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Astros Crawfish Boil: December 8, 2023

While it’s not quite the answer to life, the universe, and everything, it is, in fact, chapter XLII of Everystros.

Abraham Toro
| Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

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Welcome to the Weekend Boil.

Although nothing as heady as the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything, we do in fact have the 42nd chapter of Everystros on tap.

Houston Astros News

Injuries & Moves: Astros sign veteran catcher Caratini

Astros agree to deal with Caratini, bolster catching depth

Houston Astros players among several A-listers attending 2024 Celebrity Golf Classic in Florida hosted by Reggie Jackson (Click2Houston)

With moves on the periphery, Astros roster taking shape after Winter Meetings (The Athletic)

Astros Acquire Promising Right-Hander Dylan Coleman to Bolster Bullpen Strength (BVM Sports)

Will the Astros Eventually Trade Alex Bregman or Kyle Tucker? (SportsTalk 790)

AL West News

Oakland Athletics2023 MLB Rule 5 Draft: Full results as A’s take Yankees P Mitch Spence with first pick (The Athletic)

Texas RangersCelebrating the 35th anniversary of the Texas Rangers signing of Nolan Ryan (Nolan Writin)

Seattle MarinersWhy Mariners fans aren’t happy with the team’s front office (KUOW)

Los Angeles Angels — Angels GM Perry Minasian Expects Anthony Rendon to Be Everyday Third Baseman (YardBarker)

MLB News

With Ohtani ‘days away’ from decision, which teams are still in?

Kimbrel raring to be ‘part of a winner’ in Baltimore

What the Soto deal means for the Padres

Can Any Of AL Teams’ 284 Minor Free Agents Help In 2024? (Forbes)

Houston Astros Birthdays

Today

C John Mizerock (63)

OF Juan Sierra (18)

Saturday

3B Chris Truby (50)

C Juan Santander (21)

Sunday

IF Gregorio Petit (39)

RHP Dan Wheeler (46)

RHP Doug Henry (60)

IF Bobby Fenwick (77)

C Freddy Guilamo (23)


Everystros XLII

In today’s chapter, I’ll be cutting back to 10 Astros per article. Again exploring the positive side of the fourth bracket, each player in the group has between 0.0011 and 0.0014 bWAR per BF/PA.

440. David Carpenter is a six-foot-three right-handed pitcher from Morgantown, WV. Born on July 15, 1985, he was a 12th-round selection of the St. Louis Cardinals in 2006 out of West Virginia University. Before reaching the majors, St. Louis traded Carpenter to the Astros for Pedro Feliz in 2010.

On June 30, 2011, Carpenter made his first major league appearance, and pitched a perfect 16-pitch eighth inning against the Texas Rangers in a 7-0 victory. On August 28, he earned his first career save in an 11-inning, 4-3 win against the San Francisco Giants, pitching a scoreless 11th despite hitting a batter. He struck out one in Houston’s win. On September 7, he struck out two in a perfect sixth inning in an eventual 5-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

In 34 appearances for Houston, Carpenter struck out 29 in 27 23 innings. He was 1-3 with a 2.93 ERA and one save. He gave up nine runs, all earned, on 28 hits and 13 walks, finishing with a 1.482 WHIP.

In 2012, Carpenter pitched in 30 games for the Astros, but with a 1.921 WHIP in 29 23 innings of work, that was too large a sample size to keep him on. The Astros traded Carpenter with J.A. Happ and Brandon Lyon to the Toronto Blue Jays for Francisco Cordero, Ben Francisco, Joe Musgrove, Carlos Pérez, David Rollins, Asher Wojciechowski and PTBNL Kevin Comer on July 20, 2012.

After his time with Toronto (2 23 IP, nine earned runs), Carpenter played with the Atlanta Braves (10-5, 2.63, 126 23 IP, 141 K), the New York Yankees (0-1, 4.82, 18 23 IP, 11 K), the Washington Nationals (0-0, 1.50, six IP, four K).

