Before Astros Were Champs, They Were Among Worst MLB Playoff Teams

Before Astros Were Champs, They Were Among Worst MLB Playoff Teams
Fact Checked by Michael Peters

Of the 10 teams with the worst year-end win totals to make the MLB postseason, the Houston Astros are the only franchise to make the cut twice.

The Astros’ 1997 and 2015 squads made the playoffs, despite going 84-78 (.519) and 86-76 (.531) during the regular season.

Unsurprisingly, both Houston teams fell in the postseason, losing to Atlanta in the NLDS in three games (in 1997) while nearly upsetting eventual World Champion Kansas City in five games in the 2015 ALDS.

On the subject of regular season futility, Minnesota and Cleveland hold the top spot in the AL Central despite having a .494 winning percentage, while Cincinnati and Milwaukee are the only teams with records at or above .500 in the NL Central.

Unfortunately you can’t legally bet on MLB or any other sport in the state. Texas sports betting didn’t make it through the legislature this session, and it will be 2025 before the topic can be considered again.

With the AL and NL Central being especially down this season, a record just a few games above .500 might be enough to win either division. looked back at the worst regular season teams (86 or fewer wins) to reach the postseason since the MLB expanded to three divisions in 1994.

We utilized historical records from and to construct this list.

Worst MLB Playoff Teams Since 1995

Year Team Record Postseason Result
2005 Padres 82-80 (Won NL West) Lost NLDS to Cardinals, 3-0
2006 Cardinals 83-78 (Won NL Central) Won World Series over Tigers, 4-1
1997 Astros 84-78 (Won NL Central) Lost NLDS to Braves, 3-0
2008 Dodgers 84-78 (Won NL West) Lost NLCS to Phillies, 4-1
2007 Cubs 85-77 (Won NL Central) Lost NLDS to Diamondbacks, 3-0
2017 Twins 85-77 (Second AL Wild Card) Lost AL Wild Card Game to Yankees
1997 Indians 86-76 (Won AL Central) Lost World Series to Marlins, 4-3
2015 Astros 86-76 (Second AL Wild Card) Lost ALDS to Royals, 3-2
2022 Rays 86-76 (Third AL Wild Card) Lost AL WC Series to Guardians, 2-0

Although there are no Texas betting apps, national operators are giving +375 odds on Atlanta to win the World Series. Tampa Bay is second in championship odds at +450.

Both Texas and Houston are in the top five at +900.

Where Astros’ 1997, 2015 Teams Rank

Of the 10 MLB teams with the worst regular season win totals to reach the playoffs, the Astros hold the No. 3 (1997) spot and a tie for eighth (2015).

Overall, Houston’s 84-78 (.519) mark in 1997 finished behind the 2005 Padres (82-80) and the 2006 Cardinals (83-78) in the MLB’s record books.

The 2015 Astros squad finished in a tie with the 1997 Indians and 2022 Rays for the eighth.

Once in the playoffs, it knocked off the Yankees in the AL Wild Card round, before getting dispatched by Royals' rallies in Games 4 and 5.

But more importantly, the 2015 team, anchored by Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa and George Springer, jump started the current Astros championship era, leading to two World Series titles.

Houston even made a run to the AL Championship Series in 2020 after a sub-.500 COVID-shortened regular season.

Unfortunately for Houston fans, there will likely be no sneaking into the playoffs this year. Two of the three division leaders in the AL are winning above a .600 clip. And Texas is trying to knock Houston off the AL West perch for the first time in a full season since 2016.

Although there is no BetMGM Sportsbook Texas, the operator nationally has the Rangers as division favorites at -145. Houston is second at +145.



Christopher Boan is a writer with, covering state issues. He has covered sports and sports betting in Arizona for more than seven years, including stops at, the Tucson Weekly and the Green Valley News.

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