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Championship Series - Texas Rangers v. Houston Astros - Game Six

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Astros Crawfish Boil: January 8, 2024

Spring Training is next month.

Rafael Montero
| Photo by Alex Bierens de Haan/MLB Photos via Getty Images

It’s another week of no baseball. Hope you like football, or basketball, or hockey.

But if, like me, there is simply no substitute for Major League Baseball, then you just gotta wait until next month. In the meantime, here’s a boil, along with Chapter 66 of Everystros.

Houston Astros News

Farewell to Uncle Mike (Chipalatta)

Rating the Astros’ Top 10 players heading into 2024 (Chipalatta)

Jason Bell hired as Astros quality assurance coach

Zach Dezenzo named as Astros likely Alex Bregman replacement (Chron)

Former Yankee ‘Still Pissed’ Over 2017 Astros Sign Stealing in ALCS (Heavy)

I don’t agree with punishments, a lot of people lost jobs (Sportskeeda)

AL West News

A’s — “Done Deal”: Now Fisher Just Needs To Go 6 for 6 (Athletics Nation)

M’s — Jerry Dipoto on Mariners trading Robbie Ray to Giants

Halos — Zach Plesac agrees to deal with Angels

Mall Cops — Rangers seeking catching depth for 2024 season

MLB News

6 overlooked free agents ... but not for long

Sunday Notes: Twins Prospect Kala’i Rosario Won the AFL Home Run Derby (FanGraphs)

Teoscar Hernández reaches deal with Dodgers

These stars are hoping for better health in 2024

O’s backstop pair a steadying force

Houston Astros Birthdays

2B Dave Matranga (47)

RHP Julio Solano (64)

OF Wilbur Howard (1949-2022)

IF Gene Freese (1934-2013)

CF Jim Busby (1927-1996)

Everystros LXVI

Today I reduce the amount of players profiled from eight to seven. Each of today’s featured players finished the Astros-leg of their career between 1.1 and 1.3 bWAR.

For context, the Bagwell score is a bWAR-rate metric that has zero set at replacement level and Jeff Bagwell at 100. I accomplished this by taking each player’s Astros bWAR per plate transaction and multiplying by a coefficient of 11,804.

224. Ramón Garcia (Bagwell score 18.29) is a six-foot-two right-handed pitcher from Guanare, VZ. Born on February 9, 1969, García made his first major league appearances with the Chicago White Sox in 1991 (4-4, 5.40, 78 13 IP, 40 K). He didn’t appear in the bigs for a second time until 1996, with the Milwaukee Brewers (4-4, 6.66, 75 23 IP, 40 K). On December 9, 1996, the Astros chose García in the rule 5 draft.

García made good on Houston’s choice, and pitched a team-fifth 158 23 innings as a swing-pitcher, with 20 starts and 22 relief appearances. He was 9-8 with a 3.69 ERA, 52 walks versus 120 strikeouts, a 1.305 WHIP, and an opposing slashline of .262/.330/.412. Although García didn’t have noticable left-right splits, he inexplicably had a 3.5 K/BB rate at home and a 1.43 on the road.

García was nearly the most average leveraged pitcher possible, pitching through the campaign with a 0.99 aLI, but he only stranded four-of-nine inherited runners. On July 18, he earned his fourth win of the season by holding the Expos scoreless on six hits over eight innings, striking out six and walking two in a 2-0 win against Montreal. On August 1, he struck out a season-high 10 Mets and held New York to two runs on four hits over 7 23 innings, in an eventual 8-5 defeat. On September 3, he pitched a five-hitter to defeat the Milwaukee Brewers, 4-0. On September 26, in the final appearance of his major league career, García struck out three over seven shutout innings, giving up six hits and a walk.

223. Jim Pankovits (Bagwell score 20.94) is a five-foot-10 right-handed second baseman and utility player from Pennington Gap, VA. Born on August 6, 1955, he was a fourth-round choice of the Astros in 1976 out of the University of South Carolina.

