Christmas may come early in Houston this year. The Houston Astros are 12-11 to begin the season, and though they're notoriously slow starters, they have definitely felt the impact of not having Jose Altuve in the lineup.
Yes, Mauricio Dubón has filled in admirably in the leadoff spot and playing second base. The utilityman has racked up 1.0 bWAR and is hitting .325 as the everyday second baseman. He's hitting .300 with a .685 OPS in the leadoff spot and holds an 18-game hitting streak.
That said, he's no Altuve. Very, very few hitters are. Just last year, Altuve hit .300 with 28 home runs and a .921 OPS. In 2021, he hit 31 bombs.
While Dubón may be racking up singles, he's not capable of doing that kind of damage. Thankfully, the Astros might not have to wait that much longer to get their superstar back in the fold.
Altuve is recovering very quickly from his fractured thumb, and while he was initially feared to miss two full months, he is recovering ahead of schedule according to Jim Bowden of The Athletic.
With Michael Brantley currently rehabbing in Sugar Land, the Astros continue to inch towards their full-strength lineup, a terrifying thought for the rest of the league as they are already scoring the sixth-most runs in the game.
They may have to navigate some time without slugger Yordan Alvarez as he nurses neck discomfort, but the Astros full-strength lineup is due to make an appearance soon.
Dubón was phenomenal when hitting eighth in the lineup, carrying a .345 average with an .824 OPS. Dubón's bat needs to be in the lineuo everyday, even if he returns to a utility role to get guys routine off-days. If the Astros can get Altuve back in the top of the order and then slide Dubón to eighth, they'd have eight spots in the lineup opposing pitchers would have to navigate without making a mistake.
Runs are about to be scored aplenty in H-Town!