Astros: Jose Altuve should be back in contention for MVP next season

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HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 29: Jose Altuve #27 of the Houston Astros looks on against the Washington Nationals during the fifth inning in Game Six of the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 29, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TEXAS - OCTOBER 29: Jose Altuve #27 of the Houston Astros looks on against the Washington Nationals during the fifth inning in Game Six of the 2019 World Series at Minute Maid Park on October 29, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /
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The Astros star second baseman Jose Altuve will be entering the 2020 season completely healthy and looking to compete for his second MVP of the Year Award.

Jose Altuve hasn’t really played an entire season at the peak of health since he won the 2017 MVP Award, the year the Astros won it all. He is set to begin the upcoming season with his knee issues now fully behind him and aiming to be back on top of the leaderboards.

Rewinding back to the 2018 season, Altuve missed 21 days with soreness in his right knee after sliding into second base in a late July game. When he returned off of the Disabled List he was never the same. The pain nagged at him the remainder of the season and his performance suffered as a result.

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. At the end of the 2018 season, Altuve underwent surgery on his right knee to repair an avulsion fracture of his kneecap.

Everyone, including Altuve, was looking forward to 2019 and returning to the field with a healthy knee. But it didn’t quite turn out the way it was expected. It seemed to look like he was favoring his knee or even 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.

In 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.

Once he returned from the Injured List, he looked more like the Altuve we are used to seeing. He finished out the season slashing .320/.363/.581 and an OPS of .944. It continued into the postseason earning him the 2019 ALCS MVP Award. Altuve is back!

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It will be great to see him going into the 2020 season with those injuries in the rear-view mirror and the hope of an injury-free year. We’ve seen what he can do when healthy and it’s quite the show. Maybe the American League MVP Award will come back to one of our hometown favorites next season.

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