Pankovits reached the majors with the Astros in 1984, and appeared in 53 games, starting six times at second base (71 23 innings, .925). He also played in four games at shortstop (10 innings, 1.000) and in two as a left fielder (nine innings, 1.000). At the plate, he was 23-for-81 with seven doubles and a home run, along with two steals in three attempts. He drew two walks and struck out 20 times, with six runs scored and 14 driven in, finishing with a .284/.298/.407 overall slashline.

On August 1, Pankovits entered in the bottom of the seventh, pinch-hitting with on out, two in scoring position, and trailing by a run, then hit a two-run single to take a 5-4 lead over the Braves. In the bottom of the ninth, trailing by a run, he hit a leadoff double, but the next three hitters couldn’t move him, with fly ball outs from Jose Cruz, Jerry Mumphrey, and Enos Cabell.

In 1985, Pankovits played in a career-high 75 games for Houston, and started eight times at second (94 23 innings, 1.000), 17 times in right field (139 13 innings, 1.000), 10 times in left field (94 innings, .962), zero times at third base (three innings), and once at shortstop (two innings, .667). He slashed .244/.316/.331, going 42-for-172 with three doubles and four homers, with one stolen base in one attempt. He drew 17 walks and struck out 29 times, with 24 runs and 14 runs driven in.

On May 19, Pankovits led off the first with a single, led off the third with a single, led off the seventh with a home run, and added a one-out double in the eighth inning of a 7-3 victory against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Pankovits appeared in 70 games for Houston in 1986, starting 13 times at second base (164 13 innings, .969), twice in left field (20 innings, .833), and zero times at catcher, (one inning). As a hitter, he was 32-for-113 with six doubles, one triple, and one home run. He stole one base in two attempts, and drew 11 walks versus 25 strikeouts, scoring 12 runs and collecting seven RBI for a .283/.347/.381 slashline.

On August 24, Pankovits hit a first-inning single, a second-inning single, a fourth-inning RBI single, and a sixth-inning single in a 5-1 win against the Cardinals.

In 1987, Pankovits played in 50 games for Houston, with five starts in left field (42 innings, 1.000), one start at third base (8 23 innings, 1.000), and zero starts at second (31 innings, 1.000). At the dish, he hit .230/.299/.311, going 14-for-61 with two doubles and one home run, with two stolen bases in two attempts. He drew six walks and struck out 13 times with seven runs and eight RBI.

Nineteen eighty-eight would represent Pankovits’ final season with the Astros. He appeared in 68 games and hit .221/.272/.329, going 31-for-140 with seven doubles, one triple and two home runs, with two stolen bases in three attempts. He drew eight walks with 28 strikeouts, with 13 runs and 12 RBI. Defensively, he started 23 times at second base (218 innings, .939), eight times at third base (64 innings, .850) and zero times at first (three innings, .750).

On May 30, Pankovits hit a second-inning single and scored, added a fourth-inning single, then hit a sixth-inning game-tying two-run-double to make it 4-4 against St. Louis. The Astros eventually came out on top, with a 5-4 win over the Cardinals. The Astros released Pankovits after the season.

Pankovits later played in the minors with the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Los Angeles Dodgers, and reached the majors again with the Boston Red Sox in 1990 to play six innings on defense over two appearances, without a plate appearance.

In 2007, the Astros introduced a player analysis formula in his honor. The brain child of then-general manager Tim Purpura, PANKOVITS is an acronym for Player Analysis with Neutral Knowledge of Offensively Vital Information Tracking Statistics. It is credited in some circles with predicting the success of Hunter Pence and the failure of Woody Williams during the 2007 season. - from Wikipedia

222. Tony Scott (Bagwell score 14.85) is a six-foot switch-hitting centerfielder from Cincinnati, OH. Born on September 18, 1951, he was a 71st-round of the 1969 draft out of Withrow High School by the Montreal Expos.

Scott made his debut in the majors with the Expos in 1973, and played in parts of three seasons with the team (122 games, .185/.262/.238, 12 RBI). then played five seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals (532 games, .255/.307/.340, 12 home runs, 168 RBI).

