The “Worldwide Leader in Sports” finished up its position player rankings by posting the list for top ten Major League second basemen. Jose Altuve ranks as the second best behind the Seattle Mariners’ Robinson Cano. Prior to the 2014 season, Altuve did not make the list.
After Altuve’s outstanding 2014 season, where he received an All-Star nod and won the American League batting title and Silver Slugger Award, there is no surprise he ranks so high amongst his peers. The diminutive Venezuelan also set the Houston Astros franchise record for hits with 225, led all of Major League Baseball in batting average with .341, and led the A.L. in stolen bases with 56. There was no way that Altuve would have kept flying under the radar.
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There are a couple of things that stand out on these rankings, the first being that Jose Altuve is the youngest player at 24-years old. The oldest player is the Oakland A’s Ben Zobrist (ranked fifth), at 33 years. The other thing that stands out is that Altuve has played in only four seasons, tied for second fewest with Jason Kipnis of the Cleveland Indians, and behind the Twins’ Brian Dozier, who’s played in three. Chase Utley, with 12 seasons, and Cano with 10, are the most experienced players ranked. Altuve should be on this list for years to come, and another stellar season could earn him the number one ranking for next season, although it’s hard to imagine where he could improve.
Among the ESPN rankings at each position, George Springer was the only other Astro to make any list, ranked as the tenth best right fielder. Springer, 25-years old, was also one of the youngest players ranked at his position.
Through the rebuilding process Houston was getting national attention for the wrong things. These guys getting noticed is a good thing as they are key to getting the franchise back to respectability and, hopefully, a championship. In the years ahead, especially given the highly ranked farm system, Houston should see more of its talent making these lists.
What do you make of the ranking? Even at number two, is Jose Altuve underrated?