It’s expected for the Astros to only have one All-Star representative again this season. Before the season started, everyone just assumed that would be second baseman Jose Altuve again. While he is certainly deserving, a case could be made for a few guys from the Astros. This week the Climbing Tal’s Hill writers and editors will make our case for five Astros players to take that spot. Recently, Yoni Pollak made his case for Jose Veras, Ray Kuhn made his case for Bud Norris, and John Burgess made his case for Jason Castro on Monday. After Greg Thurston argues for his candidate on Friday, we want you, the Hill Climbers, to select your All-Star on our poll.
I ask you Hill Climbers why change up the game? Jose Altuve is still a very serviceable multi-purpose second baseman. One has to ask themselves, who makes the biggest impact in this game? Too many times we’ve seen All Star teams picked without any concern over the team aspect. Any Astros player selected will be relegated to the bench. As a bench player in the All Star game you want a player with tools. Jose’s ability to come in late to run, steal a bag, play grade A defense, and help move the runners is unmatched. There will be plenty of power bats on the bench in the other positions, so why duplicate it?
Lets take a look at Altuve’s competition. Either Robinson Cano or Dustin Pedroia will win the starting position at second as a given. Therefore the other will probably be the backup. It will make it extra tough for Jose to make the All Star game this season, but again you cannot deny the tools off the bench. Howie Kendrick, and Jason Kipnis become his immediate rivals if a third second baseman is chosen. Howie flashes much more power with eight home runs, but fails to provide the speed Altuve can provide in a close game. Jason Kipnis however could be a bigger rival with fifteen stolen bags and nine homers. However, you want a guy at the end of the game who can put a bat on a ball versus any dominant pitcher. Altuve’s .288 batting average is sure to rise after he gets out of his most recent slump. I am positive Jose will be flirting with a .300 batting average and 16-17 stolen bases by the break.
Obviously we may be reaching to get Jose in for his second straight year in separate leagues. But I ask the voters, players, and All Star personnel to think of what Altuve can do for you in game situations. Jose can provide you high level defense as a seventh inning substitution, steal a bag as a pinch runner in the eighth, or even play a little hit and run with the game on the line at the bitter end. Altuve has mastered the art of being a multi-purpose player, and those tools become magnified in an All Star Game. Teams full of nothing but sluggers tend to struggle scoring versus dynamic pitching. Speed, defense, and the right substitutions will be key for the American League to reclaim success in All Star Games. Mark it down Hill Climbers, Jose Altuve is your All Star for 2013.