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Astros Crawfish Boil: December 4, 2023

Welcome back to the Boil.

Ronel Blanco
| Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

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Houston Astros News

Astros’ new execs prep for Winter Meetings

Astros, Diamondbacks Interested In Tucker Barnhart (MLBTR)

The Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox are interested in Dominican Domingo Germán (East Africa News Post)

MLB rumors: Astros don’t want to trade Alex Bregman, but there’s a catch (ClutchPoints)

All Astros’ fans want for Christmas… (Chipalatta)

AL West News

Oakland AthleticsMuch At Stake This Week For The “99 Cent Store” A’s (Athletics Nation)

Texas RangersRangers alter Winter Meetings priorities

Seattle MarinersAnalysis: Here’s what fans should expect from Mariners at winter meetings (The Seattle Times)

Los Angeles Angels — Angels’ late-season maneuverings got them under luxury tax threshold (The Athletic)

MLB News

Leyland, postseason manager extraordinaire, elected to Hall

Could a former Cy Young finalist be dealt for Soto?

What does your team need to accomplish in Nashville?

Sunday Notes: John Mozeliak Addresses an Anomalous Losing Season in St. Louis (Fangraphs)

JAWS and the 2024 Hall of Fame Ballot: Joe Mauer (Fangraphs)

Houston Astros Birthdays

Saturday

RHP Darryl Kile (1968-2022)

SS Luis Colon (20)

RHP Derek West (27)

Sunday

RHP Jerry Johnson (1943-2021)

RHP Dave Eilers (87)

RHP Porfirio Ramos (20)

Today

RHP Joe Musgrove (31)

CF Carlos Gómez (38)

RHP Jerome Williams (42)

LHP Gustavo Chacin (43)

RF Colin Barber (23)

2B Lee Bales (79)


Today’s countdown features 11 players who totaled between 101 and 500 plate transactions while with the team. The first nine players listed here were replacement level with the team, and the two at the end were just a hair above the watermark.

Everystros XXXVIII

484. Scott Moore is a six-foot-two left-handed batting infielder from Long Beach, CA. Born on November 17, 1983, he was a first-round choice of the Detroit Tigers in 2002 out of Cypress HS, with the eighth overall choice.

Moore first reached the bigs with the Chicago Cubs in 2006, and played parts of two seasons with them (18 games, .233/.283/.419, two home runs, five RBI) before joining the Baltimore Orioles (62 games, .220/.266/.355, five home runs, 22 RBI).

On November 15, 2011, Moore signed with the Astros through free agency. In his season with Houston, he put up his only career seasonal OPS+ above average, at 109. In 72 games (out of Houston’s final 87 games of the year), he went 52-for-201 with 11 doubles and nine home runs, with 26 RBI and a .259/.330/.448 slashline.

Moore had a dozen multiple-hit games in his season with Houston, including a pair of two-hit efforts. On August 14, Moore hit a single and two doubles with two runs scored and two RBI in a 10-1 win against the Cubs. On September 16, he hit a single and a two-run homer in a 7-6 win against the Philadelphia Phillies. As a defender for Houston, Moore played 179 13 innings at third base, making five errors for a .900 fielding percentage. He also logged 136 13 innings at first base (.993), as well as finishing with perfect fielding percentages at the other three spots he manned — 80 23 innings in right field, 36 innings at second base, and nine in left field. The Astros granted his free agency following the season, but Moore didn’t get back to the majors again.

483. Merritt Ranew was a five-foot-11 lefty-batting and righty-throwing catcher from Valdosta, GA. Born on May 10, 1938, he reached the major leagues with the Houston National League baseball team in 1962, then known as the Colt .45s. In 12 games throughout the season, he provided multiple hits in 12 games.

On April 22, Ranew collected four hits in a 17-inning 5-5 tie against the St. Louis Cardinals, falling a double short of the cycle. On May 9, he hit a single and a pair of triples in a 9-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. On June 7, he hit a game-tying single with two out in the bottom of the ninth, in an eventual 3-2 win over the Milwaukee Braves.

