training, the Astros released González outright. He subsequently played for the St. Louis Cardinals (62 games, .257/.277/.385, two home runs, 10 RBI) and the Detroit Tigers (12 games, .143/.182/.190, two RBI).

318. Bo Belinsky (Bagwell score negative-29.94) was a six-foot-two left-handed pitcher from New York, NY. Born on December 7, 1936, Belinsky reached the majors initially with the Los Angeles Angels in 1962, and played three seasons with the club (21-28, 3.74, 399 13 IP, 296 K). He then played two seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies (4-11, 4.61, 125 IP, 79 K).

On November 28, 1966, the Astros selected Belinsky in the rule 5 draft. He served as a starter and as a reliever for Houston, relieving nine times against 18 starts. On April 23, he pitched five scoreless innings in relief, holding the Reds to one hit and one walk in an eventual 5-3 loss to Cincinnati. On September 10, he went the distance, striking out six and walking six but holding the Dodgers scoreless on three hits in a 1-0 victory over Los Angeles.

Belinsky went 3-9 in total, with a 4.68 ERA and 80 strikeouts in 115 13 innings. He walked 54 and uncorked 16 wild pitches, also hitting eight batters and finishing with a 1.439 WHIP. Opponents slashed .255/.345/.415 in 510 PA.

After not appearing in the majors in 1968, Belinsky was again taken in the rule 5 draft by the St. Louis Cardinals, but was purchased by the California Angels before the start of the 1969 season. Still down in the minors mid-season, the Pittsburgh Pirates purchased his contract from the Halos. After playing with the Bucs (0-3, 4.58, 17 23 IP, 15 K), Belinsky later played with Cincinnati (0-0, 4.50, eight IP, six K).

317. Taylor Buchholz (Bagwell score negative-29.85) is a six-foot-three right-handed pitcher from Lower Merion, PA. Born on October 13, 1981, he was taken in the sixth round of the 2000 draft out of Springfield High School by the Philadelphia Phillies. On November 3, 2003, the Phils traded Buchholz with Ezequiel Astacio and Brandon Duckworth to the Astros for Billy Wagner.

Buchholz reached the bigs with the Astros in 2006, his only season with Houston. He joined the rotation for 19 turns starting in mid-April through the end of July, also making three relief appearances. On April 22, he came within one batter of a complete game, striking out five, walking zero, and holding the Pirates scoreless on two hits and an HBP over 8 23 innings of a 3-0 win against Pittsburgh. On May 21, he went the distance against the Rangers, striking out six and holding Texas scoreless on five hits and no walks, leading the Astros to a 5-0 win. On July 1, he again pwned the Rangers, striking out six over seven shutout innings on two hits and three walks in a 7-0 win against Texas.

Buchholz went 6-10 with a 5.89 for Houston, striking out 77 in 113 innings. He only walked 34, and finished with a 1.248 WHIP. At the plate, he was one-for-30 with four sacrifice hits. On December 12, the Astros traded him with Jason Hirsh and Willy Tavarez to the Colorado Rockies for Miguel Asencio and Jason Jennings.

Buchholz played three seasons with the Rockies (13-11, 3.44, 170 IP, 126 K), later playing for the Toronto Blue Jays (0-0, 0.00, two IP, zero K), and the New York Mets (1-1, 3.12, 26 IP, 26 K).

316. Dick Drott (Bagwell score negative-29.28) was a six-foot right-handed pitcher from Cincinnati, OH. Born on July 1, 1936, he made his first major league appearances with the Chicago Cubs, starting in 1957 and lasting for five seasons (24-34, 4.68, 577 IP, 392 K). On October 10, 1961, the Houston Colt .45s drafted Drott in the expansion draft, with the seventh overall choice.

Drott played three games in relief in July, totaling five innings and allowing four hits, three runs (two earned), with two strikeouts and two walks. He played another three games with the parent club in September, including his first start on September 18. He struck out five over 5 13 innings, allowing three runs on three hits and six walks, earning the win in an 8-6 final against the New York Mets.

Drott remained with the Colts in 1963, appearing in 27 games. On May 11, in the second game of a doubleheader, he pitched eight shutout innings, walking four and allowing four hits while striking out six in a 1-0 win over the Chicago Cubs. On May 20, he pitched a shutout, striking out seven and allowing two walks and five hits in a 2-0 win against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Over his two seasons with the team, Drott was 3-12 with a 5.29 ERA. He allowed 73 runs (65 earned) in 110 23 innings, alowing 58 walks and 107 hits while striking out 68. He had a 1.491 WHIP.

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