Never take things for granted in this life. Literally, please don’t take anything good for granted.
Life has a way of coming at you fast. Faster than you sometimes dream was possible. I, like all humans, can attest to this truth from one degree to another.
There were multiple points last season in which the Astros were clearly hobbling. We’re all familiar with Carlos Correa‘s persistent back issue last year. Lance McCullers Jr. would eventually need Tommy John surgery in the offseason. Jose Altuve was basically playing on one good knee.
As baseball fans, it is easy to take players health for granted. We’re conditioned to expect these guys do feats that we, as in the general populace, can only dream of accomplishing. Athletes, in general, are placed on a pedestal for their physical abilities. But when a player, especially one of the best in their respective sport, suddenly faces an injury so major where it can sideline an entire season, it is also a bit jarring for fans. That is what happened to me at least when I saw Altuve basically playing with one good knee.
Fast forward to Opening Day in 2019 and we finally saw a healthy Altuve for the first time since last summer. Although the Astros are full of competent hitters, the lineup is limited when Altuve isn’t at full strength. It looked the 2017 AL MVP was back to full strength in Tampa.
Altuve himself basically confirmed the sentiment after the game.
Even if you look past the home run and into exit velocity on batted balls, it was clear Altuve was feeling it at the plate.
- 108.4 MPH (HR)
- 107.4 MPH (Double)
- 101.7 MPH (Lineout)
- 95.5 MPH (Groundout)
It is far too early to know exactly how this season will pan out. But if the Astros can maintain a relatively healthy roster, which includes Altuve, then the club has to feel good about its chances to win it all again.