Ranew slashed out a .234/.287/.390 line in his season with the Colts, going 51-for-218 with six doubles, eight triples, and four home runs. He drew 14 walks, scored 26 runs, and drove in 24, stealing two bases in four attempts. On March 28, 1963, the Colts sent Ranew with Hal Haydel and Dick LeMay to the Chicago Cubs for Dave Gerard and Danny Murphy. None of the four other players involved in the deal ever appeared with Houston at their major league level.

After his time with the Cubs (94 games, .294/.342/.396, three home runs, 16 RBI, Ranew later played with the Braves (nine games, two-for-17), the California Angels (41 games, .209/.260/.286, one home run, 10 RBI) and the Seattle Pilots (54 games, .247/.330/.272, four RBI).

482. Ronel Blanco is a six-foot right-handed pitcher from Santiago, DR. Born on August 31, 1993, he reached the majors for the first time as a member of the Astros in 2022. In seven appearances, he struck out seven in 6 13 innings, with a 7.11 ERA.

Blanco earned a return date with the 2023 club, and served both as a spot starter and as a long-reliever, totaling 52 innings in 17 appearances, including seven starts. On April 1, in his first appearance of the season, he struck out four over two innings of hitless relief, in a 6-4 victory over the Chicago White Sox.

Blanco logged a Quality Start in three of his seven starts. The best he put up, as measured by GameScore, was on July 6 against Seattle. Blanco took the loss, striking out nine in six innings while allowing three runs on three hits and two walks in a 5-1 loss to the Mariners.

Blanco spent his rookie status with the Astros this season. He was 2-1 with a 4.50 ERA and 52 K’s in as many innings. He walked 28 and allowed 49 hits for a 1.481 WHIP. Of particular concern is Blanco’s ability to limit the long ball, as opponents hit 12 through the season. Blanco remains on Houston’s 40-man roster.

481. Alex Presley is a five-foot-10 left-handed outfielder from Monroe, LA. Born on July 25, 1985, he was an eighth-round pick in 2006 out of the University of Mississippi by the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Presley played parts of four seasons for the Bucs (204 games, .261/.299/.419, 16 home runs, 49 RBI), and later played part of the 2013 season with the Minnesota Twins (28 games, .283/.336/.363, one home run, 11 RBI.) On March 27, 2014, the Astros took the opportunity to claim Presley off waivers from the Twins.

Presley collected multiple hits in 17 of his 89 games for Houston through the season, but was hitless in over half of his appearances. On June 28, he hit a single and a home run for all of Houston’s offense in a 4-3 loss to the Detroit Tigers. On September 21, he hit a double and a pair of singles for two RBI in an 8-3 win against the Seattle Mariners. In 2015 he went three-for-12 in eight major league appearances.

In 97 games in total for the Astros, Presley hit .244/.283/.342, six home runs, 20 RBI, five stolen bases). He played 606 combined innings in the outfield with the team, making zero errors across two seasons. Houston granted Presley his free agency following the 2015 season.

Presley later played with the Milwaukee Brewers (47 games, .198/.271/.293, three homers, 11 RBI) and the Detroit TIgers (74 games, .312/.351/.412, three home runs, 20 RBI).

480. Jim Corsi was a six-foot-one right-handed pitcher from Newton, MA. Born on September 9, 1961, he was a 25th-round selection of the New York Yankees in 1982, out of Saint Leo University. He reached the major leagues for the first time in 1988 with the Oakland Athletics (33 games, 1-3, 2.56, 59 23 IP, 31 K).

On March 19, 1991, Corsi signed with the Astros to a free agent deal. In his season with Houston, he ranked second in the bullpen with 77 23 innings (to 81 23 for Al Osuna). With an aLi of 0.60, Corsi’s chances at high WPA were limited to such a degree that he didn’t top 0.100 in any of his 47 appearances through the season. On August 14, he struck out three over two shutout innings in a 4-1 loss to the San Diego Padres.

Corsi was 0-5 with a 3.71 ERA and 53 K’s versus 23 walks. He gave up 37 runs (32 earned) on 76 hits, with a 1.275 WHIP and a 3.38 FIP with Houston. The team released him after the season.

