There are teams that we thought were out out of it, like the Seattle Mariners and the Detroit Tigers, and there are teams that are definitely out of it, like the Cleveland Indians and the Miami Marlins.
Then there are the Houston Astros. I mean Lastros. Well, actually more like Disastros. The Astros are in a league of their own, for all the wrong reasons.
Yes, this was a thing that happened.
As of August 23, the Astros are 39-86 and 36.5 games behind the first-place Cincinnati Reds in the NL Central. To put it in perspective, the Astros would have to win their final 37 games and the Reds would have to lose their final 36 games just to tie for first place!
This is not just some string of bad luck or an under-performing team, this Astros team has to boast one of the worst rosters in MLB history. By my count, only three (Jose Altuve, Brett Wallace and injured Jed Lowrie) of the Astros eight position players are legitimate MLB players.
@HowManyAltuves in an Altuve?
Only one pitcher on their current staff has more than three years of MLB experience. Bud Norris has regressed from an average pitcher to a disappointment and 21-year-old Jordan Lyles seems completely over matched at the MLB level. The only pitcher on the current roster with any shred of hope to become a decent starter is Lucas Harrell who has ten of the team's 39 wins by himself.
The Astros current roster is just a shade of what it was at the beginning of the season. JA Happ, Brandon Lyon, Brett Myers and Wandy Rodriguez have been traded from the pitching staff. Meanwhile, Carlos Lee and Chris Johnson have been traded from the every day line up.
Hugs in the dugout = YOU ARE TRADED BRO.
Five of the most recognizable names of the team, gone to contending teams throughout the MLB for prospects in return. The Astros did not receive any impact prospects in return for those players, but they began the road to rebuilding.
The Astros were able to acquire depth in their MiLB system, which is arguably more valuable to an organization than just one or two impact players. Depth breeds clusters for playing time, which in turn breeds competition, which brings out the best in young players.
From 1997-2005, the Astros reached the playoffs six times and even appeared in the World Series before losing to the Chicago White Sox in the 2005 Fall Classic. From 2006-2010, the Astros averaged a 78-84 record and did not make the playoffs in any of those years.
To summarize it in one word, the Astros were mediocre. In professional sports, it does not pay to be mediocre. In the MLB, teams who spend less are basically rewarded with revenue sharing and teams who finish with horrible records are rewarded with high draft picks.
Note: DO NOT draft Bryan Bullington with any of them.
During those five years, the Astros organization was in limbo to the max. Old players filled the rosters and big contracts filled the pay checks, but why? They were not winning enough to be relevant and they were not losing enough to build for the future.
After a terrible 56-106 season in 2011, the Astros earned the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 draft. They used that pick to select Carlos Correa, who could end up being the team's short stop of the future. With the stripping of the old roster to make way for the younger players, the Astros are finally headed in the right direction.
"I got drafted by who?"
A rebuilding process in the MLB takes more than just one year of struggling, such as the New Orleans Hornets in the NBA, but it is a necessary process for a franchise like the Astros. A franchise that has dug their own grave in this regard.
Hopefully in a few years, the Astros will be back up and running in the weak NL Central. Wait, they are moving to the AL West next year? Yikes. Good luck with that!
"Haha, good one guys!"