Houston Astros 2020 Year in Review: Jose Altuve slumps

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 13: Jose Altuve #27 of the Houston Astros reacts to a throwing error during the sixth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays in Game Three of the American League Championship Series at PETCO Park on October 13, 2020 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA - OCTOBER 13: Jose Altuve #27 of the Houston Astros reacts to a throwing error during the sixth inning against the Tampa Bay Rays in Game Three of the American League Championship Series at PETCO Park on October 13, 2020 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /
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Jose Altuve’s 2020 season shows the Houston Astros star could be on the decline.

The sign stealing scandal didn’t hit any player harder than the Houston Astros second baseman. Everyone knows what makes Jose Altuve unique; he stands at only 5’6″ and is the longest tenured member of the team right now. He is the only current Astro who played in both the American League and National League for this team. In 2020, we didn’t see the MVP numbers from No. 27 or even the All-Star numbers he once had.

As probably one of the most clutch Astros of all time, Altuve would be a no doubter in retiring his number, but this season is starting to kill his chances of being a Hall of Famer, along with the sign stealing scandal.

Regular Season

As one of the smaller guys in the league, we never saw big numbers in his OPS category, as they usually fluctuated from .800 to .950. These numbers are above average, and as an everyday two hitter, his job was to get on base, which he did prior to 2020. The 30-year-old battled a right knee sprain injury in early September and was just another Astros star to spend time on the IL.

Numbers wise, Altuve has never played this bad before. Compared to 2019, his batting average dropped from .298 to .219 and his OPS dropped from .903 to .629. This isn’t a good sign for a reliable player as he enters his 30s. Hopefully, these struggles were only caused by an injury.

Postseason

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Altuve’s struggles carried into the Wild Card round, and as a fan, I was calling for Aledmys Diaz to take his job. Against the Minnesota Twins, Altuve hit .222 with an OPS of .222. Moving on to the ALDS and the ALCS, we saw the old Altuve coming through. The slugger upped his OPS to 1.326 and 1.447, respectively, while homering five times. His hot bat got him 10 RBIs as the second hole hitter, but also as a three hole when Dusty Baker would flip him and Michael Brantley.

Here is what you have been waiting for: Altuve was awful in the field. Baseball players refer to this issue as the “yips” or “the thing.” He struggled at one of the easiest positions in baseball. As a second baseman, he has the shortest throw on the whole team and couldn’t get the ball to first. An ALCS loss could be attributed to these errors, because of Lance McCullers Jr. giving up a three-run home run after one of the errors, making it the only meaningful swing of the game.

Future

Altuve is under contract until 2024, and by that time, I hope the Astros are ready to let him go. He will be 34 by then, and he is showing his prime has ended. Hopefully he can bounce back next season, but the front office should start working on his replacement. The issue is I do not think their fix is in Jack Mayfield or Abraham Toro.

Grade: C-

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