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Astros Crawfish Boil: January 15, 2024

Happy MLK Jr. Day! Welcome to the Boil, along with chapter 72 of Everystros.

Myles Straw
| Photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Houston Astros News

West Notes: Astros, Padres, Dodgers (MLBTR)

Astros still building 2024 bullpen

Astros Caravan Stops in Corpus January 17 (OurSports)

Yankees emerging as potential frontrunners for reliever Hector Neris (Empire Sports Media)

2024 Houston Astros SP Breakdown - PL Pro Early Access (Pitcher List $sub rq)

AL West News

A’s — The Oakland Ballers Just Proved John Fisher Didn’t Do Enough (Belly Up Sports)

M’s — MLB Rumors: Jarred Kelenic, More Traded to Braves; Mariners Get 2 Pitchers (BR)

Halos — Angels Sign Richie Martin To Minor League Deal (The Halos continue their massive offseason moves with another major signing, YB)

Mall Cops — Rangers coach loses home in fire, but escapes unharmed (Dallas Morning News)

MLB News

‘Mookie Betts of the Cardinals’? Prospect Scott has that vibe

How many new Hall of Famers will we get this year?

All you need to know about today’s International Signing Day

Sluggers who could make a run at 500 homers

2024 International Prospect Rankings and Scouting Reports (FG)

Examining Landing Spots for Rhys Hoskins (FG)

Houston Astros Birthdays

RHP Armando Galarraga (42)

LHP George Cappuzzello (70)

RHP Mike Marshall (1943-2021)

Everystros LXXII

Everystros 72 features another seven players who totaled 15.6 bWAR on the Astros-leg of their MLB journey.

182. Xavier Hernández (Bagwell score 14.82) is a six-foot-two lefty-batting righty-throwing pitcher from Port Arthur, TX. Born on August 16, 1965, he was drafted in 1986 out of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in the fourth round by the Toronto Blue Jays. It was also the Blue Jays for whom Hernández initally reached the major leagues, in 1989 (1-0, 4.76, 22 23 innings, seven K).

On December 4, 1989, the Astros drafted Hernández in the rule 5 draft. The 1990 season would see him pitch 62 13 innings in 34 games, with 24 strikeouts and 24 walks. He was 2-1 with a 4.62 ERA, a 1.348 WHIP, and a .256/.331/.406 opposing line in extremely low leverage (0.31 aLI), stranding 11-of-17 inherited runners. Hhad his best outing of the campaign in defeat, on August 28, with three strikeouts in 2 23 innings and only one hit allowed, with no runs, no walks, and one inherited runner stranded in a 5-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs.

In 1991, Hernández appeared in 32 games for Houston, including the final six starts of his eventual 10-season long career. He was 2-7 with three saves, a 4.71 ERA with 32 walks and 55 strikeouts in 63 innings, with a 1.556 WHIP, and a .263/.345/.383 opposing slashline while pitching with a 1.04 aLI. Of 21 runners inherited, seven scored. On April 22, he had the best start of his career, holding the Reds to one run on two hits, striking out three in a 2-1 win over Cincinnati. On September 22, he struck out three in 1 13 scoreless innings in a 4-1 win against the Reds.

The 1992 season would see Hernández flip the switch from a so-so pitcher to a top-flight setup man/high-leverage type reliever. He appeared in a career-high 77 games and was 9-1 with seven saves, a 2.11 ERA, with 42 walks and 96 strikeouts in 111 innings. He dropped his WHIP to 1.108, held opposing hitters to a .201/.279/.275 line while pitching with a 1.06 aLI. He stranded 36-of-48 inherited baserunners. On October 1, he turned his most flawless appearance of the season, striking out three over two flawless innings in a 3-2 loss to the San Diego Padres.

Hernández appeared in 72 games in relief for the 1993 Astros, going 4-5 with a 2.61 ERA and 101 K’s in 96 23 innings (versus only 28 walks). He had a career-best 1.066 WHIP and an opposing line of .212/.269/.322, saving nine games while pitching at 1.51 aLI. He allowed 14-of-48 inherited runners to score.

On May 5, Hernández entered in the sixth inning against St. Louis with a two-run lead and two runners on base with only one out, then struck out Rod Brewer and got Tom Pagnozzi to line out to end the threat without damage. He followed that with two flawless innings and three more strikeouts in an eventual 6-3 win over the Cardinals. On August 25, he entered in the eighth inning to protect a 3-2 lead over Florida, collecting four strikeouts and only allowing one baserunner over the final two innings of a win against the Marlins.

On November 27, 1993, the Astros traded Hernández to the New York Yankees for Domingo Jean and Andy Stankiewicz. After his time playing for the Bombers (4-4, six saves, 5.85, 40 IP, 37 K), he also pitched for the Reds (7-2, three saves, 4.92, 93 13 innings, 87 K). On April 24, 1996, he returned to Houston via free agency for an encore performance.