Corsi went on to play a second tour with the A’s (4-2, 1.43, 44 IP, 19 K), the Florida Marlins (0-2, 6.64, 20 13 IP, seven K), a third tour with Oakland (8-4, 3.34, 118 23 IP, 69 K), the Boston Red Sox (9-7, 3.35, 147 23 IP, 103 K), and the Baltimore Orioles (0-1, 2.70, 13 13 IP, eight K).

479. L.J. Hoes is a six-foot right-handed outfielder from Washington, DC. Born on March 5, 1990, he was a third-round pick of the Baltimore Orioles in the 2008 draft, out of St. John’s College HS. He reached the majors with them in 2012, and went 0-for-four over parts of two seasons. On July 31, 2013, the O’s sent Hoes with Josh Hader and a 2014 competitive balance round “A” pick to Houston (eventually Derek Fisher) for Bud Norris.

After joining Houston, Hoes reported directly to the parent-club and appeared in 45 of their final 57 games of the season. He collected multiple hits in 14 of those games, including a pair of three-hit games. On August 16, he hit a single, a double, and a triple in an 8-2 win over the Los Angeles Angels. Two days later, he hit two singles and a solo home run in a 7-5 victory against the Angels.

Hoes hit .287/.337/.371 for Houston in his best major league season. He was 48-for-167 with seven doubles, two triples, and a home run, with 12 walks. He scored 24 runs and drove in 10, stealing seven bases in eight attempts. As a defender, he played 378 13 innings in the outfield, mostly in right (361 23). With four errors, he posted a .956 fielding percentage, and projected as a well-below average outfielder (minus-6 DRS, extrapolated to minus-20 over a full season).

On July 22, Hoes hit a go-ahead solo home run in the top of the 12th, in a shortly thereafter completed 3-2 win against the Oakland Athletics. In total, he played 55 games with Houston in 2014, hitting 21-for-122 with five doubles and three homers with 10 walks for a .172/.230/.287 slash. He scored 12 runs and drove 11 in, with 31 strikeouts. His defensive numbers were again suboptimal, with a .974 fielding percentage in 328 13 innings and minus-18 DRS / 1200 innings).

Hoes went four-for-15 in eight games with the 2015 Astros. After the season, the Orioles purchased his contract back from Houston. He didn’t return to the majors.

478. Curt Schilling is a six-foot-five right-handed pitcher from Anchorage, AK. Born on November 14, 1966, he was a second-round pick for the Boston Red Sox in 1986, out of Yavapai College. Before getting to the majors, the Red Sox traded Schilling and Brady Anderson to the Baltimore Orioles for Mike Boddicker. In three seasons with the Orioles, he pitched in 44 games, starting five and going 1-6 with a 4.54 ERA, 42 strikeouts in 69 13 innings, and a 1.471 WHIP.

On January 10, 1991, the O’s traded Schilling with Steve Finley (38) and Pete Harnisch to Houston for Glenn Davis (24). In his first game with the Astros, on April 11, Schilling earned a save with a scoreless 2 13 inning appearance, striking out four and giving up just a meaningless single in a 4-1 victory against the Cincinnati Reds. On April 24, he struck out four over three shutout innings, holding the Reds scoreless in an eventual 1-0, 13-inning three-hit victory against Cincinnati (Schilling allowed two of them, losing the combined no-hitter in the ninth inning).

Schilling ranked second on the Astros with 56 appearances, behind only Al Osuna’s 71. He was 3-5 with eight saves, striking out 71 in 75 23 innings and posting a 3.81 ERA and a 1.559 WHIP. On April 2, 1992, the Astros traded Schilling to the Philadelphia Phillies for Jason Grimsley.

After Schilling spent nine seasons with the Phillies (101-78, 3.35, 1659 13 IP, 1554 K, three-time All-Star, 1998 ML-leading 268 23 IP), he played with the Arizona Diamondbacks (58-28, 3.14, 781 23 IP, 875 K, two-time All-Star, 2001 ML-leader with 22 wins and 256 23 IP), and the Boston Red Sox (53-29, 3.95, 675 IP, 574 K, 2004 All-Star, ML-leading 21 wins).

Schilling would no doubt be a lot higher on another teams’ countdown, for example, he’d be number five on the Everysnakes countdown and number 16 on the Everyphils countdown, but I don’t write for them (that would be a longer countdown...I don’t think I’d like a 2,177-player countdown).

