In a season were the phrase “who would have guessed” has become a staple when speaking about the Astros, I’ll say it again. Who would have guessed the Stros would have the best offensive middle infield in the National League? Not I, heck, I wasn’t sold on the ideas that Jose Altuve could be a major league starter and Jed Lowrie could stay healthy. I (and pretty much everyone else) was quite wrong on both fronts. Not only has Jose Altuve proved he belongs on a 25-man Major League roster but how about an All-Star roster. Not only has Jed Lowrie proved he could stay healthy but that he might be the best shortstop in the National League. These two have proved more than a few people wrong and continue to lead the charge for the surprising home town nine.
For Jed Lowrie, health was always the issue. He couldn’t stay healthy in Boston and what started as a promising prospect fizzled. Now with the Astros, everyone has witnessed what type of ball player Jed could be. He has stayed health since an early thumb injury and his numbers are right there with Troy Tulowitzki and Jose Reyes in the race for the best in the league at SS. He has truly been a revelation at shortstop and made Astros’ fans forget about Clint Barmes‘ .698 OPS.
Jose Altuve couldn’t draw a walk or show much plate discipline last season but this season he is drawing some walks and seeing a ton more hittable pitches. The change has been obvious, taking a good hitter and turning him into a machine at the plate. Not only is he hitting, but getting on base to the clip of .368. There is a real argument, just like with Lowrie, that Altuve is the best at his position in the National League. Given the fact that together they make roughly just over 1.5 million in 2012, the Astros have to be loving their mighty middle infield.
Be sure to vote for Altuve and Lowrie on your All-Star ballot. These guys both deserve to be in Kansas City next month for the mid-summer classic.