The Astros six-time All-Star, Jose Altuve, appears to be back to playing the way we’re accustomed to seeing since he has returned from the Injured List.
It seems like we haven’t really seen the “real” Jose Altuve since he injured his knee almost a year ago. He went on the Disabled List (the old term) for about a month from that injury and never seemed the same when he returned to the Astros that year.
After that season, Altuve had knee surgery to repair an avulsion fracture of his right kneecap. He spent the offseason rehabbing and everyone, I think including Altuve himself, expected to get the healthy MVP caliber player back this year.
Except for a couple of weeks in April when he had a sudden power surge, he really never seemed to be himself. There were even times when it looked like he was favoring his knee or being a little timid running the bases. He then ended up on the Injured List in May and missed over a month nursing a hamstring injury.
Last season, prior to his knee injury, Altuve was playing like his old self, slashing .329/.392/.464 with an .857 OPS. The rest of the year, after he returned from the DL, he slashed .276/.366/.409 and had an OPS of .775. Those second-half numbers aren’t horrible by any means, but they aren’t “Jose Altuve” numbers.
Fast forward to 2019, post knee surgery. The first part of this season, up until his hamstring injury, he was hitting .243/.329/.472. The slugging percentage was up there, but his average and on-base percentage were way below his career numbers. He still wasn’t quite the old Altuve yet.
That month he spent on the Injured List this year seems to have been all that was needed to get back on track. Since he has come off of the IL, nearly a month ago on June 19, Altuve’s slash line is right back up there with his career averages. In those 23 games, he is hitting .320/.343/.485 and an .828 OPS.
Even better than that, so far in July, he’s slashing .345/.368/.545 and an OPS of .914. That is very close to what he hit in his 2017 MVP season. The last season he played the entire year healthy by the way. So, it’s looking like we got our old Jose Altuve back and what a welcome sight it is. It’s hard to deny how important he is as a spark to the Astros offense.