Multiple Houston Astros players have been asked this Spring Training about the likelihood of a World Series, “Hangover.” You hear this term referred to a lot when teams win a championship and then have a tough year following that. Dallas Keuchel was asked about it and he tried to land a facial on the Cubs that covered up their face as much as his beard covers his own. His response to the question was, “We’re not the Cubs.” Is that really a facial though? I’m not sure I would consider the Cubs as having a World Series hangover in 2017. They still won the NL Central even though they won 11 fewer games in the regular season than 2016. They went on to lose to the Dodgers in the NLCS 4-1, side note – the Dodgers were a pretty strong team. So no, I don’t consider it a facial even though it was meant to be.
What’s the likelihood of the Astros having a World Series hangover? If they themselves consider a World Series hangover as losing in the league championship series then I think it’s pretty good. If it’s classified as an epic collapse, we aren’t going to see one. This team is far too talented to have an epic falloff from last season as long as everyone stays healthy. Could they lose in the ALCS to the Indians or Yankees? Absolutely. The similarities between the 2016 Cubs and 2017 Astros is that they are made up of a lot of young, talented guys. You could see that as an excuse for a World Series hangover but like I said, I don’t consider the Cubs as having one and I don’t think we will see the Astros have one.
The Astros should actually be better this year than last, imagine that. All of their young players are a year older and have built so much confidence after winning it all last season. They will also be getting a full season out of Justin Verlander and they brought in Gerrit Cole. What’s better, the lineup or the rotation? Tough one but I would have to take the lineup. So will they be the first team to repeat as World Series Champs since the New York Yankees in 1998, 1999, and 2000? They very well could but I think we are in for another very entertaining baseball season. I will be releasing my season predictions in the next two weeks or so.
Jose Altuve was also asked about a World Series hangover and he said, “The guys here are smart enough to know what they have to do in spring training. I think we’re going to be totally fine. I tell you what – I like what I see.” I think he said it best and I agree with him, I think they will be more than totally fine.