After the Astros clinched their first World Series championship, Sports Illustrated published an article forecasting a successful title defense by Houston.
According to writer Ben Reiter, the Astros can remain in title contention thanks to contracts locking up the team's young core as late as 2020. Jose Altuve is signed through 2020. George Springer, whom Sports Illustrated based its bold prediction in 2014, is signed through 2021.
Carlos Correa is locked up through 2022 and Alex Bregman the year after.
The "core four" are all in their 20s and still in their prime.
While Reiter concedes there are fixes to be made, including improving a beleaguered bullpen, he says the Astros are in position to make the same run and become only the third team to repeat as champions since the 1970s.
Reiter's original prediction was made back in 2014 when the Astros were in the midst of another season that the Astros would lose 100 games.
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He also believes the younger prospects waiting in the wings can sustain that success beyond the core four.
Meanwhile, issues of the 2014 Sports Illustrated cover proclaiming the Astros as "2017 World Series Champs" is being sold for as much as $355 on other websites after the World Series. SI is offering it for just $19.95.
Las Vegas sports books have already pegged the Los Angeles Dodgers as the favorite to win it all next year.
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