439. Danny Heep is a five-foot-11 left-handed outfielder and first baseman from San Antonio, TX. Born on July 3, 1957, he was Houston’s second-round pick in 1978 out of St. Mary’s University.

Heep reached the majors with Houston in 1979, going two-for-14 in 14 games. The 1980 season would be his best with the Astros. In 33 games he slashed .276/.340/.368 with six RBI.

On June 6, 1982, Heep hit a ninth-inning pinch-two-run-double for a walkoff 7-6 Houston win over the Philadelphia Phillies. On July 23, he hit three singles in a 6-2 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Heep appeared in 165 games for Houston over four seasons, hitting .246/.314/.344 with four home runs and 41 RBI. Heep was perfect in 307 23 innings in the outfield, making 69 putouts and a pair of assists. As a first baseman, he made five errors in 542 chances over 485 innings for a .991 fielding percentage.

438. Tom Edens is a six-foot-three right-handed pitcher from Ontario, OR. Born on June 9, 1961, he was a 12th-round choice in 1979 by the Cincinnati Reds out of high school. Instead of signing, he went to Lewis-Clark State College. In 1983, he was a 14th-round pick of the Kansas City Royals. The next year, KC traded Edens to the New York Mets for Tucker Ashford.

Edens reached the majors with the Mets in 1987, starting a pair of games (6.75 ERA, eight IP, four K). He later made it back to the big leagues in 1990 with the Milwaukee Brewers (4-5, 4.45, 89 IP, 40 K) and in 1991 and 1992 with the Minnesota Twins (8-5, 3.21, 109 13 IP, 76 K). On November 17, 1992, Edens was chosen with the 43rd pick in the expansion draft by the Florida Marlins. Quickly, the nascent Fish flipped him to the Astros for Hector Carrasco and minor leaguer Brian Griffiths.

Edens appeared in 38 of Houston’s last 135 games of the season, getting into his first contest on May 7. An aLI of 0.62 suggests that the Astros had other pitchers they were reliant on for high-leverage situations, but Eden had his moments. On July 16, he struck out a batter over two near-perfect innings, allowing only a walk in an eventual 7-6 victory against the St. Louis Cardinals. On August 26, he entered as a reliever with a 4-4 tie in the bottom of the ninth, two outs and two on against the Marlins. After inducing a groundout to erase the runners without heartbreak, he worked a perfect 10th. In the 11th, he gave up two singles and two walks, but somehow kept the Marlins off the board. Houston eventually lost, 5-4 in 13 innings.

Over 49 innings in total, Edens was 1-1 with a 3.12 ERA and 19 walks against 21 strikeouts. He allowed 26 runs, all earned, on 59 hits, for a 1.426 WHIP, a 3.52 FIP, and an opposing slashline of .263/.332/.374.

Edens pitched in 39 of Houston’s first 104 games in 1994, On April 26, he struck out five over three scoreless innings, giving up one walk and one hit in an eventual 7-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. On May 3, he came in with the bases loaded and one out in the eighth, leading the Pirates, 6-4. He then protected his house, inducing Carlos Garcia into a fly ball out and a pop fly out of Jay Bell in an eventual 7-4 victory over Pittsburgh.

Edens totaled 50 innings in his second year as a member of Houston. He gave up 25 runs, all earned, on 55 hits and 17 walks for a 1.440 WHIP and a 3.53 FIP. He also collected 38 strikeouts and posted a 4-1 record. He was 0-for-3 with a pair of strikeouts as a hitter and made 31 clean plays in 32 chances at pitcher for a .969 fielding percentage.

On July 31, 1994, the Astros traded Eden to the Philadelphia Phillies for Milt Thompson (461). He played in three games that season for the Phils (1-0, 2.25, four IP, one K) and five for the Chicago Cubs in 1995 (1-0, 6.00, three IP, two K).

437. Matt Lindstrom is a six-foot-three right-handed pitcher from Rexburg, ID. Born on February 11, 1980, he was a 10th-round choice of the New York Mets in 2002. Before reaching the majors, the Mets traded Lindstrom with Henry Owens to the Florida Marlins for Adam Bostick and Jason Vargas.