On June 7, 1981, the Cardinals traded Scott to the Astros for Joaquín Andújar. He played in 55 games for Houston starting all of them in centerfield (473 innings, .985). At the plate, he hit .293/.338/.396 with 13 doubles, two triples, two home runs, and eight stolen bases in 11 attempts.

On August 14, Scott drew a walk and scored in the first, hit a three-run-single in the second (two RBI and an error), and added a triple in the ninth inning of a 5-1 win over the San Diego Padres. On August 27, he hit a single and scored in the third, and added a single with one out in the ninth, trailing the Mets by a run in an eventual 3-2 loss to New York. On September 20, he hit a double and scored in the first, singled in the second, led offi the fourth with a walk and a steal, hit a solo home run in the sixth, and hit a leadoff single in the eighth inning of a 7-3 win over the San Francisco Giants.

In 1982, Scott appeared in 132 games for the Astros, starting 111 games in centerfield (976 23 innings, .981), three games in right field (26 innings, 1.000), and once in left field (11 innings, 1.000). He was 110-for-460 at the plate, hitting .239/.263/.293 with 16 doubles, three triples and one home run, along with 18 stolen bases in 22 attempts. He drew 15 walks, struck out 56 times, scored 43 times and drove in 29 runs.

On June 16, Scott hit an eighth-inning go-ahead RBI-triple in an eventual 10-inning, 5-4 loss to the Atlanta Braves. On August 3, he hit a third-inning leadoff double, a sixth-inning single and a go-ahead run, a successful sacrifice bunt in the 10th inning, and the walkoff RBI-single in the 11th inning of a 7-6 win over the San Diego Padres. On September 19, he hit an RBI-single in the sixth and the go-ahead RBI-single in the 10th inning in an eventual 5-4 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Scott continued his Astros career in 1983, hitting .226/.264/.301, going 42-for-186 with six doubles, a triple and a pair of home runs. He stole five bases in nine attempts, drew 11 walks with 39 strikeouts, and scored 20 times with 17 RBI. He was perfect in 357 13 innings in the outfield, with 11 starts in centerfield (152 13 innings), 21 in right field (178 innings) and twice in left field (27 innings).

On July 22, Scott pinch-hit with the bases loaded and one out in the ninth, and hit a two-run single to turn an 8-7 deficit into a 9-8 lead in an eventual 11-8 win against the Montreal Expos.

In 1984, Scott appeared in 25 games and was two-for-26 at the plate, with one double and four walks to three strikouts. On June 22, the Astros released Scott, and he went on to play 45 games to close out the season with the Expos (.254/.316/.310, five RBI).

221. Orlando Miller (Bagwell score 15.83) is a six-foot-one right-handed left-side infielder from Changuinola, Panama. Born on January 13, 1969, he reached the majors in 1994 with the Astros. In 16 games for Houston during that season, he was 13-for-40 with a triple and two homers. He slashed .325/.386/.525 and stole one base in two attempts, drawing two walks, striking out 12 times, scoring three runs and driving in nine. Defensively, he started 10 times at shortstop (84 23 innings) and zero times at second base (7 23 innings) without an error.

Miller had five multiple-hit games in his short time with the Astros, between July 8 and the end of the truncated season. He had three of those in a row, going seven-for-11 with all of his extra base hits between July 10 and July 17, against the Chicago Cubs and the Pittsburgh Pirates, respectively.

In 1995, Miller played 92 games for the Astros, starting 85 of them at shortstop (775 13 innings, .964). He was 85-for-324 with 20 doubles, a triple and five homers with three steals in seven attempts. He drew 22 walks and struck out 71, scoring 36 runs and driving in another 36.

On May 8, Miller hit a two-out two-run game-tying double in the fifth inning against Pittsburgh, later adding an RBI-single and scoring in the ninth inning of a 6-3 victory over the Pirates. On June 26, Miller hit a three-run first-inning homer, a second-inning two-run single, and a seventh-inning double in an 11-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals. On July 7, he hit a sixth-inning single, and eighth-inning single, and a ninth-inning walkoff-RBI-single to defeat the San Diego Padres, 5-4. On August 6, he hit a second-inning two-run homer, a fifth-inning single, and a seventh-inning solo home run in a 6-3 loss to the Pirates.

