Astros MVP Jose Altuve has faced Shohei Ohtani before.
The Houston Astros will have to face a new foe in 2018 with the Angels in Shohei Ohtani. While he may be dealing with elbow issues, he plans to pitch this year. Many people see him as the Japanese Babe Ruth, a player who can hit and pitch. He will be facing many players for the first time this year.
There are a handful of players who have faced him before. Your first thought would be the 2017 World Baseball Classic, but he did not participate due to an ankle injury. You have to go back to the 2014 Japan All-Stars Series. Japan was facing the MLB All-Star team.
On that team, was an Astros second baseman.
You know him as MVP, of course, I’m talking about Jose Altuve. That season was when Altuve really took off, replacing Jason Castro as the token Astros All-Star representative. He batted .341 that season and stole 56 bases. Power was not part of his game that year, with only seven homers that season.
Altuve was on the rise.
He was a hitting machine that year, but only finished 13th in the AL MVP race that season. That season, Altuve was able to face the 20-year-old Ohtani. The MLB All-Star team struck out a lot versus Ohtani, who was throwing near 100 mph with a slow curveball. Ohtani also allowed many hits in the loss, but people saw the dominance of Ohtani, making Yasiel Puig look foolish in a strikeout.
Altuve was batting leadoff, leadoff the game with a single. The next three hitters were struck out, so his hit was wasted. His next at-bat, Altuve hit a high chopper to shortstop but was able to drive in a run. He also got another hit later with an RBI. Click on the Tweet above to watch the action.
The Astros will face Ohtani three to five times, depending on health. Ohtani is more experienced now, but the Astros MVP should not be overly concerned. After all, Altuve is older and wiser as well. Can’t wait for baseball to return.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***