LOS ANGELES -- They are now champions, these young Houston Astros, led by a double-play duo for the ages, Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa. It took 56 years for the Astros to bring their city a championship.
The next one might not take that long.
The Astros, conquerors of the Los Angeles Dodgers, rulers of baseball in 2017, figure to be back soon, because their core players -- Altuve, Correa, George Springer and Alex Bregman -- are all in their 20s. But it is not only their talent, it is their attitude. It starts with Altuve and Correa.
"They don't usually have a bad day," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "I don't mean a bad performance. I mean a bad attitude or bad approach day."
Next season, the Astros have all of the significant parts of their roster back, save for possibly Carlos Beltran, who is 40 and struggled this season. While the tanking process that Houston used to create this championship roster is complete, the farm system still has some big-time prospects on the way, making titles over the next few years even more probable.
Forrest Whitley might not have only the best name in the minor leagues, he might be its top pitching prospect. The 20-year-old, 6-foot-7 Texan struck out an astounding 143 batters in 92⅓ innings, pitching as high as Double-A. He could be in the big leagues by next year. After 16 teams passed on Whitley, the Astros snatched him out of Alamo Heights High School in San Antonio with the 17th pick of the 2016 draft.
Besides Whitley, the Astros have Kyle Tucker, the fifth pick in the 2015 draft. He might be a year away but is just 20 and already has reached Double-A. He put up an .874 OPS in the minors last year.
To fit in with this Astros crew, Whitley and Tucker will have to live up to the expectations. It is one thing to have the talent -- it is another thing to have the attitude.
After winning the way they have, down 3-2 to the New York Yankees in the American League Championship Series and going into Dodger Stadium in the World Series to take a Game 7, their belief in themselves will only be stronger.
"Mindset, work ethic, talent," Astros veteran catcher Brian McCann said when asked why he thinks the Astros' young core could be around for a long time. "They're driven to be great. And when you have that mindset, and you have that ability, there's only one thing that's going to happen. So yeah, there are so many guys on the team that they're young and hungry and they're striving for greatness. And you can feel it when you're around them."
The American League has three other teams that will go into next season as true championship contenders: the Yankees, Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox. However, the Astros will likely be a popular pick to repeat.
The Astros will have a full season of Justin Verlander. Verlander and Dallas Keuchel should form a strong one-two punch. The bullpen, which did enough to help Houston win the Series, could probably use some reinforcements. The Astros will have to figure out if closer Ken Giles will be impacted by his awful October.
But for all the talk about how the Astros tanked to acquire these great young players and how they are so analytically driven, what makes them special is the undefined science of a clubhouse that is amazingly well put together.
"I've never seen anything like it," Hinch said. "And I've been on a lot of teams, and I think a lot of winning teams will always brag about their chemistry and the culture and camaraderie you talked about. To live it, it is pretty special."