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Astros Crawfish Boil: February 13, 2024

Your Tuesday Boil, including chapter 100 of Everystros.

Morgan Ensberg
| Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images

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Houston Astros News

Astros’ 2024 Offense: Addition by addition (And a little subtraction) (Chipalatta)

New Astros manager Joe Espada is ready to write his next chapter (The Athletic)

The 24 best players in Houston Astros history (Yardbarker) — Everystros, extreme laziness edition

Unraveling the 3 most compelling storylines as the Astros hit spring training (SportsMap Houston)

Alex Bregman, Kyle Tucker contract extensions get murky update from Astros GM (ClutchPoints)

AL West News

A’s — MLB Spring Training 2024: Dates to know for Giants, A’s (Sactown Sports

Blarts — Effectively Wild Episode 2124: Season Preview Series: Rangers and Cubs (FanGraphs)

M’s — Why anger over Mariners’ offseason moves might have been premature (The Seattle Times)

Halos — Angels Returning To Five-Man Rotation Led By Patrick Sandoval, Reid Detmers & Young Pitchers (Yardbarker)

MLB News

The Pulled Fly Ball Revolution Was Always Underway (Fangraphs)

21 swings, 10 home runs: Quite the BP session for Shohei

Every team’s projected Opening Day lineup, rotation

13-year-old Youki Robyn Aoshima blazes trail at DIBAT tournament

Profar heading back to Padres on 1-year deal

Snell keeping busy by coaching kids in Seattle

Cy Young favorites and sleepers for 2024 (no-stros)

Houston Astros Birthdays

RF Matt Mieske (56)

Everystros C

42. Denny Walling (Bagwell score 56.42) is a six-foot lefty-batting and right-handed throwing third baseman and outfielder from Neptune, NJ. Born on April 17, 1954, he was an eighth-round choice of the San Francisco Giants in 1974 out of Brookdale Community College. He did not sign, and was later selected in the first round of the June-Secondary Phase of the draft in 1975 out of Clemson University by the Oakland Athletics. Two-hundred-thirty-one players have been drafted out of Clemson, and of the 58 who reached the majors, Walling ranks fourth with 12.1 bWAR.

Walling reached the majors with the A’s in 1975, and appeared in nine games over parts of two seasons, going four-for-19 with a double and two RBI at the plate. On June 15, 1977, the A’s sent Walling and cash to the Astros for Willie Crawford.

Walling played 12 seasons with the Astros, appearing in 1069 games and starting 72 times in left field (722 23 innings, .979), 84 times in right field (794 23 innings, .980), 13 times in center field (125 23 innings, no errors), 140 games at first base (1421 innings, .992), and 294 games at third base (2559 13 innings, .949). The more mathematically minded of you already know that works out to 603 starts, but what of the other 466? Guy was a pinch-hitting specialist, long before Matt Stairs.

As a hitter, Walling slashed .277/.345/.402, going 725-for-2615 with 125 doubles, 30 triples, 47 home runs, and 43 stolen bases in 61 attempts. He drew 281 walks and struck out 267 times, with 350 runs scored and 345 runs batted in.

On October 2, 1977, Walling hit a seventh-inning go-ahead three-run triple in a 6-3 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

On April 24, 1978, Walling hit a walk-off 10th-inning RBI-single against the San Diego Padres, in a 4-3 Houston victory. On August 5, he hit a sixth-inning three-run go-ahead double in an eventual 5-3 victory over the Atlanta Braves. On September 10, he hit a second-inning RBI-groundout, a fifth-inning single, and a seventh-inning triple and a run, in a 3-2 triumph against San Diego.

On May 25, 1979, Walling hit a ninth-inning double and scored the game-tying run, but Houston eventually lost, 2-1 on a Dan Briggs walk-off RBI-sacrifice fly. On June 6, he hit a game-tying three-run homer in a 4-3 victory against the Philadelphia Phillies. On June 23, he hit a ninth-inning game-tying RBI-single, then later in the frame scored the walk-off game-winning run to defeat the Padres, 3-2.

