Latest MLB power rankings from NBC Sports is a brutal dose of reality for the Astros

The national media is beginning to notice that the Astros' struggles may be more than just a flash in the pan.
2024 Mexico City Series - Houston Astros v Colorado Rockies
2024 Mexico City Series - Houston Astros v Colorado Rockies / Hector Vivas/GettyImages

Nothing seems to be going right for the Houston Astros this season. Their pitching staff has been ravaged by injuries of varying degrees; their prized offseason signing, Josh Hader, has been terrible even with his new willingness to throw multiple innings; and they just had to send the 37-year-old slugger Jose Abreu down to the minors after agreeing to pay him $19.5 million a year for three years a little over a year ago.

All of this came in a season full of high expectations and urgency ahead of a closing window of contention. Houston managed to extend Jose Altuve this offseason, which was great even if the last couple years of the deal could be rough, but Alex Bregman is likely leaving after the season, and both Kyle Tucker and Framber Valdez still don't have contract extensions. Houston HAD to at least win this year and they, well, haven't.

Everyone seems to be coming around to the idea that this isn't just a phase and the Astros may actually just not be good in 2024 as NBC Sports released their MLB power rankings this week and Houston came in 23rd.

Astros get no love in MLB power rankings and with good reason

As shocking as it may be to see the Astros residing with the dregs of MLB this year, it is hard to argue with the reasoning. Yordan Alvarez has been mostly ordinary; Bregman and the bottom third of the lineup have been bad; and their pitching staff has been very hurt (and also ranks in the bottom five by almost whatever number you prefer when evaluating a pitching staff).

Is there hope? Of course there is -- it's only the first week of May. If Alvarez goes on a heater, Bregman remembers how to hit, and the pitching staff can bring their ERA closer to 4 than 5, Houston could easily put together a run. There is also the lottery ticket that the Astros just scratched when they decided to promote Joey Loperfido, who could, in theory, be a difference-maker, although that is a big ask of a rookie.

Still, a lot of "ifs" that have to go the Astros way for them to even get back to respectability this season. Based on how things are trending, fans are more likely to be wondering who the Astros could trade away at the deadline and not who Houston could be playing in the postseason this year.

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