The Astros will win 90+ games, but fail to make the playoffs for the first time since 2016
Okay, this is going to make Astros fans mad, but hear us out. The Astros are still a good baseball team. Given the strength of their lineup alone, a winning record is all but a mortal lock unless something pretty weird happens. However, with key players getting older and others leaving town, this may finally be the year when things don't go the Astros' way.
Much of this is outside of Houston's control. The biggest hurdle that Houston has is that the American League is just getting stronger. The Rangers are the defending World Series champions and should be getting Jacob deGrom and Max Scherzer back at some point this season. The Orioles won 101 games last year, the Yankees just added Juan Soto and Marcus Stroman, and the Mariners, Rays, and Blue Jays all should be quite good in 2024. Hell, even the Red Sox could make some noise if the rest of the offseason goes their way and their young guys contribute.
Even if Houston performs exactly the same as they did last year which may not be realistic, that may not be enough to make the playoffs next year. Houston was fortunate to win the division last year as the Rangers and Mariners flubbed their chances to end their reign down the stretch. With the AL getting stronger and Houston largely standing pat, missing the playoffs altogether is a very real possibility whether Astros fans want to believe it or not.