On August 15, 1980, Walling hit four singles with one RBI in a 16-inning victory against San Diego.

On April 29, 1981, Walling hit a go-ahead two-run jack and a ninth-inning single in a 5-4 victory over the Atlanta Braves. In 11 postseason contests through his Astros career, he was only six-for-34 overall, with a .176/.194/.206 slashline, but he did give us this moment:

On August 18, 1982, Walling drew a bases-loaded game-tying ninth-inning RBI-walk in a 15-inning, 5-3 loss to the Phillies.

On July 28, 1983, Walling hit an eighth-inning RBI-triple to close a two-run deficit to one against Philadelphia, but the Phillies hung on to defeat Houston, 6-5. On September 8, he hit a 10th-inning go-ahead pinch-RBI-double, in a 3-2 win over San Diego.

On April 15, 1984, Walling hit an eighth-inning two-run game-tying single, in a 6-5 win over the Cincinnati Reds. On May 30, he hit a lead-changing sixth-inning two-run triple, then scored in an eventual 6-4 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. On August 10, he hit three singles and a triple, scoring a pair of runs in an 11-7 victory against the Reds. On August 23, he hit four singles, scoring twice and driving one in to help defeat the Cardinals, 9-6.

On April 19, 1985, Walling hit four singles and totaled three RBI in a 9-5 loss to the Braves.

On July 2, 1986, Walling hit a single in the first, a lead-changing three-run third-inning homer, a fifth-inning solo home run, and an eighth-inning two-run single in an 8-1 victory over the Padres. On July 10, he hit two singles and two doubles, scoring three runs and driving in one RBI in an 11-4 win over the Phillies. On August 5, he hit a first-inning single, a third-inning single, a game-tying eighth-inning solo homer, and a ninth-inning solo homer in a 10-2 win against the Dodgers. On September 2, he hit a ninth-inning go-ahead double and a 17th-inning single, later scoring a run in an eventual 8-7 win over the Chicago Cubs.

On April 21, 1987, Walling hit a ninth-inning two-out walk-off pinch-RBI-single to defeat the Braves, 7-6. On May 27, he hit two singles and two doubles, scoring three runs in a 7-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. On June 6, he hit a first-inning single, a fourth-inning single and a run, a pair of walks and a ninth-inning, game-tying RBI-double in an eventual 4-3 loss to the San Francisco Giants. On July 25, he hit a first-inning double and scored, and a fifth-inning RBI-triple and a run in a 7-5 win over the New York Mets.

On August 31, 1988, the Astros traded Walling to St. Louis for Bob Forsch. Walling played in parts of three seasons for the Cardinals (166 games, .246/.308/.326, two home runs, 31 RBI), and a season for the Texas Rangers (24 games, .091/.184/.114, two RBI). Walling returned to the Astros in 1992, and played in three games in April. After going 0-for-2 in his first two games, he collected a single in his final plate appearance on April 10, coming around to score in an 8-5 loss to Cincinnati.

Walling later caught on as a hitting coach with the Oakland Athletics from 1996 through 1998, the New York Mets in 2003 and 2004, and for a few years at Triple-A with the Baltimore Orioles, for the Norfolk Tides.

41. Morgan Ensberg (Bagwell score 68.35) is a six-foot-two right-handed third baseman from Redondo Beach, CA. Born on August 26, 1975, he was a 61st-round choice of the Seattle Mariners in 1994 out of Redondo Union High School. He didn’t sign, and in 1998 he was a ninth-round choice of the Astros out of the University of Southern California. Nine players reached the majors out of the round, led by Mark Teixeira (50.6 bWAR). Ensberg ranks second of all players taken with the 272nd overall pick, after Jacob deGrom (44.8 bWAR).