Through the final five months of the 1996 season, Hernández pitched in 58 games out of the bullpen, going 5-5 wth six saves, a 4.22 ERA, a 1.272 WHIP, and 26 walks against 78 strikeouts in 74 23 innings. Opponents slashed .245/.310/.429 against a 1.10 aLI, and Hernández allowed 10-of-24 inherited runners to cross the plate. On July 14, he earned a victory by striking out four over two innings and allowing only a walk in a 7-5 victory over the New York Mets.

Granted free agency once more following the season, Hernández signed on with the Texas Rangers and pitched two seasons with the Mall Cops (6-10, one save, 4.02, 107 13 innings, 77 K). That was the end of his major league time. He ended up pitching 671 major league innings, but well over half of that (407 23 innings) came with Houston. After retiring, he worked as the pitching coach with Houston Christian for three seasons, before serving in the same role in Tampa Bay’s minor league system for the following nine years. In 2010, he was rehired as an assistant coach with Houston Christian, with whom he stayed for 12 more seasons, ending in 2021.

181. Carlos Hernández (Bagwell score 31.36) is a five-foot-11 left-handed pitcher from Guacara, VZ. Born on April 22, 1980, He reached the majors for the first time in 2001 with the Astros. In three August starts at the big league level, he was 1-0 with a 1.02 ERA, seven walks vs 17 strikeouts in 17 23 innings, a 1.019 WHIP, and a .177/.261/.258 opposing slashline.

Hernández started his career by striking out seven and keeping the Pirates scoreless on two hits and a walk over seven innings in a 3-0 win over Pittsburgh. He followed his debut by holding the Phillies scoreless on five hits and two walks over six innings in a 2-1 win against Philadelphia. He was one-for-five with one sacrifice hit as a hitter, and took three fielding chances without an error.

In 2002 from June 21 through August 18, Hernández was limited to 1 13 innings in his only appearance due to shoulder soreness, his start on July 1. Outside of that, he was a rotation starter, taking a turn every fifth day. Overall, he was 7-5 with a 4.38 ERA, 61 walks vs. 93 strikeouts in 111 innings, a 1.559 WHIP, and a .261/.357/.415 opposing slashline.

On April 28, Hernández struck out six over seven shutout innings, keeping the Braves to four hits and a walk in a 7-1 victory against Atlanta. In his next start six days later against the Mets, he struck out eight over seven innings and allowed one run on four hits in a 3-1 win over New York. On May 31, he pitched seven shutout innings against the Cubs, keeping them to three hits in a 4-1 triumph over Chicago. Overall, he was errorless in 29 fielding chances and was six-for-35 with a four sacrifice hits, two walks, and one RBI.

After sitting out 2003 with an injury, Hernández got back to the Astros for the final third of the 2004 season despite spending most of his time at the Triple-A level with the New Orleans Zephyrs (9-4, 3.60, 127 23 IP, 81 K). He also started nine times for Houston, going 1-3 with a 6.43 ERA, 23 walks versus 26 strikeouts, a 1.738 WHIP, and a .303/.398/.564 slashline.

Although his season was substandard by his past standards, he did manage to pitch three Quality Starts. That was the last time he pitched in the majors, He did play for a number of years for Navegantes del Magallanes in the Venezuelan league, until as recently as 2018. For the past four seasons, he’s been a pitching coach in the minor league system of the Minnesota Twins.

180. Doug Henry (Bagwell score 36.27) is a six-foot-four right-handed pitcher from Sacramento, CA. Born on December 10, 1963, he was a 16th-round choice of the New York Mets in 1982 out of Tennyson HS. Instead of signing on, he decided to pursue higher education with Arizona State University. In 1985, his patience paid off with a eighth-round selection courtesy of the Milwaukee Brewers.

Henry reached the bigs with the Crew in 1991, and pitched four seasons at their top level (9-12, 61 saves, 3.99, 187 13 IP, 138 K), followed by a spell with the New York Mets (5-14, 13 saves, 3.87, 142 IP, 120 K) and a season with the San Francisco Giants (4-5, 4.71, three saves, 70 23 IP, 69 K). On October 27, 1997, he was granted free agency.

A month later, Henry signed a contract with Houston through free agency. He pitched in 59 games in 1998 for Houston, going 8-2 with two saves, a 3.04 ERA, 35 walks, 59 strikeouts, and a 1.268 WHIP, He held opponents to a .216/.307/.353 line while pitching with a 1.36 aLI. He stranded 30-of-41 inherited runners.