Lindstrom reached the majors with Florida in 2007 (8-8, 3.88, 17 1 23 IP, 144 K). On December 9, 2009, the Marlins traded Lindstrom to Houston for PTBNL Jorge Jimenez.

Lindstrom ranked fourth on the Astros with 58 appearances in 2010. When he started the season, Houston used him as the de facto closer, and he earned 22 saves before being replaced by Brandon Lyon in the role. On April 18, he struck out the side despite giving up one hit in a scoreless 10th, saving a 3-2 win over the Chicago Cubs. On June 8, he earned his 14th save of the year after a scoreless ninth, giving up a walk but nothing else in a 4-3 win against the Colorado Rockies.

Lindstrom ended the season with a 2-5 record and 23 saves. He struck out 43 in 53 13 innings, and allowed 26 runs, all earned, on 68 hits and 20 walks. A closer shouldn’t have a 1.650 WHIP, but Lindstrom beat that metric in every subsequent season except for his last after leaving the Astros.

Lindstrom later played for the Colorado Rockies (2-2, 3.00, 54 IP, 36 K), the Baltimore Orioles (1-0, 2.72, 36 13 IP, 30 K), the Arizona Diamondbacks (0-0, 2.53, 10 23 IP, 10 K), and the Chicago White Sox (4-6, 3.80, 94 23 IP, 64 K).

436. Abraham Toro is a six-foot right-handed switch-hitting infielder from Longueuil, Canada. Born on December 20, 1996, he was a fifth-round choice by the Astros in 2016 out of Seminole State College. He reached the majors for the first time with Houston late in 2019, then appeared in 25 of Houston’s last 34 games of the year. On September 1 he hit a ninth-inning two-run homer in a 2-0 win against the Toronto Blue Jays. Overall, he went 17-for-78 with three doubles, two triples and two home runs. He drew nine walks, struck out 19 times, scored 13 runs and drove nine in for a .218/.303/.385 slashline.

In 2020, Toro was 13-for-87 in 33 games for the Astros, slashing a way below replacement level .149/.237/.276. The 2021 campaign would see him go 23-for-109 in 35 more games for Houston. On June 20, he hit four singles with an RBI in an 8-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox. On July 25, he hit a two-run come-from-behind home run in the fifth inning to give the Astros a 2-1 lead over the Rangers, eventually defeating Texas 3-1.

Defensively, Toro played mostly at third base, making five total errors in 536 23 innings for a .970 fielding percentage. On July 27, the Astros traded him with Joe Smith to the Seattle Mariners for Kendall Graveman and Rafael Montero.

Toro played parts of two seasons with the Mariners (169 games, .213/.276/.342 with 15 home runs and 61 RBI. In 2023, he played nine games with the Milwaukee Brewers, going eight-for-18 with a pair of home runs and nine RBI.

435. Joe Smith is a six-foot-two right-handed sidearm pitcher from Cincinnati, OH. Born on March 22, 1984, he was a third-round pick in 2006 by the New York Mets out of Wright State University. He reached the majors the very next season with the Mets, and played in parts of two seasons with them (9-5, 3.51, 107 23 IP, 97 K), later also playing with the Cleveland Indians (18-11, 2.76, 271 IP, 214 K), the Los Angeles Angels (13-11, 2.89, 177 23 IP, 150 K), the Chicago Cubs (1-1, 2.51, 14 13 IP, 15 K), the Toronto Blue Jays (3-0, 3.28, 35 23 IP, 51 K), and a second tour with Cleveland (0-0, 3.44, 18 13 IP, 20 K).

After winning the World Series in 2017, the Astros signed Smith through free agency. In 2018, Smith ranked fifth on the Astros with 56 pitching appearances. A near-average leverage reliever (0.89 aLI), Smith inherited 27 runners and allowed only seven of them to score.

On May 27, Smith struck out three in two perfect innings, the 10th and 11th, but unfortunately, the Cleveland Indians eventually came away with a 14-inning win, 10-9. On August 29, he pitched 1 13 perfect innings, striking one out in a 5-4 win against the Oakland Athletics.