Schilling had a Hall of Fame career, but in 10 seasons of eligibility did not get the necessary 75 percent vote. He reached a high of 71.1 percent in 2021, and will next be eligible when he is considered in 2028 by the Today’s-Game-era Veterans Committee.

477. Shawn Chacon is a six-foot-three right-handed pitcher from Anchorage, AK. Born on December 23, 1977, he was a third-round choice of the Colorado Rockies in 1996 out of Greeley Central HS (CO).

Chacon made his debut in the bigs with the Rockies in 2001, and played five seasons with the mile-high club (24-45, 5.20, 552 13 IP, 385 K). He later played for the New York Yankees (12-6, 4.69, 142 IP, 75 K) and the Pittsburgh Pirates (7-7, 4.44, 142 IP, 106 K). On February 20, 2008, Chacon signed with the Astros.

Chacon began the 2008 season as Houston’s number-four starter. In his third start, he struck out five over eight shutout four-hit innings in an eventual 4-3 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. Nine of Chacon’s 15 starts with the team were Quality Starts, as he totaled 85 23 innings with the team. In total, he was 2-3 with a 5.04 ERA and 41 walks versus 53 strikeouts. He allowed 52 runs (48 earned) on 88 hits for a 1.506 WHIP.

On June 18 the Astros released Chacon. He didn’t get back to the majors after his time with Houston.

476. Ken Boswell is a six-foot lefty-batting, righty-throwing second and third baseman from Austin, TX. Born on February 23, 1946, he was a fourth-round pick in the 1965 draft (the first one) by the New York Mets out of Sam Houston State University. He reached the majors with the Mets in 1967, and played in 681 games for them over eight seasons. He hit .250/.312/.343 with 31 home runs and 193 RBI. He also hit .419 in eight career postseason games, from the Mets’ World Series Title run in 1969 and their near-miss in 1973.

On October 29, 1974, the Mets traded Boswell to Houston for Bob Gallagher (605). Boswell, always a hitter with a trained and selective eye (192 walks to 207 strikeouts with the Mets), drew 30 walks versus only 12 strikeouts in his first season with the Astros. He was 43-for-178 with eight doubles, a pair of triples, and 21 RBI for a .242/.349/.309 slashline. Defensively, he logged a .991 fielding percentage in 184 13 innings at second base, and a .912 mark in 188 innings at third.

On April 13, Boswell hit three singles with three RBI in a 7-4 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. On August 5, he drew a walk in the first, drew an RBI walk in the fifth, drew another walk in the seventh, and topped it off with a game-tying RBI-double with two outs in the ninth to lock things up against the San Diego Padres, 5-5. The Padres eventually walked it off in the bottom of the 10th, 6-5. On September 19, he entered in the bottom of the 12th inning of a 5-5 tie with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and walked it off with a two-out pinch-RBI-single.

In 1976, Boswell appeared in 91 games for Houston. Despite being a much better second baseman than a third baseman, Boswell logged most of his time at third base, where he fielded at .933 in 120 innings. He also put in five innings at second and one in left field without incident.

Offensively, Boswell slashed .262/.301/.341, going 33-for-126 with eight doubles, one triples, and 18 RBI. On May 29, he collected three singles in a 4-3 win against the Atlanta Braves. He appeared in another 72 games for the Astros in 1977, going 21-for-97 with one double, one triple, and 12 RBI. On April 24, he hit a two-run single in the eighth inning of a 5-5 tie with the San Diego Padres. Houston eventually walked of on a Rob Sperring RBI-single in the 10th, for a 9-8 victory. Defensively he was perfect in 114 innings at second and 11 innings at the hot corner.

475. Aurelio López was a six-foot right-handed pitcher from Tecamachalco, MX. Born on September 21, 1948, he reached the big leagues for the first time in 1974 with the Kansas City Royals (0-0, 5.63, 16 IP, 5 K). He later appeared with the St. Louis Cardinals (4-2, 4.29, 65 IP, 46 K) and the Detroit Tigers (53-30, 3.41, 713 IP, 519 K, 1983 All-Star selection.

