The Houston Astros have been one of the best teams in baseball since 2016, and 2019 is no exception. Houston currently sits atop the AL West with a 37-20 record thanks to their talent-stacked roster. Because of this, it’s no surprise that several analytical models project the Astros to make it to the World Series. According to Baseball Reference, Houston has the best chance to represent the American League in the World Series and the second-best chance to win it all.
Houston Astros Among World Series Favorites
The fact that the Astros are World Series favorites shouldn’t be a surprise to many baseball fans. The Astros have perhaps the best collection of young talent in the majors and their elite core has been playing their typical fantastic brand of baseball. Despite Jose Altuve playing in just 39 games, the Astros offense leads the league in wRC+ (125) and batting average (.274) and ranks second in slugging percentage (.486). Alex Bregman and George Springer have been the stars of the show, ranking fifth and sixth in fWAR, respectively.
Of course, their rotation is scoff at, either. Boasting multiple aces, the Astros rotation has combined for the sixth-best FIP (3.97) and ERA (3.72) while pitching a combined 327.0 innings. Justin Verlander is the biggest name on the roster, and the righty is having a fine season in his own right. The most interesting member of the rotation is easily Gerrit Cole. At his glance, his 4.02 ERA in 71.2 innings doesn’t look that impressive. However, Cole has a 2.95 FIP with a 14.07 K/9 and a 2.26 BB/9. These numbers are all elite, and his ERA is inflated by a significant amount of bad batted ball luck. This will normalize over time, and Cole will re-emerge as one of the better pitchers in baseball.
The Astros don’t have a weak link, as their bullpen is also among the elite units in baseball. Houston’s bullpen has the best FIP (3.45) and ERA (2.88) in baseball through 175.0 innings of work. Ryan Pressly has been the star of the show, recording a superb 0.36 ERA and a 1.61 FIP in 25.1 innings of work. Will Harris isn’t much worse, as he’s recorded a 0.95 ERA and a 2.15 FIP in 19.0 innings of work. Roberto Osuna handles the ninth and has pitched 25.1 innings to the tune of a 2.13 ERA and a 3.19 FIP.
Baseball Reference Opponent Prediction
While Baseball Reference expects the Astros to make it to the World Series, it won’t be an easy ride. The projection website gives Houston a 35.9% chance to win the Pennant while giving Tampa Bay a 29.6% chance. As if that wasn’t enough, the Minnesota Twins have a 16.1% chance to advance to the World Series. The American League is filled with superstar rosters, so Houston will have to beat multiple elite teams if they’re to make it to the World Series.
If the Astros make the World Series, Baseball Reference believes that they’ll face off against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers are currently 38-19 and sit atop the NL West. Los Angeles has better odds to win the World Series than the Astros, but that’s partially due to the relatively weak National League. The Dodgers have a 41.3% chance to win the NL Pennant but only a 24.7% chance to win the World Series.
Of course, the Dodgers and Astros faced off in the 2017 World Series. The Astros won said series in seven games, with each of the first six games going down to the wire. George Springer won World Series MVP after posting a .379/.471/1.000 slash line with five home runs.
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