1. Jose Altuve
I should just put this picture here and say nothing more. I mean, what can you say that you don’t already know about the clear-cut number-one choice for this list?
- Told he would never make it – Check
- Refused a position at tryouts – Check
- Signed a measly contract just to make it – Check
- Never made a top prospect list of any sort – Check
- Made it to MLB – Check
- Became a household name – Check
Jose Carlos Altuve. Mighty Mouse. MVP. Tuve. Whatever you want to call him, he is the one who was an afterthought and made himself a career. One would even argue, a Hall of Fame career.
Signing a contract in 2007, Jose Altuve got his shot to make the Majors and he never looked back. He would hit, and hit, and hit. He would hit his way through the Minors, never batting below .300.
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I honestly remember a time when I was in college, I believe it was 2010. I was trying to cut it as a sports journalist, so I was scouring through the Astros Minor’s system, and I saw him. I read the stats and said, “ehh, he probably won’t get a shot but maybe we could throw him in a trade to get someone”.
One year later, that under-sized second baseman from Puerto Cabello took the field. July 20th (a full ten days before JD Martinez), Jose Altuve made his mark with the Astros, and from then on, its been nothing but classics.
Ending 2011 with 221 plate appearances, Altuve found himself with a respectable .276 average. Not too bad for someone who scouts thought was too small.
In 2012, Altuve saw himself voted to his first All-Star Game, ended with a .290 average, 157 hits, and 33 stolen bases.
He would go on to post 160+ hits in the next six seasons. To date, Altuve has surpassed the 200 hit mark four years straight, collected 241 stolen bases, 95 home runs, 452 RBIs, and a career average of .318. He has six All-Star bids, one AL MVP, one World Series ring, five Silver Sluggers, and one Gold Glove.
If you can name a better player more fit to be #1, please be my guest. He, however, is it for me.
And the best has yet to come, only hitting his age, 29, this year, he still has plenty left in the tank to continue to hit. Hall of Famer? Odds are yes.