Obviously we are seeing prediction season, and I don't put a lot of stock in these exercises by the media and web sites. But here is one that is little more favorable to the Astros then some of the doomsday predictions which seem so popular. I don't vouch for it as more accurate than any other prediction system, but what the heck, let's see what it says.
Something called "accu-score" simulation is described as follows:
AccuScore uses past player performance statistics to describe how players perform under different environmental, match-up, and game situation conditions. Using projected starting lineups AccuScore simulates each game of the 2009 Season one at bat at a time. By repeating the simulation 10,000 to 20,000 times per game AccuScore calculates the precise probability each team has of winning each game, winning their division, making the playoffs, advancing in the playoffs and winning the World Series. Here's AccuScore.com's analysis of the 2009 National League.
The Cubs win the NL Central with a 92-70 record, followed by the Brewers with a 85-77 record, and then the Astros with a 84-78 record. The Astros' probabilities: win division 18.4%; make playoff 26.7 %; make world series, 6.9%; win world series, 2.9 %.
There you have it. Make you feel any better? Oh, probably not.