Jose Altuve will be the smallest player on the field when the MLB season kicks off on March 31st, but he is one of the games biggest play-makers. The Houston Astros enjoyed minimal success last season with a league-worst 55-107 record; however, Altuve showed enough promise to get Astros fans somewhat excited come spring.
In his first full season at the professional level, Altuve finished with a .290 average, 33 stolen bases and 34 doubles. This 22-year-old second basemen looked like a veteran with the glove, turning 83 double-plays and finishing with a 98% fielding percentage in 2012.
Altuve will have to improve on the 11 errors he committed in the 142 games he played in last year.
I believe the transition to the American League will help Altuve’s production, as he will be facing pitchers that have never faced him. Looking to avoid the sophomore slump, the second-basemen will have to improve upon his 40 walks last season, as he must be able to get on base more as the teams lead-off hitter. His on-base-percentage was relatively low at .340, so his patience at the plate must improve during this transition all together.
Now, the Astros are in for a world of hurt in their first season in the AL West–this division played host to two playoff teams in 2012 and the revamped Los Angeles Angels. Each team in this division got better including the Seattle Mariners who are still a threat with Felix Hernandez taking the mound every fifth day.
Altuve will have to adjust to the American League game, but I believe his speed and skill set will pay dividends in a new league even if it takes a few seasons.