Ensberg reached the majors for Houston in 2000, going two-for-seven over four appearances. Then, between 2002 and 2007, he played in 669 games for the Astros, starting 515 times at third base (4829 23 innings, .955), one game at designated hitter, and two innings at shortstop without an error. As a hitter, he slashed .266/.367/.475, going 551-for-2072 with 99 doubles, 10 triples, 105 home runs, and 22 stolen bases in 40 attempts. He drew 319 walks and struck out 395 times, scoring 323 runs and driving in 335. He won a 2005 Silver Slugger and also made the All-Star Team.

On April 23, 2002, Ensberg hit a two-run triple in the seventh and scored, then added a 12th-inning single in a 4-3 loss to the Florida Marlins.

On May 24, 2003, Ensberg hit a two-run double in the seventh, then drew a walk in the ninth inning of a 3-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs. On July 2, he hit a second-inning double, a fourth-inning two-run homer, and added a pair of walks in a 5-3 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers. On September 6, he hit a first-inning single, a third-inning single, a fourth-inning two-run game-tying single, and a go-ahead two-run eighth-inning double in a 10-4 win over the San Diego Padres. On September 25, he hit a fifth-inning home run and a seventh-inning home run in a 6-1 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers.

On July 2, 2004, Ensberg hit a sixth-inning RBI-single and an eighth-inning two-run homer in a 7-5 win over the Texas Rangers. The next day, he drew a walk and scored in the second, a fifth-inning grand slam, drew a walk and scored in the sixth, On July 19, he hit a second-inning single and scored and added a sixth-inning three-run lead-changing double in a 7-6 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers. On September 26, he singled and scored in the first, singled in the third, singled and scored in the fifth, then hit an eighth-inning RBI-single in an 11-7 win over Milwaukee.

On May 15, 2005, Ensberg hit one single and three home runs for five RBI in a 9-0 win over the San Francisco Giants. On June 28, he hit one home run and walked twice, totaling five RBI in a 6-5 loss to the Colorado Rockies. On August 9, he hit a single and two home runs with three RBI in a 6-5 loss to the Washington Nationals. On August 15, he hit three singles and a homer with three RBI in a 12-4 win over the Chicago Cubs. On September 2, he hit a ninth-inning game-tying home run, and a 13th-inning single in a 6-5 walk-off win against the St. Louis Cardinals. On September 28, he hit a first-inning single, a fourth-inning single, a fifth-inning single and a run scored, and hit a go-ahead ninth-inning RBI-double in a 7-6 win against the Cardinals.

On April 10, 2006, Ensberg hit a fourth-inning single and scored, then smacked a 10th-inning game-tying home run in an eventual 5-4 win over the Washington Nationals. On April 18, he hit a single and two home runs for three RBI in a 13-12 win over the Milwaukee Brewers. On May 12, he hit a three-run sixth-inning go-ahead home run, and a seventh-inning RBI-single and a run scored in a 12-2 win over the Colorado Rockies. On September 8, he hit a seventh-inning lead-changing home run in a 4-3 win over the Brewers.

On July 31, 2007, Houston sent Ensberg to the Padres as part of a conditional deal. Ensberg spent the remainder of 2007 with San Diego (30 games, .224/.308/.483, four home runs, eight RBI) and 2008 with the New York Yankees (28 games, .203/.263/.243, one home run, four RBI). Ensberg went into management after retiring as a player, and for the past five seasons has managed the Tampa Bay Rays Double-A team, the Montgomery Biscuits.

40. Luis Gonzalez (Bagwell score 61.67) is a six-foot-two lefty-batting righty-throwing leftfielder from Tampa, FL. Born on September 3, 1967, he was a fourth-round pick of the Astros in 1988 out of the University of South Alabama. One of six to reach the bigs out of the round, he’s the only one to total over 1.4 bWAR, finishing with 51.6.

Gonzalez reached the Astros in 1990, and remained with the team until mid-1995, then again for the 1997 season. In 745 games in total, he made 659 starts in left field (5841 13 innings, .984), two at first base (14 23 innings, no errors), and three starts at third base (28 innings, no errors).