In 45 23 innings, Smith posted an impressive 1.007 WHIP and 46 strikeouts. He was 5-1 with a 3.74 ERA, and gave up 20 runs (19 earned) on 34 hits and 12 walks. In 2019, he was 1-0 with a 1.80 ERA in 25 innings of work, with 22 strikeouts and a 0.960 WHIP.

After taking the 2020 season off by opting out during the pandemic, Smith returned to Houston’s pitching staff in 2021, but didn’t have any of the magic he displayed in seasons’ past. In 27 games, he struck out 17 in 21 23 innings, but gave up 18 runs on 35 hits and four walks. That translates to a 1.800 WHIP and a 7.48 ERA, and a one-way ticket out of town.

On July 27, 2021, the Astros traded Smith and Abraham Toro to the Mariners for Kendall Graveman and Rafael Montero. Smith finished the season with the M’s (3-3, 2.00, 18 IP, 17 K), and played with the Minnesota Twins in 2022 (1-1, 4.61, 27 13 IP, 17 K).

434. Gordon Jones was a six-foot right-handed pitcher from Portland, OR. Born on April 3, 1930, he reached the majors with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1954, and eventually pitched with them through parts of three seasons (5-10, 3.74, 149 13 IP, 100 K). He later also pitched for the New York and San Francisco Giants (6-4, 3.89, 85 23 IP, 42 K), the Baltimore Orioles (1-1, 4.50, 60 IP, 34 K), and the Kansas City Athletics (3-2, 6.34, 32 23 IP, 28 K). On July 28, 1962, the Houston Colt .45s purchased Jones’ contract from the A’s.

Jones found himself quite firmly ensconced with Houston’s minor league system for the rest of the 1962 season, the entire 1963 season, part of the 1964 season, and nearly all of the 1965 season.

On May 12, 1964, Jones made his debut with Houston, pitching two perfect innings in a 6-0 loss to the Giants. On July 13, he had a season-high .132 WPA by pitching 1 13 scoreless innings against San Francisco, although Houston eventually lost, 5-3 to the Giants.

Jones was a pretty low-leverage reliever (aLI 0.46), and stranded 70 percent of inherited baserunners (14-of-20). In 34 games for Houston in 1964, and one relief appearance in 1965, he was 0-1 with a 4.06 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 51 innings. He issued 14 walks and allowed 24 runs (23 earned) on 58 hits. After his playing career with Houston was complete, he had a 1.412 WHIP and a 3.09 FIP to show for it. The Astros kept Jones on as a pitching coach, a position he held for a season and a half before getting dismissed.

433. Michael Jackson is a six-foot-one right-handed pitcher from Houston. Born on December 22, 1964, he was a 29th-round choice of the Philadelphia Phillies in 1983, then a second-round pick by the Phils in 1994 out of Hill College.

Jackson reached the bigs with the Phillies in 1986 (3-10, 4.11, 122 23 IP, 96 K), later playing with the Seattle Mariners (15-18, 3.36, 276 IP, 239 K), the San Francisco Giants (15-14, 2.99, 201 23 IP, 201 K), the Cincinnati Reds (6-1, 2.39, 49 IP, 41 K), the Mariners again (1-1, 3.63, 72 IP, 70 K), and the Cleveland Indians (6-10, 2.99, 207 23 IP, 184 K). In December 2000, Jackson signed a contract to come and play for Houston.

Jackson led Houston’s pitching staff with 67 appearances, going 5-3 with four saves and a 4.70 ERA. A higher leverage reliever (aLI 1.37), Jackson accrued 2.1 WPA for Houston, with 18 games of over 0.100 WPA. On July 3, he struck out a pair over a perfect inning in a 6-5 win against the Arizona Diamondbacks. On July 31, he repeated the statline in a 3-2 win against the New York Mets. On August 8, he registered his highest WPA of the season with a mark of .231 against the Atlanta Braves. Jackson entered in the 10th inning, and pitched two shutout innings as the Astros took a 2-1, 11-inning win. He went 0-for-1 as a hitter and fielded at 1.000, making no errors in 11 chances.

