By now, you should be familiar with the baseball greatness of Astros second baseman Jose Altuve.
Yes, the Astros won another ballgame Thursday in Anaheim. Their magic number is now down to just three.
But one play in particular, like everyone else, caught my eye.
Angels’ batter Brandon Phillips hit a ball up the middle of the infield. The ball was roughly in between Altuve and Carlos Correa. It had the appearance of sneaking into the outfield for a hit.
Then the play happened.
That’s definitely a play I will not forget anytime soon. Altuve was flat out flying on this one.
By the way, I would to dub this play the “Flying Altuve”. Trademark is pending.
Now I won’t be that guy who will proclaim this defensive play solidifies Altuve as a top player in baseball. It’s just one play. No, I’m the guy who will tell that it has been happening all season long. Some with his glove, but mainly with his bat.
If you hop over to any website with baseball statistics, there is a good chance you will see Altuve’s name plastered all over the leaderboards. And for good reason. At this time, I will exclusively look at Fangraphs.
2017 offensive metrics: .348/.409/.559, 23 HR, 76 RBI, 160 wRC+, 6.9 WAR
Altuve’s offensive numbers are just downright impressive. He leads baseball in hits, qualified batting average and WAR. He’s near the top in numerous categories as well. While I’m obviously biased towards the Astros and Altuve, I would have a hard time picking any other player over him for MVP. Mike Trout may be his only competition for the award when it is all said and done.
This blog entry started with a defensive play so I’ll end it talking about Altuve’s defense. And it’s been alright.
2017 defensive metrics: 2 DRS, -2.3 UZR in 1,192.1 innings
As you all know, defensive metrics are far from being accepted as definitive. Please bear with me.
Based on what we know right now, Altuve hasn’t been a terrible defensive second baseman but he hasn’t been a good either. Altuve has been roughly average if you go by DRS. He also has ten errors to his detriment. But DRS and UZR are definitely better numbers to examine than errors.
On the positive side, Altuve has continued to improve as a second baseman on the field. His DRS and UZR earlier in his career were dreadful. It’s for that reason his career cumulative defensive metrics – (-23 ) DRS and (-31) -UZR aren’t exactly a ringing endorsement of his career when it comes to defense.
All in all, Altuve’s value will continue to be derived from mainly his offensive prowess. But he has shown improvement on defense since 2015. If Altuve can maintain an average defensive rating and make plays like he did on Thursday, then he will continue to be one of the most valuable players in baseball.
**Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs**