In a season that has had very few moments to cheer about, the Houston Astros have one player who deserves praise regardless of how poorly the team has played as a collective unit. All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve is having a season to remember and is turning heads around the league. His offensive numbers are staggering for a player most known for his height. He is far and away the best hitter on the Astros, and possibly in all of MLB.
Stepping into the box at 5-foot-5, Altuve’s height is always the first thing people talk about when they see him on the field. Well, he just may be baseball’s version of The Little Engine That Could, because he keeps chugging along getting hit after hit. He continues to lead the majors in hits with 173 in 510 at-bats. He also may be in line for his first batting title.
Altuve currently leads the major leagues in batting average at .339. The next highest is Robinson Cano at .329. With a little more than a month to go in the season, barring a major slump, Altuve should have no problem winning his first prestigious award, but it may not be his last. His improvement every year on offense and defense makes him valuable.
Leading the American League in steals with 46, Altuve has shown an ability to help his team in almost every facet of the game. He is increasingly getting better on defense by expanding his range. Adding that to his ability to hit for an extremely high average and steal 40 plus bases a season, Altuve may be in line for a future MVP award if the Astros improve enough to make the playoffs in the near future. To accomplish that, he will need to improve his power stroke and not sacrifice everything that makes him great now.