Predicting Astros' season record

ESPN Chalk's Joe Peta is sharing his season win total projections for every MLB team, including a reason for optimism and pessimism.

Plus, he recommends an over/under play, or a pass. This is the entry for the Houston Astros.

Houston Astros

Reason for optimism: Management clearly righted the franchise in 2014. Some reinforcements arrive in 2015.

Reason for pessimism: Playing .500 baseball still isn't a reasonable goal, and in this division might not be for quite some time.

There have only been two other teams as bad as the 2013 Houston Astros since the division format debuted in 1969, the 43-win Detroit Tigers in 2003 and the 2004 Arizona Diamondbacks who, like the Astros team in question, won only 51 games. Interestingly enough, for all the respect and goodwill the Astros received last year for winning 70 games, their return to a level of respectability still lagged the reversal of fortunes of the 2004 Tigers (72 wins) and the 2005 Diamondbacks (77 wins). It truly is hard to remain replacement-level bad for two years running.

Even more interesting is that both of those aforementioned teams made the playoffs three years after they bottomed out. Given the strength in the American League West, that wouldn't seem to be a plausible outcome for next year's edition of the Astros, but there are definitely some pieces in place around which to construct a playoff team.