HOUSTON — It’s not just one World Series title that has Houston excited. With Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, George Springer and more locked in for years to come, the Astros are ready to be a force for some time.

Houston’s plan to endure a difficult rebuild put the team in a great position moving forward. No player in the starting lineup for Game 7 of the World Series will be a free agent earlier than 2019.

Alex Bregman and Yuli Gurriel are under team control until 2023, and Correa can’t hit free agency until 2022. Springer, the World Series MVP, is under control through 2021, and promising young starter Lance McCullers Jr. is under team control until 2022. Altuve has team-friendly club options for the next two seasons that will keep him in town through 2019, at least.

While everyone else is chasing high-priced free agents, Houston should be set, especially after acquiring ace Justin Verlander on Aug. 31 from the Detroit Tigers. Verlander is owed $56 million over the next two seasons before possibly becoming a free agent.

All of that was made possible by patience from the owner, Jim Crane, and General Manager Jeff Luhnow. The Astros were the laughingstock of baseball after trading away their veterans to shed payroll, losing 100 games every year from 2011-13, including a franchise-worst 51-111 mark in 2013.

With the losing came a bevy of high draft picks, and Houston hit big on a few of them. In Luhnow’s first draft in 2012, Houston took Correa with the first overall pick and nabbed McCullers at 41st overall. Then in 2015, they grabbed Bregman with the second overall pick.

They did have misses – most notably Mark Appel, who they drafted first overall in 2013. The right-hander never played for the Astros and eventually was traded, while Kris Bryant, who Houston passed on to take Appel, won the National League MVP last season and helped the Cubs win the World Series.

Only four players on the World Series team were around for any of the 100-loss seasons, and Altuve was the only one with Houston for all three.

“It’s a crazy journey, man,” Altuve said. “I was the only one in 2011, ’12 and ’13, those 100 losses, three years in a row. It’s not easy. But I … believed in the process. I believed in what Jeff Luhnow and Jim Crane used to (say) to me: ‘Hey, we’re going to be good.’ ”

Altuve said their encouragement and seeing the pieces slowly come together helped get him through the difficult times.

“(I was like) ‘OK, let me keep working hard. Let me get better every year and try to be part of the winning team,’ ” he said. “I always believed that we’re going to become good. Then I saw Springer get drafted, Correa and Bregman, and I was like: ‘OK, here we go.’ ”

The heart of this team, Altuve followed up a brilliant regular season where he led the majors with a .346 average by hitting seven homers and driving in 14 runs in the playoffs.

His work this year made him a front-runner to become the first Astro to be named MVP since Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell won the NL award in 1994.

With Altuve returning to lead this team and ample talent around him, the young and confident bunch has plenty of reason to believe this could be the first of many titles for a team that waited so long.

Bregman summed up the feeling of many Wednesday night after the Astros beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-1 to give Houston its first title since the Houston Rockets won two straight NBA championships in 1994-95.

“I want to celebrate tonight, go back and have a nice little parade,” he said, “and then guess what? We’re going to go back, work our (butts) off and do it again next year.”

THE WORLD SERIES averaged 18.9 million viewers on Fox, down 19 percent from the 23.4 million average for the Chicago Cubs’ seven-game victory over Cleveland last year for their first title since 1908.

The total audience on Fox’s three outlets averaged 19.56 million, the network said. That included an average of 476,000 viewers on Fox Deportes, up 34 percent from 355,000 last year, and a digital audience average of 183,000 on Fox Sports Go, an increase of 4 percent.

Viewers on Fox were up 37 percent from San Francisco’s seven-game win over Kansas City in 2014, which averaged 13.8 million on Fox.

This year’s Series averaged a 10.7 rating and 20 share, down from a 13.1/23 last year. That was the highest-rated World Series since 2004, when Boston won its first title since 1918.

CARLOS CORREA and Daniella Rodriguez both left Dodger Stadium with rings.

The Astros’ shortstop proposed to his girlfriend on live television moments after Houston earned its World Series title with a 5-1 victory in Game 7 on Wednesday night.

The proposal from her boyfriend of over a year completely surprised Rodriguez, a former Miss Texas USA.

“He had been so focused on the game,” Rodriguez said. “All he ever talked about was winning the World Series, so I never really thought something like this would be on his mind, so when it all went down I was just shocked.”

She also had no idea Correa had been urged to propose by his mother and was plotting it for several weeks. Carlos Beltran, the Astros’ 40-year-old slugger, helped the 23-year-old shortstop pick out the ring.

Correa said he gambled and waited for a dramatic finale to the Astros’ first championship year.

“I knew we had championship potential, so I decided to hold out until the last game of the season,” Correa said.

Rodriguez said yes.