Power rankings: Are the Houston Astros not a playoff team?
MLB.com recently released their first power rankings, and they did not have the Houston Astros as a playoff team.
The 2021 Houston Astros will look slightly different than in recent years. With the loss of George Springer, the Astros need to make moves to fill the holes in their lineup, while also factoring in the expiring contracts on their roster. For the Astros, 2021 could be a possible contending season once again, but MLB.com has released their first power rankings list, and it has Houston ranked No. 13. While 13th on the list, the Astros are the eighth best team in the American League, which would put them out of the postseason if MLB goes back to two Wild Card spots.
The article doesn’t give any reasoning, but in another article from MLB.com, Mike Petriello projects the Astros to have the fourth best WAR in baseball and that is factored in by current rosters.
Where Houston Stands
Power rankings do not mean anything in the long haul, but where the Astros stand right now on MLB’s list is noteworthy. The Astros are down Springer and Michael Brantley, who were massive pieces in the 2020 postseason, but teams like the Minnesota Twins and Oakland A’s were exposed by a below .500 Astros team. Their ranking factors in how teams have had recent success and how they aren’t losing key players while Houston is looking for replacements. The Astros have been a team that progresses late in the season, and we saw that once again this season. MLB.com has pointed to the Astros two big holes being in the outfield and the bullpen, and while the Astros have pitching talent, it is ideal for them to pursue a veteran arm.
The Astros being at No. 13 is arguable by the changes we are seeing in Tampa Bay, the possible trades within Cleveland, and the youthin Toronto. The Rays are one of the smallest markets in baseball, and most recently lost two starting pitchers. While trading Cy Young winner Blake Snell, they also lost veteran arm Charlie Morton in free agency to the Atlanta Braves. They still have offensive weapons such as Randy Arozarena and Willy Adames, but it has been reported they are shopping Kevin Kiermaier. The Cleveland Indians are dealing with their own issues of contracts as Francisco Lindor is nearing free agency while Jose Ramirez and Shane Bieber are looking to be paid. They also stand around the third best team in the toughest division in the American League. The Toronto Blue Jays were also a postseason team in 2020 and look to be a suitor for Springer, but their youthfulness is Vlad Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, and many more. They lack a strong rotation, but they went after Robbie Ray this offseason to add a former All-Star to their developing team. These three teams seem to be in different places, but the argument can be made that if the Astros sign Brantley, a centerfielder, and build up their bullpen, then they will surpass these teams. That, of course, is a lot of ifs.
Houston is far from being complete, as the front office has been quiet so far. While we might think they will snatch up Brantley and a starting center fielder, we have to remember that these moves haven’t been made yet, and this is why they are ranked so low despite their recent success.