Jackson issued 22 walks and struck out 46 in his year with the Astros, pitching to a 1.304 WHIP and a 5.40 FIP. In the NLDS, he was the losing pitcher of record in Houston’s game one 7-4 loss to the Braves, after allowing three earned runs in 23 inning. After the season, Houston granted his free agency.

Jackson went on to pitch for the Minnesota Twins (2-3, 3.27, 55 IP, 29 K), and the Chicago White Sox (2-0, 5.01, 46 23 IP, 26 K).

432. Buddy Bell is a six-foot-one right-handed third baseman and outfielder from Pittsburgh, PA. Born on August 27, 1951, he was a 16th-round selection of the Cleveland Indians in the 1969 draft, out of Archbishop Moeller high school.

Bell reached the majors with the Tribe in 1972, and played seven seasons with the team (987 games, .274/.328/.382, 64 home runs, 386 RBI, 1973 All-Star), later playing for the Texas Rangers (958 games, .293/.351/.431, 87 home runs, 499 RBI, four All-Star Games, six Gold Gloves) and the Cincinnati Reds (386 games, .266/.352/.414, 43 home runs, 184 RBI). On June 19, 1988, the Reds sent Bell to Houston for Duane Walker and PTBNL Jeff Russell.

Bell played in 74 of Houston’s final games of the 1988 season, collecting multiple hits 16 times. On August 2, he hit two singles and a three-run homer in a 13-10 win against the San Francisco Giants. On August 24, Bell hit a game-tying RBI-single in the top of the eighth against the Cubs, in an eventual 3-2 loss to Chicago.

Bell went 68-for-269 and slashed .253/.301/.375 with 10 doubles, one triple and seven home runs. He drew 19 walks, scored 24 runs, and drove in 37. Defensively, he played 565 innings at third base, fielding at .924, as well as 50 innings at first base, fielding at .977. After a swan song with the Rangers, Bell retired.

Later, Bell managed nine major league season — three each for the Detroit Tigers (184-277), the Colorado Rockies (161-185) and the Kansas City Royals (174-262). SABR Bio

431. Mike Capel is a six-foot-one right-handed pitcher from Marshall, TX. Born on October 13, 1961, he was originally a 24th-round choice of the Philadelphia Phillies in 1980. After attending college instead, he was the Chicago Cubs 13th-round pick in 1983 out of the University of Texas at Austin. He reached the majors in 1988 with the Cubs, spending his rookie status (2-1, 4.91, 29 13 IP, 19 K).

Capel eventually exercised his free agency, and spent the 1990 season in the system for the Milwaukee Brewers. At the major league level, he pitched 13 of an inning and allowed five earned runs on six hits and a walk over two games.

Granted free agency once more following the 1990 campaign, Capel signed with the Astros on January 5, 1991. On June 7, he stranded three inherited runners and struck out the only batter he faced in a 6-3 loss to the New York Mets. On June 17, he pitched three hitless innings, giving up only a walk from the 12th through the 14th in a 3-2, 16-inning loss to the Montreal Expos. On June 22, he pitched a perfect 10th inning, striking out one for his second save of the season.

In 25 appearances for the Astros through the rest of the season, Capel struck out 23 in 32 23 innings. He allowed 14 runs, 11 earned, on 15 walks and 33 hits for a 1.469 WHIP. He didn’t again reach the major leagues, except for vicariously. To wit, his son, Conner, reached the major leagues with the St. Louis Cardinals and the Oakland Athletics.


Chapter XLIII of the countdown will be comprised of players between 0.0014 and 0.0016 bWAR per PA/BF while with the team, all between 101 and 500 plate transactions.

Spring Training Game 5 Thread. February 27, 2024, 12:05 CT. Nats @ Astros

Optimizing the Astros’ Batting Order

Houston Astros History

Everystros CXIV: Jim Wynn