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The Astros' Playoff and Rendon Odds

Will frustration like this lead to the next Hank Aaron or Mike Schmidt?
Will frustration like this lead to the next Hank Aaron or Mike Schmidt?

A trip over to Cool Standings the other day showed the Astros still have a shot to make the playoffs.

It's just under one percent at this point. In fact, their chance of making the playoffs by winning the division is under one percent, of making the wild card is under one percent and when you add both of them together, the combined chance of making the playoffs is still less than one percent.

Sounds about right, doesn't it?

The projection system over at Cool Standings has the Astros expected to win 63.4 games this season. That's almost a season high and the highest their expected win total has been since April 26th. The lowest it's dropped to was on May 31st, when the Astros were projected to win only 54.3 games. So, they've been playing pretty well for the past six weeks but they're still bad.

The "Rendon Odds" I referenced in the title are the odds that the Astros could wind up with the worst record in baseball, thus securing the first overall pick in next year's draft. Since local product Anthony Rendon is expected to be that first overall pick, the only way the Astros have a shot at him is to lose, lose lose. Unfortunately, there are at least three other teams who are better at losing games than Houston.

Currently, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Arizona are the only three teams with less expected wins than Houston. Baltimore and PIttsburgh are fighting it out to see who will get that first pick. Baltimore is in the lead with only 53 victories, while the Buccos catapulted up to 57 wins with their series win over Houston. Arizona clocks in at 61 wins, while Seattle and Cleveland are just behind Houston with 63.8 and 69.9 wins, respectively. Seattle has also taken the first step to mediocrity by dealing away Cliff Lee, thus weakening the team in the short term. There are no signs that either Pittsburgh or Baltimore will make any moves by the deadline, but Arizona has been rumored to be shopping guys like Dan Haren and possibly Stephen Drew.

Oh, in case you were wondering, even when the Astros were picked to win just 54 games, they were still behind Baltimore for that first pick. in the history of the franchise, Houston has never lost 100 games in a season, which it surely would have to do to win that elusive Rendon Lottery. Right now, there are four teams with a realistic shot to lose 100 games. To put that in historic perspective, there have only been seven times in the game's history that three teams have lost that many games (2002, 1985, 1965, 1962, 1961, 1954, 1912). 2002 was the only time more than three teams lost 100 or more games, when Detroit, Tampa Bay, Milwaukee and Kansas City all topped the century mark. The prize for those teams? Outfielder Delmon Young, who hasn't exactly lived up to his hype.

Will Rendon live up to his? Just check out this scouting report from the guys over at Project Prospect. They're not the only ones to drool over him, but my goodness. Hank Aaron as a comparable? At third base, a historically hard position to find good hitters? It's enough to make you hope for losses, right?

Of course, in a slight silver lining to terrible news, Rendon tore his ankle to shreds playing for Team USA last Wednesday. He headed back to Houston and will have surgery to repair the injury. He should be healed by next baseball season, but will this slow him down any? Will it affect how teams view him? When I talked with Stephen about it after the news hit, he really felt a lot of empathy for Rendon, having gone through a similar injury. He wondered how anyone could go back to playing baseball after that kind of ligament tear. Hopefully, the doctors Rice ponies up for can make sure that happens. Even if Rendon has to move to a corner outfield spot or first base, he's got the bat to excel. Remember, he was compared to Hank Aaron, who also played a corner outfield spot and might be the best hitter in baseball history.

All we need him to drop is a couple picks. Maybe the Pirates view him as too expensive. Maybe Peter Angelos doesn't want to sign off on his ankle. Then, he'd be ours. A man can dream, right?