Let's discuss how the 2021 Astros remind us of the 2015 team
Remember when the Astros were hitting the reset button? They lost 100 games or more in three consecutive seasons in the transition between trying to stay relevant and hitting the reset button. After they made the World Series in 2005, they didn't make the playoffs for another ten years until the 2015 team broke through unexpectedly. That same team won a playoff single-elimination game against the Yankees and advanced to the Divisional round and lost to the eventual World Series champion Kansas City Royals, 3-2.
That 2015 team wasn't expected to do much. It had been ten long arduous years since they had made the playoffs (a World Series loss to the White Sox in 2005). This team hadn't won more than 86 games in that dreadful stretch. The reason I see similarities between this team and the 2015 team is because no one thought either team would do anything.
For example: nobody thought the 2015 team would make the playoffs or compete. Not only did they make the playoffs, they lost a close series to the eventual World Series champs, the Kansas City Royals, in a close 3-2 series. I'm not saying that Astros team would've gone on to win a title that year, but they would've made some noise. That team also had 11 guys hit double-digit home runs with five of those 11 hitting 20 or more. They weren't expected to do anything, yet they managed to exceed expectations.
I can see this '21 team doing the same thing, or more. Nobody picked this year's Astros to do much. Most picked them to finish second in the AL West and miss the playoffs. While it's very early in the season, they look like the favorites to win the division despite their current losing streak and issues with COVID contact tracing. Whether they can compete for a pennant and make another World Series is another question. Do I think they can make it that far? Yes. Will they prove me right? That remains to be seen. Jose Altuve is having a bounce-back season. Yordan Alvarez is trying to return to his rookie season form. Carlos Correa is in a contract year and trying to earn that big payday. There are several young pitchers on the staff trying to prove they belong as well. When you factor in the veterans and young guys here all working to prove themselves, it makes for an interesting mix.
This team, in my opinion, has the ingredients to go further than that '15 team did. The pitching staff is better, and so is the lineup. The prior team hit .250 with a 3.57 team ERA. While I don't think the team ERA will be much better, I do think this team will/should hit better than a paltry .250, especially with the lineup they have. The ERA won't look much worse, but given the younger guys they have to rely on, I'm not sold on them being so dependable. Overall, I'm totally looking forward to what this team will do and thoroughly looking to be surprised. Who knows. We may be looking at another...I'll stop here before I jinx anything!