Not sold on Jose Altuve? You're not alone


Before It sounds like I am anti-Altuve let me say that I love his story and do think he has a chance to become a significant player in the Astros’ future. Now with that out of the way, I am far from sold on the little guy and more than just a little worried Ed Wade might have done more harm than good last year. Wade decided to bring up  Jose Altuve in July of last season after only a few ABs with Corpus. After an initial rush, Altuve would settle down and put up respectable numbers for a guy that started the season playing single A ball. The issues with Altuve are fairly obvious and nothing he hasn’t heard throughout his time in pro ball. But can he continue to overcome them at the big league level like he has at the minor league level?

My biggest concern with Altuve is his strike zone discipline. It doesn’t take advanced metrics to see that Jose swings at everything, I mean everything. Right from his first MLB AB it was obvious that Altuve would swing at any pitch he could reach and some he couldn’t. That is going to be a major concern because at his height Altuve needs to learn to take a pitch or two and work the count. Walks must become a part of his game because pitchers will learn to never throw him a strike and his average will continue to sink. Even if he could maintain his average around .300, without a few walks throw in somewhere, it will turn into a very hollow batting average.

Another issue that has to be addressed is Altuve’s defense, while okay, it’s not great. This is where his size becomes an issue, he can make the routine play pretty consistently but his range will be challenged. Original I wanted to avoid a certain comparison but after watching him play for two months it may be spot on, at least defensively. The guy reminds me of David Eckstein,  good defender but not the strongest arm with similar range to Altuve. I wanted to avoid it because I want  Jose to be more than just a role player but in the long run that may be all he becomes.

Altuve is still very young and was rushed to the major leagues, hence my earlier comment about Wade. While there is still plenty of time, the problem that is going to arise is how do you change something that has worked so well for so long . He has hit at every level and hit well so convincing him to show more discipline at the plate will be a challenge. There is nothing you can do with his physical limitations but there has to be a worry as to whether it may eventually catch up with him, at the highest level.

Next Astros Game View full schedule »
Sunday, Aug 3131 Aug1:10Texas RangersBuy Tickets

Tags: Corpus Christi David Eckstein Ed Wade Houston Astros Jose Altuve Lancaster JetHawks

  • Stroscrow

    I think Altuve will be just fine. The guy is a hitter and has been everywhere he goes. .276 for his first stint in the show isn’t bad, and hopefully he can build on it. Altuve has an extremely high contact rate, and even though he seldom draws walks, he also does a good job of limiting his strikeouts. I do agree with you that a batting average around .300 will not be all that impressive for him because his walk rate will have his on base percentage sitting close to his batting average, but I believe he has the potential to bat above .300, and do so on a regular basis similar to a Freddy Sanchez in his heyday. Another high contact low strikeout low walk guy, Jose Reyes. I’m not saying that he will hit as the two aforementioned players, but guys with low walk rates and high contact skills can be successful.

    As far as his defense goes, it is still to early to tell. He is limited to second base, and he had his moments there last year. Itwas is possible that he can be above average at the position, but I would have to wait until we see more of what he does first.

  • Stroscrow

    I think Altuve will be just fine. The guy is a hitter and has been everywhere he goes. .276 for his first stint in the show isn’t bad, and hopefully he can build on it. Altuve has an extremely high contact rate, and even though he seldom draws walks, he also does a good job of limiting his strikeouts. I do agree with you that a batting average around .300 will not be all that impressive for him because his walk rate will have his on base percentage sitting close to his batting average, but I believe he has the potential to bat above .300, and do so on a regular basis similar to a Freddy Sanchez in his heyday. Another high contact low strikeout low walk guy, Jose Reyes. I’m not saying that he will hit as the two aforementioned players, but guys with low walk rates and high contact skills can be successful.

    As far as his defense goes, it is still to early to tell. He is limited to second base, and he had his moments there last year. Itwas is possible that he can be above average at the position, but I would have to wait until we see more of what he does first.

    • LEXthePEX

      @Stroscrow My issues with Altuve is he doesn’t do enough as a hitter and certainly a fielder. I want him to be more than Eckstein but may just not be realistic. I hope he’s worked on his eye this winter league and comes back drawing more walks.

      • Stroscrow

        @LEXthePEX It doesn’t look like that is the case in regards to his winter. He didn’t do a whole lot of walking. He did however have a very good showing in winter ball. He hit .338, and I believe he had the most hits in the league. He was in the top five in many of the offensive categories in the league.

        I hope he can start walking more as well. At the end of next season we should know what Altuve is. If he could manage to increase his walk rate back to his minor league career totals which are not great but better, then that would be a big plus.

        I really think that Altuve will be fine offensively. I really try not to get to up or down about rookies first trip to the majors and give them an adjustment period. In Altuve’s case his weaknesses were exposed similar to Brett Wallace, and now we get to see how he will adjust. I’m thinking that his .276 mark is the lower end of his performance spectrum and that he will only improve. Will it be enough, stay tuned.

        Out of the young guys last year I think Martinez and Altuve will be okay offensively. I value defense a great bit and will wait and see on Altuve. To small of a sample size to judge in my opinion. The player that I worry about offensively is Paredes. He was the least polished of the trio, and was called up well before being ready. He performed fine, but the warning signs are there. I expect him to struggle at some point, and if he does I hope that fans don’t get to down on him because the potential is there.

  • LEXthePEX

    @Stroscrow My issues with Altuve is he doesn’t do enough as a hitter and certainly a fielder. I want him to be more than Eckstein but may just not be realistic. I hope he’s worked on his eye this winter league and comes back drawing more walks.

  • Stroscrow

    @LEXthePEX It doesn’t look like that is the case in regards to his winter. He didn’t do a whole lot of walking. He did however have a very good showing in winter ball. He hit .338, and I believe he had the most hits in the league. He was in the top five in many of the offensive categories in the league.

    I hope he can start walking more as well. At the end of next season we should know what Altuve is. If he could manage to increase his walk rate back to his minor league career totals which are not great but better, then that would be a big plus.

    I really think that Altuve will be fine offensively. I really try not to get to up or down about rookies first trip to the majors and give them an adjustment period. In Altuve’s case his weaknesses were exposed similar to Brett Wallace, and now we get to see how he will adjust. I’m thinking that his .276 mark is the lower end of his performance spectrum and that he will only improve. Will it be enough, stay tuned.

    Out of the young guys last year I think Martinez and Altuve will be okay offensively. I value defense a great bit and will wait and see on Altuve. To small of a sample size to judge in my opinion. The player that I worry about offensively is Paredes. He was the least polished of the trio, and was called up well before being ready. He performed fine, but the warning signs are there. I expect him to struggle at some point, and if he does I hope that fans don’t get to down on him because the potential is there.