With Yordan Alvarez, Martin Maldonado, Michael Brantley and Kyle Tucker all returning to the lineup on Tuesday, the Houston Astros bounced back against their American League West foes in the Oakland A’s. While pushing the A’s to 4.5 games back, Alvarez returned from the paternity list with two home runs off Oakland’s ace, Chris Bassitt.
As some players regress every other game, you can expect the weight of the lineup to be picked up by another star. With Myles Straw getting on base three times and Alvarez accounting for 5 RBI, these two responded to the combined 0-for-8 from Carlos Correa and Martin Maldonado. Not every game will go as planned, but this offense has the best next man up mentality.
With Bryan Abreu also returning to the field for the first time since his calf injury, the right-hander fanned two batters over two innings while allowing one hit. This was a perfect response to Framber Valdez’s poor outing.
While the A’s made their way to Minute Maid Park, we should take a look at the former Astros that are now in Oakland.
For a team like the A’s, their 40-man roster continues to shift, as they rely on advanced metrics rather than money at a higher level. We all know Moneyball, but with Billy Beane no longer in full control, the A’s are still adapting and surviving.
These rankings are solely based on the 40-man roster players at the moment including a pitcher currently on the 60-day injured list. While I will most likely factor in their careers as Astros, their impact and likeness on the team will also be a factor.
1. Jed Lowrie
This was hard, but please bare with me. Jed Lowrie was with the Astros through some dark times, while mainly a replacement at shortstop, the switch-hitter is known for his two-flapped helmet and his Star Wars themed promotions along with his two stints with the team.
In two season with Houston (2012 & 2015), Lowrie slashed .235/.323/.423 with 25 home runs. Fans never set a standard for how they wanted Lowrie to player, because frankly, he was an Astro during the rebuild and the 2015 postseason push. He was a reliable role player that brought Brendan McCurry (minors), Chris Carter, Brad Peacock and Max Stassi to Houston when he was traded away. The two players lost in his two trades were Fernando Rodriguez Jr. and Mark Melancon (only one that hurts).
Without Peacock, the Astros wouldn’t have had that needed long reliever in the 2017 World Series, so in the end, Lowrie helped the Astros. Injuries have plagued the career of Lowrie, while his time in Houston was accustomed to his stints in the injured list. There was more potential for the former Astro that has gone forgotten.
2. Tony Kemp
Everyone knows that Tony Kemp is the face of former Astros that every fan loves. His 5′ 6″ stature and smile that goes ear-to-ear graced the eyes of many fans from 2016-2019. While being a role player for the greatest stretch of Astros’ baseball in franchise history, it makes sense to fall in love with his hugs for home runs and his fun nature.
Over 239 games with the Astros, the left-hander slashed .240/.322/.376 with an OPS south of .700. Kemp was never a power-hitter, but he was always a player that fans loved to count on. While a fifth-round pick out of Vanderbilt University, Kemp had a lot of potential, as his recruitment had Mookie Betts, a future MVP, looking to University of Tennessee instead.
Kemp was dealt away from the Astros in late July of 2019 for Martin Maldonado, who was entering his second stint in Houston. While always receiving a warm welcome from Houston fans, you have every right to see Kemp as the best former Astro on the A’s. In part to overall production, Lowrie was slightly ahead of him even in a smaller sample size.
3. Ramon Laureano
I am not totally sure how much this one counts, but Ramon Laureano was drafted in the 16th round by the Astros in 2014. The right-hander reached as high as Double-A in Houston’s farm system, before being traded for Brandon Bailey, who was selected by the Baltimore Orioles in the 2019 Rule 5 Draft, returned and then later bought by the Cincinnati Reds.
Sure, it was a lost trade, but there wouldn’t have been much room for Laureano when he was coming up. With Marwin Gonzalez, George Springer, Michael Brantley, Josh Reddick, Jake Marisnick and others fluctuating throughout the outfield, he wouldn’t have seen much playing time if he was called up.
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We know about his short temper, especially after he charged the Astros’ dugout in response to a joke that Alex Cintron allegedly made about his mother. There isn’t much love for Laureano, but fun fact, he did end up facing Bailey in 2020.
4. Mike Fiers
While currently on the 60-day IL, Mike Fiers is still a former Astro on the A’s. The sign stealing scandal was made fully aware of by Fiers, and although many opposing fans think this is the sole reason why Astros’ fans despise him, they are sorely wrong.
Fiers profited off the Astros winning the World Series, and then later exposed them for cheating. It was wrong, but as many players have stated, they were “keeping up with the times.” While many believe he is dodging the Astros, Fiers hasn’t pitched against Houston since 2019. The right-hander pitched three seasons with the Astros, where he recorded the first no-hitter in franchise history at Minute Maid Park.
The Astros are back on the field on Wednesday at 7:10 p.m. with Luis Garcia matching up against left-hander and AL Pitcher of the Month, Sean Manea. Gary Pettis returned home to Minute Maid Park as well, where he was greeted by a roar of fans and also the duty of bringing out the lineup card.