On May 25, Henry struck out three over two perfect innings in a 4-3 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. On August 20, he earned a season-high .392 WPA on one pitch, entering in the eighth inning with one out and the bases loaded, then served up a liner to centerfielder Richard Hidalgo. Hidalgo delivered a strike to catcher Brad Ausmus, cutting down Geoff Jenkins trying to score in an eventual 6-5 Houston loss to the Brewers.

In 1999, Henry walked 24 and struck out 36 in 40 23 innings. He was 2-3 with two saves, a 4.65 ERA, a 1.697 WHIP, and a .281/.385/.525 opposing slashline. He pitched with a 0.79 aLI, and stranded seven-of-nine inherited baserunners. He played the first 23 of the 2000 season with Houston as well, going 1-3 with a 4.42 ERA, a 1.264 WHIP, and 46 strikeouts in 53 innings while holding opposing hitters to a .204/.314/.419 line. On July 30, Houston traded him to the San Francisco Giants for Scott Linebrink.

After his time with the Giants (3-1, 2.49, 25 13 IP, 16 K), he pitched a season with the Kansas City Royals (2-2, 6.07, 75 23 IP, 57 K). After his retirement, he’s been a pitching coach in their system for 14 seasons, and has served the same role with the High-A Tri-City Valleycats for the past two years.

179. Myles Straw (Bagwell score 43.72) is a five-foot-10 right-handed centerfielder and shortstop from Garden Grove, CA. Born on October 17, 1994, he was a 12th-round choice of the Astros in 2015 out of St. Johns River State College.

Straw reached the majors with the Astros for a minute in 2018, going three-for-nine with a solo home run and two stolen bases. In the field, he played a total of 30 innings and made nine putouts without an error. He also served as a pinch-runner for two games in the ALDS against the Cleveland Indians, and stole a base despite not getting a postseason plate appearance.

In 2019, Straw slashed .269/.378/.343 in 56 games for Houston, going 29-for-108 with four doubles, two triples, and eight stolen bases in nine attempts. He drew 19 walks and struck out 24 times, scoring 27 runs and driving in seven. He played 170 innings at shortstop and 121 in the outfield without making an error. He had five multiple-hit games, including three three-hit games. On June 2, he hit three singles and drew a walk, stealing three bases and scoring three runs in a 6-4 12-inning win over the Oakland Athletics. Straw didn’t appear in any of Houston’s postseason games.

Straw slashed .207/.244/.256 in 33 games in 2020, going 17-for-82 with four doubles and six stolen bases in eight attempts. He drew four walks and struck out 22 times with eight runs, eight RBI, and four multiple-hit games. He also collected 44 putouts in 186 innings working in the outfield without an error.

In 2021, Straw finally found himself as part of Houston’s full-time lineup. He appeared in 98 games through the first four months of the season, slashing .262/.339/.326. He was 85-for-325 with 13 doubles, a triple, two home runs, 17 stolen bases in 22 attempts, and 22 multiple-hit games. He drew 38 walks and struck out 71 times with 44 runs scored and another 34 driven in. On June 24 he collected four singles and scored three runs in a 12-3 win over the Detroit Tigers. On July 30, the Astros traded Straw to the Cleveland Indians for Yainer Diaz and Phil Maton.

178. Justin Maxwell (Bagwell score 51.63) is a six-foot-four right-handed outfielder from Olney, MD. Born on November 6, 1983, he was drafted three times in total. First by the Baltimore Orioles in 2001 in the 43rd round out of Sherwood HS, then by the Texas Rangers in the 10th round in 1994 and in the fourth round in 2005 by the Washington Nationals out of the University of Maryland.

It was with the Nats for whom Maxwell reached the majors in 2007. He played parts of three seasons with the team (122 games, .201/.319/.379, nine home runs, 26 RBI). On April 8, 2012, the Astros claimed Maxwell off waivers.

In 2012, Maxwell started 77 times in the outfield, playing a total of 693 innings and making 185 putouts and five assists with two errors. In 124 games, he went 72-for-315 with 13 doubles, three triples, 18 home runs, and nine stolen bases in 13 attempts. He drew 32 walks and struck out 114 times with 46 runs, 53 RBI, and 14 multi-hit games.

On May 19, Maxwell drew a walk and scored a run in the fourth, hit a two-run go-ahead fifth-inning home run against the Texas Rangers, then drew a walk and stole another base in the seventh inning of a 6-5 victory. On June 10, he hit a second-inning RBI-single, a two-run go-ahead fifth-inning home run, and a walk with a run in the sixth inning of a 11-9 victory over the Chicago White Sox. On August 4, Maxwell hit a single and stole a base in the second, hit a two-run fourth-inning home run, a seventh-inning leadoff home run, and a ninth-inning single in a 3-2 win over the Atlanta Braves.

