HOUSTON -

Everybody is buzzing about Houston Astros slugger George Springer gracing the cover of this week's Sports Illustrated. It's a huge honor for the rookie, for the Astros and our city.

The team's future and its long-term strategy are also getting attention in the magazine. It's been a while since the Astros have been front page news, but the team is being labeled The Great Baseball Experiment on the SI cover.

"It's obviously something as a kid you always see Sports Illustrated and everybody on it, but I'm happy about the article, about the team. This is just fun to watch," said Springer.

Labeled baseball's next big thing, the article calls attention to the franchise's futility over the last three seasons while salvaging high hopes for the future, pegging the Astros as World Series champions in 2017.

"To be recognized on the national stage for the progress in which we've made, I think is great. I think if you start to read your own clippings and do different things like that, you Lose sight. The I believe in the process each and every day," said Astros manager Bo Porter.

The Astros say they don't see themselves as an experiment.

"I don't know if we see it as an experiment. We're just a ball club who goes out and plays hard and has fun and competes. Obviously everything depends on how we do on the field and we need to just keep getting better and better on the field," said Astros GM Jeff Luhnow.

The Sports Illustrated issue goes on sale this week.