López was granted free agency after the 1985 season, and signed with the Astros on June 3, 1986. He pitched in 45 of Houston’s final 112 games of the season, and was used in a medium-leverage role (0.96 aLi). He had his best performance of the season on July 27, when he pitched four scoreless innings to earn a save in a 3-2 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies. López gave up zero hits and one walk in the outing.

López racked up 78 innings pitched for the Astros in 1986, ranking second in Houston’s bullpen (Charlie Kerfeld had 93 23 IP). López struck out 44 against 25 walks, going 3-3 with a 3.56 ERA, with a 1.141 WHIP. A brief footnote here — of eight qualified Houston pitchers, only Larry Andersen had a WHIP above the National League average, and only just as the club logged a collective mark of 1.185.

López played another season for the Astros in 1987, pitching 38 innings in 26 games. With an aLi of 0.68, he was trusted slightly less than in the past season, and with good reason, as he allowed nine of 11 inherited runners to cross the plate. After his retirement, he was elected as the municipal president of his hometown, and served in the role until his untimely death. He was in a fatal car accident the day after he turned 44, in 1992.

He was everybody’s friend. I don’t know of anyone who didn’t like him. — Craig Reynolds, as quoted in the Houston Chronicle

474. John Hudek is a six-foot-one right-handed pitcher from Tampa, FL. Born on August 8, 1966, he was a 30th-round selection of the Texas Rangers in 1985 out of high school. After going unsigned, the Chicago White Sox spent a 10th-round pick on him in 1988, out of Florida Southern College. He was subsequently taken by the Detroit TIgers in the 1992 rule 5 draft, then later still claimed off waivers by the Astros on July 29, 1993.

Hudek’s long and winding road to the majors ended in 1994 with Houston. In a rookie-season to remember, he saved 16 games and posted a 2.97 ERA in 39 13 innings, with 39 strikeouts against 18 walks and a 1.068 WHIP, a performance which landed him a spot in the 1994 All-Star Game and a second-place finish in the 1994 National League Rookie of the Year Award voting. And this is kind of bad ass.

Hudek’s first 26 appearances were particularly impressive, with 28 K’s in 26 innings, a 0.769 WHIP, a 0.69 ERA, and his first 11 major league saves. During that stretch, he held opposing batters to a .128/.206/.151 slashline and zero home runs. Of Hudek’s 42 appearances at the parent-club level, he limited the opposition to zero hits and zero walks 18 times. In maybe his best appearance in a rookie season chock full of them, he struck out four Cardinals in two perfect innings on April 29, in just the second game of his career as the Astros topped St. Louis 4-3.

Hudek played another three seasons with the Astros, coming out of the bullpen another 74 times. In his first nine appearances in 1995, he pitched 10 innings and struck out 19, walking two and giving up three hits. Over that stretch, he was 2-0 with four saves and an opposing slashline of .094/.147/.125. That includes a perfect inning on May 19, when he struck out three in a 10-2 win against the Montreal Expos.

Aside from that first short stretch to begin 1995, Hudek never reclaimed the absolute magic of his rookie campaign, but still served as a quality arm out of the bullpen. Through those last three seasons, he was 5-5 with a 5.17 ERA and 13 saves, 79 strikeouts in 76 23 innings, and a 1.461 WHIP. On May 21, 1995, Hudek collected a two-run single in the only plate appearance of his Astros career, also pitching 1 23 perfect innings with a pair of strikeouts for his fourth save while helping Houston to top the Expos, 5-2. On December 22, 1997, the Astros traded Hudek to the New York Mets for Carl Everett.

Hudek played part of 1998 for the Mets (1-4, 4.00, 27 IP, 28 K), later appearing with the Cincinnati Reds (4-3, 3.08, 38 IP, 40 K), the Atlanta Braves (0-1, 6.48, 16 23 IP, 18 K) and the Toronto Blue Jays (0-0, 12.27, 3 23 IP, 2 K).


Tomorrow we remain in the bracket between 101 and 500 plate transactions, and between 0.0002 and 0.0005 bWAR per BF/PA as we take a look at another 11 Astros.

Spring Training Game Thread. February 28, 2024, 12:10 CT Astros @ Marlins

Astros Top Three Third Base Prospects for 2024

Houston Astros History

Everystros CXV: Roy Oswalt