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Houston Astros Vegas Forecast for Wins Lowest Since 2016

The Astros will need an ace version go Greinke to achieve theor goals in 2021.
The Astros will need an ace version go Greinke to achieve theor goals in 2021.
Photo by Jack Gorman
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The days of 100-win seasons are likely over for this window of Houston Astros baseball. Certainly, 2017 through 2019 was fun while it lasted. However, while this will likely not be an utterly dominant edition of our hometown team this season, it still has the makings of a pretty solid ball club. The Astros lose George Springer in free agency, and Justin Verlander is, once again, going to miss the season following arm surgery, but the everyday lineup should still be dominant offensively, and the pitching staff has some intriguing pieces.

To that end, the betting outlets have begun posting their season win totals, and here's how the Astros are faring on betonline.ag:

MLB Win Totals
Los Angeles Dodgers 103½
New York Yankees 95½
San Diego Padres 95½
Atlanta Braves 92½
Chicago White Sox 90½
New York Mets 89½
Minnesota Twins 88½
Houston Astros 87½
St. Louis Cardinals 87½
Toronto Blue Jays 87½
Oakland Athletics 86½
Tampa Bay Rays 86½
Washington Nationals 84½
Cincinnati Reds 83½
Los Angeles Angels 82½
Milwaukee Brewers 82½
Philadelphia Phillies 81½
Chicago Cubs 80½
Cleveland Indians 80½
Boston Red Sox 79½
Arizona Diamondbacks 75½
San Francisco Giants 75½
Miami Marlins 72½
Kansas City Royals 71½
Seattle Mariners 71½
Texas Rangers 67½
Detroit Tigers 65½
Baltimore Orioles 63½
Colorado Rockies 63½
Pittsburgh Pirates 58½

So they are no longer among the top two or three teams in the sport, but they are firmly in the upper third, and they are certainly believed to be the class of the American League West in 2021. If they are going to sail past their 87.5 win total in 2021, here are four things that must happen:

Four Horsemen (turned Three)
With Springer now gone, a big chunk of the Astros' collective soul walked out the door when the centerfielder signed a six-year, $150 million deal with the Toronto Blue Jays. We are now left with just three of the Four Horsemen of this Astro title window — Carlos Correa, Jose Altuve, and Alex Bregman. Lance McCullers has said that all three can contend for the AL MVP, and they will likely need to for the Astros to get back to threatening the 100-win mark. All three had VERY subpar shortened seasons in 2020, with Bregman hitting for an OPS 200 points below last season, and with Correa and Altuve hitting for paltry .709 and .629 OPS, respectively.

Yordan
One thing that will help this lineup immensely will be the return of Yordan Alvarez, presumably fully healthy after offseason knee surgery to repair torn patellar tendons. In 2020, the 2019 AL Rookie of the Year returned midseason for just eight at-bats before shutting it down. When he is healthy, Alvarez is a phenom who can carry the middle of a lineup as well as any young hitter in baseball. It will be interesting to see if his newly repaired knees allow him to play in the field more, as opposed to being a full time DH. That would be nice, as it would free up the aging Michael Brantley to get some DH days in, and take a few days off from the grind of playing left field.

Big Three Aces (sort of)
The Astros have made a habit throughout this title window of having multiple ace level pitchers at the top of the rotation. With Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander in 2017; Verlander and Gerrit Cole in 2018; Verlander, Cole and Zack Greinke in 2019. It's been a fun window for you pitching enthusiasts. So who will the aces be this time around? There is potential here, but nothing as certain as Verlander was for those three magical seasons between 2017 and 2019. Greinke is a future Hall of Famers, McCullers has flashed All Star potential, and Framber Valdez was the closest thing they had to an ace in 2021. They will likely need 13 to 17 wins out of each of these guys to contend in 2021.

Pressly
Then, finally there's the closer's role. After losing Roberto Osuna early in the 2020 season, it was left up to Ryan Pressly to close out games, and he did so with mixed results. Pressly enters 2021 as the closer, once again, but the support from some of the young arms is now experienced support. If Pressly struggles, one name to keep an eye on to close out games is Enoli Paredes, whose electric, swing-and-miss stuff is tailor-made for a closer's role.

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at
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