Houston Astros: 5 players who could decide the ALDS vs. Mariners
Jose Altuve is the heartbeat of the Houston Astros and as he goes so goes the team.
The other players we’ve mentioned are primarily under the radar guys aside from Framber Valdez. It’s not a question that Altuve is the most important member to the Houston Astros in so many different ways.
He bears the brunt of boos at the beginning of every single road game. 81 times a year he puts that on his shoulders and still produces.
Altuve has a knack for clutch hits, home runs, plays in the field and aggressive base running skills including scoring on a sacrifice fly to a second baseman. In the postseason he gets better as he has a .907 postseason OPS and seems to do it every time the Astros need a big swing.
Last year he did it against Boston in the eighth inning of game four in the ALCS at Fenway Park. Down 2-1 in the series as well as the game, Altuve did his patented first pitch fastball over the left field fence routine to tie the game at 2-2 and altering the course of that series.
Since Altuve is a fastball hitter, it will be interesting to see how often he gets challenged with a fastball from the high velocity guys like Luis Castillo and Andres Munoz. Altuve may be 32 years old but he is having his best season since his MVP year in 2017 so it’s not like his bat speed has slowed down.
He hit .300 with 28 home runs and in what is probably the most under the radar statistic of the year, Altuve was third in the league in OPS behind only Aaron Judge and Yordan Alvarez.
Despite those eye popping numbers Altuve is not beyond bunting to get on base so the guys behind him can drive him in. His selfless play, leadership and of course all-around talent will be key to the Astros making another long run in October.
If the Astros get vintage postseason Altuve, and nothing suggests they won’t based on his performance this year, the Mariners will have a brief trip to the ALDS before retooling for next season.