The 1996 campaign would see Miller appear in a career-high 139 games for Houston, going 120-for-468 with 26 doubles, two triples, and 15 home runs with three stolen bases in 10 attempts. He slashed .256/.291/.417 with 14 walks and 116 strikeouts, with 43 runs and 58 driven in. Defensively, he started 110 games at shortstop (913 innings, .958) and 11 games at third base (148 13 innings, .949).

Miller had 31 multiple-hit games with Houston in 1996. On April 12, he hit hit a two-run second-inning homer to open the scoring against the Cincinnati Reds. Later, he drew a walk, hit an eighth-inning single, stole a base and scored another run in a 10-8, 10-inning victory. On July 28, he hit a leadoff-seventh-inning-single and later scored the walkoff game-winner with a leadoff solo shot in the ninth inning for a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. On August 24, he hit a third-inning single, then added a walkoff two-run homer for a 3-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.

On December 10, 1996, Miller was traded with Doug Brocail, Todd Jones, Brian Hunter and cash to the Detroit Tigers for C.J. Nitkowski, Daryle Ward, Trever MIller, Brad Ausmus, and José Lima. Orlando played in 50 games for Detroit (.234/.289/.369, two homers, 10 RBI). That was his last time in the majors, although he continued to play professionally through 2008.

220. Rob Andrews (Bagwell score 18.40) is a six-foot right-handed second baseman from Santa Monica, CA. Born on December 11, 1952, he was a 10th-round choice of the Baltimore Orioles in 1970 of South High School. On December 3, 1974,

Andrews reached the major leagues with the Astros in 1975, and appeared in 103 games with 81 starts at second base (689 23 innings, .982) and four at shortstop (36 innings, .875). He had 18 multiple-hit games that year, including three or more on four occasions. He slashed .238/.310/.285 with five doubles and four triples, stealing 12 bases in 17 attempts. Over his five-season career, it’s also notable that he drew more walks (148) than strikeouts (121). In 1975, he drew 31 versus 34, respectively, with 29 runs scored and 19 driven in.

In 1976, Andrews played in 109 games with the Astros, starting 101 games at second (913 23 innings, .977) and zero times at shortstop (four innings, 1.000). He slashed .256/.312/.300, going 105-for-410 with eight doubles and five triples, stealing seven bases in 10 attempts, drawing 33 walks to 27 strikeouts, scoring 42 times and driving in another 23 (but never himself). Andrews totaled 28 multiple-hit games, including 11 with three-or-more.

On March 26, 1977, Houston sent Andrews and cash to the San Francisco Giants for Willie Crawford and Rob Sperring. Andrews played three seasons with the Giants (281 games, .253/.324/.302, three homers, 49 RBI).

219. Rafael Montero (Bagwell score 24.05) is a six-foot right-handed pitcher from Higuerito, DR. Born on October 17, 1990, he got to the major leagues for the first time with the New York Mets in 2014 and spent parts of four seasons in the Big Apple (6-16, 5.38, 192 13 IP, 157 K).

Montero later played for the Texas Rangers (2-1, 3.09, 46 23 IP, 53 K) and the Seattle Mariners (5-3, 7.27, 43 13 IP, 37 K). On July 27, 2021, the Mariners sent Montero and Kendall Graveman to the Astros for Joe Smith and Abraham Toro.

Post-trade, Montero only pitched in four games for Houston, striking out five in six innings. He allowed an unearned run on three hits and two walks.

In 2022, Montero was an integral part of arguably the best pitching staff ever, and certainly the best in Astros history. Montero himself led the staff with 71 appearances, and walked 23 versus 73 strikeouts in 68 13 innings. He was 5-2 with a 2.37 ERA and a 1.024 WHIP, a .193/.268/.268 opposing slashline, and saved 14 games as Dusty Baker’s second option at closer behind Ryan Pressly.

