Can the Astros win it all again in 2018?
A World Series championship doesn’t come around too often. Especially for the Houston Astros, who won their first World Series in 52 years of existence. Well, 55 years if you include the Colt 45’s seasons as well. You can see why so many people flocked to Downtown Houston for the parade Friday. It was kind of a big deal.
One of the perks of winning the World Series is that the players do a victory tour across the country. George Springer has gained the most frequent flyer miles of the group, but Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, and Alex Bregman have made some appearances. These guys are becoming household names across the country.
Bregman recently went to visit with Bleacher Report in NYC. He discussed everything from SNL, Alex Cora, and what to look forward to down the road. When he was asked if the Astros could go back to back next year, Bregman did not hold back.
He said that they would go back-to-back like Michael Jordan did in 1997 and 1998. The more appropriate answer would have been the 1994 and 1995 Houston Rockets, but I’ll let it slide. Many people say that the Rockets won those championships while Jordan was trying to play baseball, but I digress.
I know Ben Reiter of Sports Illustrated has already predicted the Astros win again in 2018 as well. He was right the first time, in Reiter we trust? But realistically, how likely are the Astros to go back to back?
Do they have the talent to repeat?
They are losing the following players via free agency.
Outside of Beltran’s leadership and Gregerson’s experience, none of those are big losses. They have the deep core at the top of the lineup with the veterans at the bottom of the order. They have three studs at the top of the rotation in Dallas Keuchel, Justin Verlander, and Lance McCullers. Charlie Morton, Collin McHugh, and Brad Peacock round out the rotation.
While you may expect some regression from Marwin Gonzalez, this lineup will hit. Beltran may not return, but someone else will step up and take his at-bats. That person may be A.J. Reed, who we have not seen the best of yet.
Competition will get better.
The Angels could be the Astros biggest competition in 2018 with the addition of Justin Upton and the return of Garrett Richards to health. The Rangers could decide to start winning again, but not likely.
While the Astros have the pitcher to win a one game playoff game, it’s better to avoid being a wild card team. They must win the AL West again.
The rest of the AL will get better as well. We are already tired of Aaron Judge and the Yankees, but they weren’t expected to win in 2017. They can only get better from here. The Indians rode a 22-game win streak in 2017 to leapfrog the Astros, but they will be good again. The Red Sox need to add some pop to their lineup, but they will be back.
Is it possible historically?
Just so I don’t have to recall the all the Yankees, Reds, and Athletics repeats, let’s just focus on the wild card era. The wild card came into existence in 1994, but because of the strike, there was no World Series that season. Since then, only the Yankees have won back to back seasons. They won three in a row 1998-2000. If it wasn’t for 1997 Marlins, the Yankees had a shot at five in a row.
We all know about the Giants even years winning the World Series, but not back to back years. In the wild card era, teams trying to repeat oftentimes face a hot team on a streak. Many consider the 90s Braves as a dynasty, but they only won one World Series in 1995.
It’s too early to call this team a dynasty, but they are set up for the next five years. Somewhere around that time, they may lose some of their players to free agency. What makes them different then the Royals recently? They have the farm system to restock. Let’s hope Bregman is correct.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***