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Astros: Top 10 non-prospects that surprised with big impacts

jwehr
HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 09: Jose Altuve #27 of the Houston Astros looks on from the bench at Minute Maid Park on August 9, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - AUGUST 09: Jose Altuve #27 of the Houston Astros looks on from the bench at Minute Maid Park on August 9, 2018 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images) /
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5. Morgan Ensberg

Mr. Ensberg is an enigma that I wish could’ve worked out. In a desperate time in Astros history, Ensberg could’ve (and was for a short time) been the long term answer for the Astros at third base.

Drafted in the 9th round of the 1998 MLB Draft, Ensberg would make his debut for the club two short years later in 2000. A year that Ensberg has attested is the reason his head games would last him a lifetime.

Early in Spring Training that year, two gunmen would barge into Ensbergs’ hotel room (along with five other players at the time) and would be thwarted in their attempt to rob the players. He would later debut that year as a September call-up and would only see action in the final four games of the 2000 season.

He wouldn’t get called upon again for another two years. During 2002, Ensberg would platoon the hot corner with Geoff Blum, until he ran away with the position in 2003 where he broke out and slugged a surprising 25 home runs and a .291 average.

In 2004, he was the clear cut favorite for the third base job but took a step back. Posting only a .275 average along with only 10 home runs in 411 plate appearances.

Then came the 2005 season. These were what the Astros fans were waiting for, slugging a monstrous 35 home runs, collecting his first all-star bid, and leading the Astros to their first World Series appearance. He would post a .265 average and 10 RBIs in the postseason. Things looked to be on the up-and-up for Morgan.

In 2006 Morgan was only second to the great Barry Bonds, as a player who amassed more walks than he did hits. He had 101 walks to his 91 hits. After that though, Ensberg completely fell off the board, spending one season with the New York Yankees before being demoted.

As far as his Astros tenure though, in a lineup that boasted Jeff Bagwell, Lance Berkman, Richard Hidalgo, and Jeff Kent, Ensberg’s plate discipline and power stroke made for an imposing lineup for opposing pitchers to face.

He would finish his Houston career with 110 home runs, 347 RBIs, and a .263 average.

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