It was a long and winding road to the first World Series title in Houston Astros history, but there are good reasons to believe the next one could be right around the corner.

Considering all the effort and the rare combination of talent and luck that it takes to win a World Series, maybe it’s greedy to start thinking about another victory before the confetti has even settled from the victory parade. Certainly, the Houston Astros aren’t quite ready to consider 2018 until they’re done celebrating their thrilling 2017 championship, one that saw them upend the juggernaut Los Angeles Dodgers on the road in Game 7.

Still, as the Fox broadcasting team put it during the World Series, this wasn’t a case of David vs. Goliath, but rather Goliath vs. Goliath. The Astros had the second-best record in baseball during the regular season, and while many things went right for them to win it all, they’re positioned to make another run as soon as next season.

Put another way, Vegas may like the Dodgers to win the 2018 World Series, but it also has the Astros just the tiniest of steps behind them, just like this year. Here’s why Houston might want to have someone else on the roster ready to propose this time next fall.

HOUSTON, TX – OCTOBER 29: Jose Altuve #27 of the Houston Astros celebrates with George Springer #4 after hitting a three-run home run during the fifth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in game five of the 2017 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 29, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

1. MVPs in their primes

George Springer was rightfully named World Series MVP after looking utterly confused at the plate for one game and then crushing Dodgers pitching for the next six. Jose Altuve is the favorite to be named AL MVP when the league-wide hardware is handed out.

Guess what? Those guys should be doing more of the same in 2018, barring injury. Altuve, especially, has been remarkably consistent, racking up 200-plus hits and 30-plus steals, and fielding his position well. He’s even added power, and he’s somehow only 27, meaning he should just be entering his prime years, a scary proposition for the rest of the league.

Springer is much streakier, but the World Series provided the biggest possible stage for what he’s capable of when he’s on. Just 28, he’s announced himself to the world as a big star who can carry a team when the spotlight is on — like, say, in the next Fall Classic.

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