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Will 2017 really end up being the year for the Houston Astros?

Sunday’s Say Hey, Baseball takes a look back at 2014 to see if 2017 could be the year that the Houston Astros finally win it all. Plus, Kris Bryant delivers a grand salami.

Houston Astros v Washington Nationals Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images

The Houston Astros are going to be entering the 2017 season as favorites to win the AL West. If you're into Baseball Prospectus' PECOTA projections, you'll notice that they're predicting the Astros to not only win their division but also finish this upcoming season with the best record in the AL. If we're going by that projection, then you could make a legit argument that if all goes well for Houston, they could seriously be contenders to return to the World Series for the first time since 2005.

You could look at this as a reasonable-yet-lofty expectation for a team that has made solid offseason moves to help supplement a team that's finished in the mid-80s for wins over the past two seasons. However, if you happen to remember a certain issue of Sports Illustrated from a few years ago, then you'd realize that a 2017 World Series appearance would be right on time for the Astros. Granted, a lot has changed for the Astros since then (hello, Mark Appel) and not every rebuilding project is completely linear. In fact, if things had shaken out a tad bit differently during the 2015 ALDS against the Royals, we may be here talking about how the Astros beat that plan by two years.

Instead, it seems like a happy coincidence and a somewhat logical conclusion that Jeff Luhnow's grand reclamation project with the Houston Astros has resulted in the team possibly being legit contenders in 2017. There's no telling for sure whether or not Houston's talented core -- centered by familiar names such as Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, George Springer, Dallas Keuchel -- can fuse with their offseason additions to topple their rivals in the West and in the AL in general, but if it does end up working out and the Astros finally do lift the golden trophy for the first time in franchise history, then don't be shocked. There were publications who told you that this was coming in 2017, after all.