A former Astros slugger is now getting a chance to prove his managing chops.
All major league managers had to get their start somewhere to achieve their post-playing career dream. Much like former Astros third baseman, Morgan Ensberg, is about find out. Or should we call him the new manager of the Class-A Tri-City ValleyCats?
Yes, you read that right; the Astros have hired Ensberg to skipper one of their minor league affiliates. Honestly, it has been a move a long time coming when you think about it.
The one-time All-Star has held various coaching positions with Houston. Most recently, he was named the team’s first-ever minor league mindset coach. I recommend that you check out articles from Jose de Jesus Ortiz, formerly of the Houston Chronicle, when the job was announced, and later Brian McTaggart of MLB.com. Both contain valuable information about this then-new, and interesting, position that the former Astro undertook.
Flash forward now to 2017, and the franchise feels like giving Ensberg a shot to prove his skills as the manager in Tri-City.
As he embarks on this new campaign in life, I can’t help but think back to Ensberg’s playing days.
For those who may have fuzzy memory, or may not even remember, Ensberg was once a key cog in the Astros lineup. In fact, he helped carry the team to its first ever, and only, World Series berth in 2005 in his best season as a professional.
Ensberg, 2005 offensive statistics
.283/.388/.557, 36 HR, 101 RBI, .274 ISO, 144 wRC+
In conjunction with Lance Berkman, Craig Biggio, and Jason Lane, Ensberg’s contributions made it possible to push the Astros to new heights. Thanks to his 6.1 WAR that season, he ranks third in overall WAR for Houston third baseman (14.4 WAR).
The unfortunate part of his Houston and major league career was that it did not last too long afterwards. Ensberg only lasted one more full season in Houston before being traded to the San Diego Padres in 2007. He then signed with the Cleveland Indians then New York Yankees for the 2008 season. The former third baseman then appeared in 28 games for the Bronx Bombers that same season. That season was his last appearance in the majors.
We do not forget his contributions to an Astros franchise that finally accomplished what was once seen as near-impossible: winning a postseason series in 2004 and advancing to the World Series in 2005. While it is fun to reminisce about his playing days, I am looking forward to Ensberg’s managing days in Tri-City. Who knows, maybe he will be part of the staff at Minute Maid one day.
**Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs**