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How the West CAN be Won by the Astros

The Astros rose from the dead and are now in striking distance for the postseason. Dive into Part Two to see how the West CAN be Won by the Astros!


This will be a two-part series.


In this part two, we will explore where the Houston Astros go from here for the rest of the season. We will look at several metrics to show you how and why the Astros can win the AL West and possibly even should make the postseason.


Prepare for the data avalanche!


Part One chronicled the rise from 4/25/24 and the terrible 7-19 record to now being 40-40 and in striking distance of a postseason opportunity.


Here are the records of the MLB teams since 4/26/24.


The Astros are fifth in win percentage in that time. They have been winning at a 99-win pace since 4/26. Has ANYONE told you that? I just did.


Let me ask you a question.


What is more relevant to the rest of the season?

  • the 7-19 start while the pitching was in complete injury disarray

  • the 33-21 record since 4/25 in MORE THAN TWICE as many games


Looking forward, let's start with how the projection systems and how I predict the rest of the season on a game level. I will then show you why it could be even better.



On 5/1/24 I projected the Astros record by month for the rest of the year.

I like the track record here. If the Astros have a good weekend in New York, they could be right on pace.


Here are my projections for the Astros and Mariners by month.



Notice where Fangraphs, Baseball Reference, and Baseball Prospectus have the odds of the Astros making the postseason.


Notice that Baseball Prospectus has the Astros BARELY edging out the Mariners to WIN the AL West.


I have both the Astros and Mariners finishing 87-75 and unfortunately the Mariners would have the tiebreaker.


Let me go one the record with the detail of series by series what I think the Astros and Mariners will do.

How is that for specific? OF COURSE, it will be wrong. I give you this to see what it would take the Astros to win the AL West. It would take at least this.


Let's look at the relative schedules of the AL contenders. This data is two days old.

The data at the top shows how many times each team plays the other. The numbers in the black cells are the total number of games each team has against the other AL contenders. As teams drop out of contention we will update.


One subtle thing to see in this data is that the AL East teams all have a lot of intra-division games with each other. They all can't win 60% of those games. The same is true with the four AL Central teams.


Folks, Texas, Detroit, and Toronto are very close to falling out of contender status. That would mean the AL West may soon become a two-team race between Houston and Seattle.


I also added the top four NL Teams.


In summary, the Mariners, Royals, and Astros all play fewer games vs. contenders. This is part of the story how the West CAN be Won by the Astros.


Pitching


Here is some critical data to understand the status of the Astros pitching and how it projects for the rest of the year.

As shown in part one, there were REASONS the pitching was so bad early.


Since the terrible start, the staff ERA is actually VERY GOOD (3.58), but the FIP is still warning us that it may not be real.


Since 5/12 however, the Astros pitching is SECOND in ERA (3.17) AND the FIP (3.85) is ninth in the MLB. The Astros could win a LOT with the pitching the have had for the last 41 games.


Currently, the Projection systems have the Astros as the 12th best pitching staff by WAR. This would be far better than it has been on the season.


The pitching could get EVEN better. These pitchers are all on the IL and expected to return, and here are their projected stats.

McCullers and Garcia could REALLY help this pitching staff. We will talk about the more when their arrival nears.


Hitting


The Astros batting has been a top 5-10 offense this season. As covered,



"The Astros have been one of the worst teams in the MLB with Abreu.

The Astros have been one of the best teams in the MLB without Abreu."


How big has the impact been and where can the offense go without Abreu now?

With Abreu, the Astros hit 0.724 OPS (106 wRC+) which was 11th in the league.


Without Abreu, the Astros have hit 0.766 OPS (117 wRC+) which is 3rd and 4th in the league. This includes


The Astros have done OK (113 wRC+) without Tucker in the lineup since 6/4/24. Projections pegging the team to hit 118 wRC+ for the rest of the season are probably in the right range.


What does it all mean in a historical context?


Let's look at the WAR rankings over the past three seasons and this year.


The season record and its relative percentage rank closely models the average WAR ranking of the batting and pitching.


In 2024 YTD, the batting has been the 9th best WAR, and the pitching has been the 23rd best WAR. That would be an average of the 16th best WAR and that fits for a team that is 40-40.


As shown above for the rest of the 2024 season, the batting projects to be the 4th best WAR, and the pitching projects to be the 12th best WAR. That would be an average of the 8th best WAR. The eighth best WAR would typically win at 46-36 pace for the rest of the year.


Every way I have looked at this, the Astros SHOULD end the season with 84 to 88 wins this year. This is what Clint and I were saying back in April.


Is that enough to win the AL West? That probably depends on Seattle injuries and what trades they make.


Is that enough to make the postseason. It might be. Here are the records of the third AL/ NL Wildcards.


I implored you NOT to trust anyone that told you that the Astros are done and trading everyone. I begged you in April to pay attention to the data I was sharing with you that things WOULD get better. Clint and I said we thought this team COULD be back to 0.500 by the end of June.


I asked you to remember who predicted what. Please support those that told you the truth. Subscribe to this site with a premium or MoneyMaker account. If you prefer signup at Patreon. Please subscribe to the YouTube channel. Please join Clint and I for the "Astros Weekly Recaps."


The data here shows how the West CAN be Won by the Astros. We will see if it happens or if they can get into the last Wildcard spot.


Discover how Clint sees that the Astros turned a corner with a weekend full of energy, great performance, and hope for the rest of the season. Check out the in-depth analysis now!


Next time, we will explore how the West CAN be won by the Astros.


Let's get ready for the Rockies tonight.



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