In 2013, Maxwell played in 40 games for Houston through the first part of the season. He slashed .241/.311/.387, going 33-for-137 with 10 doubles, two triples, two home runs, and four stolen bases in five attempts. He drew 12 walks and struck out 43 times with 21 runs, eight RBI, and eight multiple-hit games. On Opening Day, he hit two triples with two RBI in an 8-2 win over the Texas Rangers.

On July 31, 2013, the Astros traded Maxwell to the Kansas City Royals for Kyle Smith. After two seasons with the Royals (55 games, .234/.314/.409, five home runs, 20 RBI), he played with the 2015 San Francisco Giants (100 games, .209/.275/.341, seven home runs, 26 RBI).

177. Al Spangler (Bagwell score 16.74) is a six-foot left-handed outfielder from Philadelphia, PA. Born on July 8, 1933, he reached the majors in 1959 with the Milwaukee Braves (175 games, .276/.398/.336, 12 RBI). On October 10, the Colt .45s chose Spangler with the eighth pick in the expansion draft.

In 1962, Spangler slashed .285/.389/.388 with a team-leading .777 OPS in 129 games for Houston, starting 109 games in the outfield (960 13 innings, .960). He was 119-for-418 with 10 doubles, nine triples, five home runs, and seven stolen bases in 13 attempts. He drew 70 walks and only struck out 46 times, scoring 51 runs, driving in 35, and 36 multiple-hit games.

On July 15, Spangler hit a third-inning triple and a seventh-inning two-run go-ahead homer in a 5-4 win over the Chicago Cubs. On September 25, he scored in the first after reaching on an error, hit a seventh-inning RBI-triple, and added a 10th-inning solo go-ahead home run in a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

In 1963, Spangler appeared in 120 games, starting 109 times in the outfield (970 innings, .987). He slashed .281/.355/.386 going 121-for-430 with 25 doubles, four triples, four home runs, and five stolen bases in 13 attempts. He drew 50 walks and struck out 38 times with 52 runs, 27 RBI, and 27 multiple-game hits. On May 24, he hit three singles and a double with one RBI in a 6-5 12-inning win over the Cubs. On August 5, he hit three singles and scored three runs, driving one in as well in another 6-5 win, over the San Francisco Giants.

The 1964 campaign would see Spangler appear in a career-high 135 games, hitting .245/.311/.334 with 18 doubles, five triples, four homers, and seven stolen bases in 15 attempts. He drew 41 walks and struck out 43 times, scoring 51 runs, collecting 38 RBI, and 31 multiple-hit games. On May 10, he hit a single and a double, scoring one run and driving in a run in a 4-3 loss to the Chicago Cubs.

Through the first half of the 1965 season with the newly-named Houston Astros, Spangler hit .214/.299/.268 in 38 games. On June 1, the Astros traded him to the California Angels for Don Lee. After parts of two seasons with the Halos (57 games, .295/.357/.305, one RBI), he appeared in five seasons with the Chicago Cubs (258 games, .241/.324/.341, seven home runs, 55 RBI).

176. Tim Byrdak (Bagwell score 39.98) is a five-foot-11 left-handed pitcher from Oak Lawn, IL. Born on October 31, 1973, he was a fifth-round pick in 1994 by the Kansas City Royals out of Rice University.

Byrdak played in parts of three seasons with the Royals (0-4, one save, 8.27, 32 23 IP, 26 K), two seasons with the Baltimore Orioles (1-1, one save, 5.88, 33 23 IP, 33 K), and a year with the Detroit Tigers (3-0, one save, 3.20, 45 IP, 49 K), On April 3, 2008, he signed with the Astros through free agency.

Byrdak made 59 trips out of the pen in his first season for Houston. He was 2-1 with a 3.90 ERA, a 1.337 WHIP, 29 walks and 47 strikeouts in 55 13 innings and a .222/.323/.453 opposing line. He pitched with a 0.74 aLI and stranded 26-of-32 inherited runners.

In 2009, Byrdak pitched in a career-high 76 games, walking 36 and striking out 58 in 61 13 innings. He was 1-2 with a 3.23 ERA, a 1.223 WHIP, and a .178/.299/.370 opposing line while pitching at 0.69 aLI. He stranded 39-of-58 inherited runners.

Byrdak pitched 38 23 innings in 64 games in 2010, his final with the Astros. He was 2-2 with a 3.49 ERA and a 1.552 WHIP, walking 20 and striking out 29 while allowing his opponents to slash .272/.353/.442 while pitching at a 0.80 aLI and allowing 15-of-42 opposing runners to cross the plate.

Granted free agency following the season, Byrdak pitched three seasons with the New York Mets (4-3, one save, 4.32, 73 IP, 84 K).

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