Five foot five inch players don’t necessarily fit the mold of a typical Major League player, let alone that of a slugger. However, Jose Altuve has made a habit of shedding those misconceptions his entire life and now he’s being recognized among the upper tier of Major League hitters by being named the American League Silver Slugger at second base.
It was an incredibly constructive season for the Astros mighty-might, as Altuve set the team record for most hits with 225 while leading the American League with a .341 batting average and 56 stolen bases. Altuve also posted a career-high .377 on-base percentage, a .453 slugging percentage, 47 doubles, and 85 runs scored on the way to a 5.2 win season.
Along the way, Jose Altuve beat out perennial Silver Slugger contenders in Dustin Pedroia, Robinson Cano, and Ian Kinsler. That’s especially intriguing when you realize that Altuve made just $1.25 million in 2014, well below what Pedroia, Cano, and Kinsler pocketed this past season. According to FanGraphs, Altuve ranked 4th among American League second baseman, worth $28.3 million.
At 24-years-old, the diminutive Altuve is under contract through the 2019 season, which means that Astros fans will get a lot of opportunities to see if the second baseman can continue to hold his place among the top hitters in the game. His ability to hit anything and everything, in and out of the zone, likely means that opposing pitchers will struggle to adapt to Altuve long-term. However, the .360 BABIP may be tough to maintain long-term.
Still, the Astros will take their wins where they can get them, and Jose Altuve will continue to be a big piece of the young core in Houston.