Between the Gold Gloves, a Cy Young finalist, and Silver Sluggers, the Astros were well-represented in this year’s award circuit.
While the cold was starting to set in across Houston, Jose Altuve won his fifth-consecutive Silver Slugger on Thursday night.
The Astros‘ second baseman is the first player in club history to win five consecutive Silver Sluggers. He along with Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell, George Springer, Moises Alou, Carlos Lee, Morgan Ensberg, Mike Hampton, Glenn Davis, Jose Cruz, and Dickie Thon as the only players in club history to win a Silver Slugger. Before Altuve’s first Silver Slugger back in 2014, the last Astro to win the award was Lee back in 2007.
Would you believe that despite missing 25 games and playing with a broken kneecap in the second half of the season, Altuve finished tied for the second-highest fWAR (4.9) in the American League? Simply impressive. Over the entirety of the 2018 season, the AL second base Silver Slugger slashed .316/.386/.451 with 13 home runs and a 135 wRC+. His numbers did drop a bit in the second half, but, again, a broken kneecap.
For the Astros and likely Altuve, the 2018 season was a fun ride, but ended bitterly. Playing on a broken kneecap (sorry, I can’t get over that), the All-Star second baseman was still one of the better players at his position. A 117 wRC+ over the second half is still above average, and opposing pitchers were still mindful how they’d pitch to him. The injury was re-aggravated during the postseason and it was clear that Altuve was playing through a lot of pain during the Astros’ run.
Going forward, the age-28 second baseman remains a favorite for the award in subsequent seasons if he remains relatively healthy. There hasn’t been a more productive second baseman in the AL since his first Silver Slugger in 2014. Let’s hope that his productive streak continues for quite some time to come.