The question at every single level about Jose Altuve wasn’t about his height, that’d been talked about enough, it’s when would he come back down to earth? After all, he can’t keep going on this ridiculous hot streak, can he? Problem with that last statement is, folks, he has been on that ridiculous hot streak for his entire freaking career. He hit some bumps on the road last season after being called up but considering he’d been seeing single A and double A pitching for most of the season, he didn’t do too bad at all. So this season was a more true test to see if the guy belongs at 2nd in the big leagues. Even a poor season wouldn’t bury Altuve but a good season would help establish Altuve as more than a side show attraction. That sounds so mean to say but I got that very vibe so often during his minor league career and when he got called up. Altuve is doing his best to make people marvel at his stats and making people believe he might be the successor to Craig Biggio.
I was planning on keeping a very close eye on Jose this season because I wasn’t sure if he was the guy at second. I’ll be brutally honest and say that to me, Jimmy Paredes should have gotten a fair look at 2B. I questioned the same thing everyone did, could Altuve continue to hit at a high level and if not, could he learn enough plate discipline to balance that out. Well, so far, Altuve has shown a much better approach at the plate as evidence by his .380 OBP. His walks still aren’t great but it’s obvious to anyone who is watching the Astros on a regular basis that Jose is seeing more pitches. By seeing more pitches he is getting better swings which for a hitter like Altuve is key. Jose crushed a few balls Thursday night in Washington that made my jaw drop, I knew the guy had pop but it’s clear that if he gets his pitch, look out. At this point, we can’t call his great stats any type of fluke anymore and while he will somewhat come down to earth at some point, he is positioning himself for a very nice sophomore season.
So his offense has been great but I had questions about his defense as well. Could Altuve handle the grind of being the everyday 2nd base position at this level? Last season, I wasn’t overly impressed with his range and he missed a few easy chances but so far this season, not much of an issue. I do think, he hasn’t gotten to a couple of balls I’d think a 2nd baseman should but he’s also made a few excellent plays. His defensive effort in Washington to turn a double play was brilliant and over all has made every easy play. If Altuve hits as well as he has shown, then Jose won’t need to be a gold glove 2nd baseman to fit in just fine. Plus, Altuve has time to get used to the position and get accustomed to Jed Lowrie at SS.
I had a ton questions about Altuve coming into the season and he’s answered most of them so far. I don’t know if Altuve is a .350 hitter or will get on base at a .380 rate at this point in his career but this is what this season is all about for a lot of these Astros. Lets see what these guys can and cannot do over a full season and measure their ups and downs along the way. Sure have been a ton of ups for Altuve so far, hopefully we see a lot more as the season continues.