On May 1, 1991, Gonzalez hit a single and two home runs for four RBI in an 11-8 loss to the Chicago Cubs. On June 6, he hit a second-inning double, drew a walk and scored in the sixth, then hit a ninth-inning double, and scored the walk-off game-winning run on an Eric Yelding two-run single in a 9-8 victory over the Montreal Expos. On June 17, he hit a first-inning RBI-single, an 11th-inning go-ahead RBI-double, and a 14-inning single in a 16-inning loss to the Expos. On July 3, he hit a single and a home run with five RBI in a 9-0 victory against the San Francisco Giants. On July 17, he hit two singles and two doubles, scoring three runs and driving in one run in a 10-2 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

On April 24, 1992, Gonzalez hit a second-inning double, and a fifth-inning three-run go-ahead jack in a 4-2 victory against the Atlanta Braves. On June 6, he doubled and scored in the fifth then drew a bases-loaded RBI-walk in the seventh inning of a 12-6 loss to the Giants. On June 13, he hit a three-run go-ahead home run in a 4-1 win over San Francisco. On August 15, he hit three singles and a triple in a 5-0 win over the Cubs. On August 26, he hit a first-inning single and scored, a game-tying two-run homer in the seventh, and a 10th-inning single, later coming home with the walk-off winning run in a 6-5 win over the Cardinals. On September 9, he hit a pinch-single in the fifth and a go-ahead RBI-double in the seventh in a 6-4 victory over San Francisco. On September 29, in a 6-5 triumph over the Padres, he hit a sixth-inning single and scored, then added a ninth-inning two-run walk-off double.

On April 7, 1993, Gonzalez hit a two-run homer in the fourth, a solo homer in the seventh, and a ninth-inning single in a 6-3 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. On April 23, he got on base twice via HBP before hitting a sixth-inning single and stealing a base and hit a go-ahead two-run double in the eighth to defeat the Pirates, 4-2. On July 16, he hit three singles and a double in a 7-6 win over the Cardinals. On July 23, he hit three singles and a double in a 5-1 victory against the Cubs. On August 21, he hit an eighth-inning pinch-single, then hit a walk-off RBI-single in the 10th to defeat the Philes, 3-2. On September 6, he hit a double and a home run with five RBI in a 7-2 victory over the New York Mets. On September 15, he hit two singles, a double, and a home run with two runs scored and a pair of RBI in a 6-4 loss to Colorado.

On May 1, 1994, Gonzalez hit a fourth-inning single, a three-run game-tying homer, and an eighth-inning single with a stolen base in a 6-5 loss to St. Louis. On May 22, he hit a seventh-inning lead-changing two-run double in a 7-6 loss to San Diego. On June 30, he hit a lead-changing sixth-inning three-run homer in a 5-3 win against the Cubs. On July 2, he hit a lead-changing two-run double in the eighth inning to help defeat the Cubs, 5-4.

On May 17, 1995, Gonzalez hit three singles and a triple with three RBI in a 7-2 victory over the Mets. On June 13, he hit a three-run lead-changing eighth-inning home run to top the Phillies, 6-5. On June 28, the Astros sent Gonzalez with Scott Servais to the Cubs for Rick Wilkins.

From mid-1995 through the 1996 season, Gonzalez played for the Cubs (223 games, .278/.365/.454, 22 home runs, 113 RBI). After the 1996 season, he resigned with the Astros through free agency.

On April 11, 1997, Gonzalez hit four singles and scored one run in a 4-2 loss to St. Louis. On July 20, he totaled six RBI on a double and two homers in a 9-0 win over Montreal. Granted free agency once more following the season, he signed on with the Detroit Tigers (154 games, .267/.340/.475, 23 home runs, 71 RBI), later playing with the Diamondbacks (1194 games, .298/.391/.529, 224 home runs, 774 RBI). the Dodgers (139 games, .278/.359/.433, 15 home runs, 68 RBI) and the Marlins (136 games, .261/.336/.413, eight homers, 47 RBI).

Since his retirement, Gonzalez has been a part of Arizona’s franchise in a series of assistant jobs.

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