How awesome is Jose Altuve?
The only reason that I’m writing this article is because, while just about every other position is a crapshoot on the Houston Astros, second base is as locked down as a position can possibly be. Altuve is easily the face of the franchise, and he will in all likelihood remain in that position for some time.
At 5-foot-6 it is impossible not to be a fan of Altuve. He plays the game right. You’ll never see him slacking. He’s always sprinting, whether it’s a ground out or a gapper.
In his three years with the Astros, Altuve has put up a .285 average with 14 home runs, 101 RBIs and 75 steals. He strikes out once every 7.5 at-bats, and while the temptation is to credit that to his height, Altuve has always been a bit of a free-swinger; he just makes contact.
Think about this, his 188 strikeouts in the past three years is less than Chris Carter put up last year alone (212). While he has always been a free swinger, he has been improving on his plate discipline as well.
Altuve’s defense is never really in question either. His hustle alone makes him a solid defender. He put up several web gems in 2013 with dazzling diving plays, and there’s no reason he won’t continue that trend in 2014.
Altuve is going to start every game at second base that he’s able to. Barring any injuries or serious exhaustion, he may even start every single one.
But behind him is Marwin Gonzalez, the quintessential back-up, who is a pretty valuable utility player. His switch-hitting, high-contact style of play make him a good fill-in wherever he’s needed. Delino Deshields Jr. used to be the next top second base prospect in the system, but with Altuve being only 23 and the team with full faith in the little Venezuelan, Deshields was moved into the outfield to make his path the MLB a bit easier.
Hopefully Altuve will get his just dues and achieve his second All-Star appearance in 2014.