Jose Altuve has quietly put up another great year at Second Base for the Astros. For much of the season he looked like he was regressing, but with 5 games remaining he looks like he will post almost identical numbers to his breakout 2012 year.
To prove my point, see if you can see a difference here:
G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+ TB GDP HBP SH SF IBB
147 630 576 80 167 34 4 7 37 33 11 40 74 .290 .340 .399 .740 101 230 8 6 4 4 0
148 654 610 62 173 30 2 5 52 35 13 30 85 .284 .315 .364 .679 89 222 24 2 4 8 5
So, which one is a breakout year and which is the letdown? Altuve has been red-hot in September after struggling in the middle of the year. I chalk that up to the leave he took for a death in the family and getting punched in the face with Jimmy Parades’ entire self. He has earned that 4 year contract he got in July.
Like Castro, the knock on Altuve is his defense sometimes falls a bit short (ha). But if you watched him play this year, you could see long strides (haha) in his defensive development. Defensive metrics are not nearly as telling as advanced offensive stats, but we can look at what we have.
Last year, Baseball-Reference calculated his defensive WAR as -1.5. That’s Lucas Harrell kind of bad out there at second. (That was supposed to be a joke, but upon further examination Harrell has a WAR of -1.5 this season on the mound. This is a perfect metaphor.) But this season, he is at a respectable 0.3.
Basically, Altuve has essentially been the same or arguably better in 2013 than in 2012, but none of us noticed because we were too busy crying all season. Or was that just me?