Jose Altuve began the 2011 season as a member of the Lancaster Jethawks, Houston’s entry in the High-A California League. Altuve quickly earned a promotion to AA Corpus Christi and was the Astros starting 2B by late July. Standing only 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighing about 170 pounds, Altuve has defied the odds with his rapid ascent to the big leagues.
Altuve quickly became a fan favorite in Houston with his determined style of play. In his first 39 big league games Altuve hit .305 with a pair of homers, 11 RB,I and 21 runs scored. But Altuve slumped in September, hitting .209 with only one RBI and five runs scored in 18 games. When all was said and done Altuve had banged out a total of 200 hits for the year between the majors and minors. He has been a hitting machine in the minors but will need to adjust to big league pitching to stay in the majors. The 21 year-old Altuve continues to hit in Winter League. He is currently hovering around the .400 mark while playing in his native Venezuela.
Altuve has a seemingly decent minor league walk-to-strikeout ratio of 138/174. But a closer look at the numbers reveal that the diminutive infielder doesn’t draw many walks, so plate discipline is definitely an area of concern. When the Astros begin Spring Training in Kissimmee next February, the 2B job should be Altuve’s to lose. Even if he struggles with the bat, Altuve has excellent speed and is a solid defender. But if his struggles persist Altuve could be sent back down. At only 21 years of age there is no reason to rush things. Other 2B options for the Astros include Brian Bixler, Matt Downs, and Angel Sanchez.