Montero pitched with a 1.44 aLI, and stranded 16-of-21 inherited baserunners. In 25 of his appearances, he worked a 1-2-3 inning, including a pair of games where he struck out the side in such fashion. On May 29, Montero was credited with a win by striking out two in a perfect seventh inning, in a 2-1 win against the Mariners.

Montero pitched in 10 postseason games, and allowed one run on five hits over 9 13 innings. He walked six and struck out 10, and was the winning pitcher of record in Houston’s Game One 8-7 win over the Mariners in the ALDS.

Between the end of the World Series and the start of the 2023 season, the Astros signed Montero for three years and $34.5 million. During the first half of the season, many were concerned that Houston overpaid for Montero, as he struggled to a 7.76 ERA by June 25. Fortunately, he righted the ship and pitched to a 2.75 ERA the rest of the way.

Overall, Montero pitched in 68 games, walking 29 batters and striking out 78 in 67 13 innings. He was 3-3 with a 5.08 ERA and one save, with a 1.530 WHIP and an opposing slashline of .279/.356/.479. Used at a reduced aLI of 0.69, Montero stranded six-of-12 inherited baserunners. In 15 of his appearances, he pitched a 1-2-3 inning. Montero has two seasons remaining on his current deal.

218. Andújar Cedeño (Bagwell score 10.49) was a six-foot-one right-handed shortstop from La Romana, DR. Born on August 21, 1969, Cedeño got to the big leagues with the 1990 Astros, and went 0-for-8 with five strikeouts in seven games. He started twice defensively at shortstop, and fielded at .833 over 16 innings of work.

Cedeño started 66 times for the 1991 Astros at shortstop, appearing in 67 games in total. He slashed .243/.270/.418 with 13 doubles, two triples and nine home runs, with four steals in seven attempts. He drew nine walks and struck out 74 times, with 27 runs and 36 RBI to his credit. In 577 13 defensive innings, he made 18 errors for a .930 fielding percentage.

On August 25, 1992, Cedeño hit an RBI-triple in the second, a go-ahead solo-home run in the seventh, drew a walk in the ninth, added a double in the 11th, and hit a single in the 13th to complete an unorthodox cycle in a 5-3 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. Overall, he slashed .173/.232/.277 with 13 doubles, two triples and two home runs, with 13 RBI in 71 games.

In 1993, Cedeño played a career-high 149 games and hit .283/.346/.412 with 24 doubles, four triples and 11 home runs, with nine stolen bases in 16 attempts. He drew 48 walks and struck out 97 times, scoring 69 runs with 56 RBI. On April 13, Cedeño hit a fifth-inning leadoff double and an eighth-inning two-run go-ahead double and later scored in an eventual 9-6 Houston win over the Montreal Expos.

Cedeño played in 98 games for the 1994 Astros, slashing .263/.334/.418 with nine homers and 49 RBI. He had 23 multi-hit games, including 10 three-hit efforts. On April 10, he hit two doubles and a home run for three RBI in a 6-1 win over the New York Mets. On May 31, he hit an eighth-inning go-ahead two-run single for a 5-3 win against the Florida Marlins.

After the season, Houston traded Cedeño, Ken Caminiti, Roberto Petagine, Brian Williams, Steve Finley, and PTBNL Sean Fesh to the San Diego Padres for Derek Bell, Phil Plantier, Craig Shipley, Ricky Gutiérrez, Pedro Martinez, and Doug Brocail. After parts of two seasons for the Padres (169 games, .217/.273/.311, nine home runs, 49 RBI), then joined the Detroit Tigers for part of the 1996 campaign (52 games, .196/.213/.358, seven homers, 20 RBI). On September 11, 1996, Cedeño joined the Astros once more as part of a conditional deal with the Tigers but only appeared in three games and went 0-for-2 with two walks. It was his final look at the majors.

Cedeño continued to play baseball for the rest of his life, in the Dominican Republic. On October 28, 2000, he was killed in a car accident on his way home after a ballgame. He was 31.

That’s your seven players for today. Tomorrow, we’ll check out another seven, ranked from 211 through 217.

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