Before the 2017 season began, only a few picked the Houston Astros to reach the World Series, let alone win the Major League Baseball title. Plenty did see the team clinching the American League West division, only to fall short in the playoffs.
The Astros, on the other hand, believed they could take on any team in a seven-game series, especially after acquiring several key players, including Brian McCann and Justin Verlander in the offseason. They also banked on the development of homegrown players, 2015 Cy Young awardee Dallas Keuchel, eventual 2017 American League MVP José Altuve, and 2017 World Series MVP George Springer.
With plenty of talent on the roster, some argued in the preseason that this was the strongest team Houston has ever fielded – even better than the 2005 team that reached the World Series.
Houston proved those claims right after recording 101 wins – the first time it topped the century mark and the third-best record in MLB, just behind Los Angeles Dodgers and Cleveland Indians.
In the playoffs, the Astros showed that they were as talented as they were gritty and determined. After defeating Boston Red Sox with relative ease in the American League Division Series, Houston had to grind it out in the American League Championship Series and the World Series, against New York Yankees and the Dodgers, respectively.
Both series went the full seven games and pushed the Astros to dig deep and grind it out to win the first World Series in the franchise’s 55-year history.