Despite the Houston Astros struggles throughout the 2016 season, there was one player who stood head and shoulders above the rest. And, yes, that certain player is listed at 5’6″.
On a team filled with talent like Carlos Correa and George Springer, it is easy to see why it would take a special player to overshadow that duo. And by golly, do the Houston Astros have such a player. A franchise-altering player if you will.
And his name is Jose Altuve. The mighty Jose Altuve, that is.
Of course, you already knew all of that.
But quite simply, there weren’t many players better than the AL batting champion in 2016.
Let me break it down for you:
- 216 hits; first overall
- 150 wRC+; seventh overall
- .338 batting average; third overall
- 6.7 WAR; sixth overall
When you consider the entirety of his season, the Astros best player improved in different and unexpected ways.
For example, Altuve saw his ISO (Isolated Power) surge from .146 to .194. This power surge also led to an increase in home runs from 15 to 24. He also experienced a noticeable jump in walks, runs, and RBI. All in all, it was a career-year for the 26-year old.
More from Climbing Tal's Hill
- Just how much better is the Houston Astros playoff rotation than the rest?
- Houston Astros: A Lineup Change to Spark Offense
- Astros prospect Hunter Brown throws 6 shutout innings in debut
- Always faithful Astros World Series champion Josh Reddick defends the title
- Michael Conforto declines Astros’ 2-year, $30 million offer
Unfortunately, a late-season slump that included an 89 wRC+ in September and October probably derailed any hope of the second baseman actually winning the award.
However, that shouldn’t discount what Altuve did to help keep the Astros afloat all season long.
Even though Houston started the season 7-17, the team did surge to an 84-78 record and a third place finish in the AL West. Sure, this was not the desired result for a team with “Astro”-nomical expectations. But Altuve was a major reason why the Astros were able to rebound and finish with a 77-61 record from May 1st to October 3rd.
So where does the Astros likely team MVP go from here?
Let’s be honest, Altuve has had a terrific major league career up to this point. He keeps proving doubters wrong and joining exclusive company along the way.
His 1,046 hits, for example, prove that the 26-year old(!) second baseman does belong amongst the legends.
And if his career continues along this current path, he may eventually be considered one of the top players in franchise, and perhaps, baseball history.
Overall, Altuve was the best player the Astros had last season. Without him, this franchise is a lot less fun to watch.
**Statistics provided by Baseball-Reference & Fangraphs**