As I am sure you know, the Houston Astros’ Jose Altuve led the league in hits last season. Well, let me rephrase that, Jose Altuve led the league in hits by a LONG way. Altuve amassed 225 hits last season, the most since Ichiro Suzuki matched that total in 2008. He also led the league with 25 hits, the most since Ichiro’s historic 262 hit season in 2004.
This season actually started better, as Altuve held a .367 average and 36 hits when April came to a close. Many, myself included, thought this would be another repeat season, and you could start edging the trophy already.
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However, May was quite a different story. Altuve has been a very consistent hitter in his career, so no one would have ever guessed for a whole calendar month he could hit .231, especially after such a torrid start. It happened. With it, Altuve’s hopes of another batting title/hit crown were diminishing by the day, as his average dipped below .300.
Today, Jose Altuve is hitting .309, thanks to a .351 August from the short guy. At game 127, Altuve sits 3rd in the AL (5th in MLB) with 150 hits. Although many of the guys ahead of him have 4/5 more games played, Altuve will not relinquish his crown as easily as it seemed.
With the first full season (we had hoped) from Springer, the emergence of Keuchel and the greatness that is Carlos Correa, many people tend to overlook Altuve (no pun intended). It’s amazing to think about what he is doing. He had a full calendar month at .231 and is right in the thick of the hit title and if Miguel Cabrera doesn’t qualify, has an outside shot at another batting title.
Jose really is the motor that keeps the Astros running, and his resurgence has helped them maintain first place despite random surges from the Rangers. Having won it last year, Altuve has to be the favorite to bring home the hit title once again, and it looks like he might even be able to hit into October this season.