In June 2014, Sports Illustrated (S.I.) predicted the Houston Astros to win the 2017 World Series. However, in this year’s 2016 Baseball Preview cover, S.I. states, “We take back our ‘Astros in 2017’ World Series prediction… This year is the year!”

As some would take this prediction as a great confidence boost, many are calling it a jinx. Taking a look at the past five World Series predictions made by S.I., not a single one was correct. With that, the Astros recent past has given many skeptics a reason to doubt. This past has been marked by a 3-year streak of losing over 100 games (2011-2013) and not making it into the post season since their 2005 blowout in the World Series by the Chicago White Sox. 

The 2015 season was that glimmer of hope that every single Astros fan desperately needed. That June, the Astros brought up Puerto Rican shortstop Carlos Correa, who later became the 2015 American League Rookie of the Year for his amazing performance. Then there’s Dallas Keuchel, whose undefeated at-home record as well as a 2.48 ERA earned him the 2015 American League Cy Young award. Other notable players that contributed to the Astros’ success were second baseman Jose Altuve, left fielder Colby Rasmus, and right fielder George Springer. However, after earning a wildcard spot over the New York Yankees, the Astros were stopped by the Kansas City Royals in the first round. The Royals went on to become the 2015 World Series Champions. Despite a first round loss, the Astros organization gained their long-awaited respect in Major League Baseball.

One key factor to the Astros’ 2015 postseason demise was the bullpen. In September 2015, the bullpen’s combined ERA was an embarrassing 6.63 – the worst in the league for that month. If the Astros want any chance at contending for the World Series this year, the bullpen needs drastic improvement (and fast). It is already 2 weeks into baseball season, and the Astros sit dead last in the American League West with a 5-8 record. Taking that with a grain of salt, it is extremely early into the season.

The Astros have also acquired a new, secret weapon that stands at first base. Tyler White is replacing last year’s first baseman Chris Carter (who batted a measly .196 last season). He was brought up by the AA league affiliate for the Astros, the Corpus Christi Hooks. Already, White is turning heads by leading the team with 4 homeruns, 11 RBI’s, and a .357 batting average. He could be that key hitter the lineup was missing last season.

Now, S.I.’s so-called “jinx” is something that needs to be forgotten about as soon as possible. It is incredibly difficult to predict the World Series winner, especially this early into the season. Fans should not blame a magazine for a team’s lack of success, especially if that team has all of the resources to become the next World Series champion. The Astros have a real shot at taking the franchise’s first World Series win, but they also have a shot at choking like they have done in years past.

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