HOUSTON -- Astros outfielder George Springer started for the American League in the All-Star Game and was the Most Valuable Player of the World Series. Could the best still be yet to come for him?
Springer, who became a household name in Houston when he shook off a four-strikeout performance in Game 1 of the Fall Classic to crank five homers in the next six games, is entering the prime of his career as the Astros' high-flying center fielder.
Springer will play most of next season at 28 years old, and those who have watched his career closely believe he could have some monster seasons ahead with his speed-power combination.
"He can do it all," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "It's a long season, and you're going to have good streaks and bad streaks, but he can really do it all. I think we saw that come out in the World Series, where it's hard facing Clayton Kershaw, and he responded very well in Games 2 through 7 and became the MVP."
Despite having phenomenal athletic skills and being a first-round Draft pick, Springer has continued to evolve and get better. He has cut down on his strikeouts and increased his power, though he could become a better basestealer. He could be more consistent at the plate. Springer hasn't reached his ceiling yet, but he's close, says general manager Jeff Luhnow.
"He's really developing into a complete player," Luhnow said. "If he just keeps producing the way he's produced this year, we're going to be in great shape."
There's no denying Springer's popularity around the clubhouse or the city. Springer -- the resident DJ, if you will -- is typically in the middle of the fun if the Astros are dancing after games. Off the field, he has endeared himself to Astros fans with his charity work and outgoing nature.
In some ways, Springer is the same way on the field. Accountable and professional, he has a desire to be the best and only knows one way to play the game: all out. Sometimes, Springer has to remind himself to slow the game down, the way he did after Game 1 of the World Series.
"There's no challenge that George won't tackle," Hinch said. "There's nothing he can't do in the game. I think we moved him to center field [prior to 2017], he made that adjustment fine. … Obviously, George can take a step forward in a couple different areas, but he's already an elite player. I think he can get even better."