Houston Astros

Can Astros Build on Success From 2015?

With a 6-2 lead in Game 4 of the ALDS, the Astros were six outs away from advancing to the ALCS, but they blew the lead, and ultimately the series against the Royals, ending their 2015 season. Despite the heartbreaking end to the season, 2015 was a tremendous success for the team that was expected to be among MLB’s basement dwellers. They entered 2015 with +5000 odds to win the World Series, but expectations are much higher this year with the ‘Stros looked upon as one of the league’s best teams.

At +1600, Houston has the fourth best odds among American League teams on Sportsbook’s World Series odds list. Led by the likes of 2015 Cy Young Sportsbook Dallas Keuchel and all-world shortstop Carlos Correa, the Astros have the potential to make a deep postseason run. However, teams who lose in a Division Series don’t have a strong track record of championship success the following year. Over the last 20 years, only three of 80 teams (3.75%) to lose in a division series went on the win the World Series the following year.

To win the American League Pennant, the Astros’ odds sit at +700 — the best among any team in the AL West. Once again looking at teams who lose in a Division Series, only five of 80 teams (6.25%) over the last 20 years advanced to the World Series the following year. This team could buck that trend though, as most of their stars haven’t reached their prime yet.

Division Series losers fare much better at making the playoffs the following year, as 40% of them over the last 20 years returned to the playoffs next season. As favorites to win the AL West at +125, the Astros should be the best team in the division in 2016. The Rangers will have a full season of Cole Hamels and Yu Darvish should be back in late May/early June, but the youth of the Astros simply has more potential than the Rangers’ veteran-laden roster.

Looking at their O/U win total of 87.5 set by Sportsbook, it’s on par with the 86 games they won last season, and 0.5 games less than the total of the AL West division winning Rangers last season. The Astros won’t be helped in interleague play this season as they’re scheduled to face off against NL Central powerhouses, the Cubs, Pirates and Cardinals. The last time Houston went over the 87.5 win mark was in 2005, and they’ve topped the number eight times in franchise history. The Astros joined the division in 2013, and are yet to capture a division crown.

A forgotten man amongst the youth movement on the Astros roster might be outfielder Carlos Gomez, who will be a free agent at the end of the season. After averaging 23.5 home runs, 73 RBI’s, 37 steals and a .284 batting average in 2013 and 2014, Gomez spent a chunk of 2015 on the bench, as a number of injuries caused him to miss nearly 30% of the season. Playing for a big money contract makes Gomez an excellent candidate for a bounce-back year, and if fantasy is your thing, he might be a nice steal in the middle rounds of your draft.

The sky is the limit for the Astros this season, as they’ll field one of the more exciting teams in the big leagues. Quite simply, if the young players on the squad continue to improve, expect to see them playing again in October.

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2016 houston astros Futures Odds
Market Odds
World Series +1600
American League Pennant +700
American League West +125
Win Totals 87.5

Odds as of April 1 at Sportsbook