This is one of the few times I get to talk about someone who is already making a direct impact on the field. Jose Altuve is coming off of what was considered a down year for him, hitting .283 with a measly .316 on-base percentage. He spent 2013 shuffling around the batting order along with every other Astro who got a chance to start.
When .283 is considered a down year for your second baseman, I’d say you’re in good hands. Now that Dexter Fowler has been penciled into the leadoff spot, I expect Altuve’s numbers to improve. We should see something similar to Altuve’s 2012 season thanks to some solidity as the everyday two-hole hitter. He’s an aggressive little guy at the plate, and some say he takes too many bad hacks and needs to tone it down a notch. Although I would like to see him on base more, I disagree with the idea of him cutting down on his swing. The way he approaches the game and his aggressive, all-fields mentality should be taken note of by the young guns in the organization.
Jose Altuve (Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports)
Altuve’s defensive skill-set is average for a major leaguer, but the amount of heart he plays with is immeasurable. He’s the kind of player I want my kids watching on TV (maybe one day Comcast). I know we’re supposed to talk statistics here, but there are some intangibles that can’t be measured by analytics. In a league with few exemplary role models left, Altuve is one of them. Altuve stands (approximately) 5’5″ and is an inspiration to every kid who dreams of making it to the big leagues but thinks he may not make it due to size.
What many see as the Astros best player by default, I see as the centerpiece for Jeff Luhnow’s complete overhaul of the Houston Astros. Expect a batting average of .300 or better from Altuve with a .350 on-base percentage and for him to be one of the most fun-to-watch baseball players in the game.