Jose Altuve Is The Greatest Astros Player of All-Time

One dominant night in September wasn't the deciding factor, but rather further confirmation: Jose Altuve is the greatest player in franchise history.
Houston Astros v Texas Rangers
Houston Astros v Texas Rangers / Ron Jenkins/GettyImages

In a career filled with monumental swings and legendary moments, Jose Altuve authored yet another chapter last night.

With a chance to take sole possession of first place in the AL West on the line, the Astros were facing a returning Nate Eovaldi. Eovaldi hadn't started since July 18th, and with the Rangers reeling, they looked to their ace to stabilize the sinking ship.

The Astros face of the franchise pushed the sinking ship further into the abyss.

He turned on Eovaldi's fifth offering of the game, a 94.9 mph fastball, and deposited it into the left field seats. Altuve's 108 mph bomb would have gotten out of all 30 parks.

After homering in the top of the 9th on Monday, the Astros leadoff hitter had home runs in back-to-back innings.

In the top of the second, Altuve went deep again, turning on Eovaldi's hanging slider. His shot to left-center gave him three in three innings.

In the top of the third, Altuve yet again went yard, blasting Dane Dunning's cutter 426 feet to dead center. Altuve had homered three times before the Rangers-7-8-9 hitters had even come to the plate once.

He had home runs in four straight innings and in five of his last six at-bats. Only one other player in big league history had homered in four consecutive innings, and that was Bobby Lowe way back in 1894.

In his last seven games, he hit for the cycle and homered in four consecutive at-bats. Only Jimmie Foxx back in 1933 had done that before him.

Simply put, Altuve is operating in another stratosphere right now.

This was Altuve's second career three home run game after Game 1 of the 2017 ALDS.

One early fall night isn't the determining factor in the greatest player in franchise history debate, but it is yet another feather in the cap of what is becoming harder and harder to argue against by the day.

Jose Altuve is the greatest player in Astros history.

Yes, Craig Biggio and Jeff Bagwell are legends and Hall-of-Famers for a reason. Yes, their total career number remain higher than Altuve. But Jose is the best player to put on an Astros uniform.

Altuve is a 6x Silver Slugger while Biggio has five and Bagwell has three. Jose is an eight-time All-Star. Biggio was an All-Star seven times and Bagwell was four times. Altuve has three batting titles while Biggio and Bagwell have zero between the two of them.

And most importantly in the determination: Altuve has been one of the best playoff performers in MLB history. Needless to say, Biggio and Bagwell were not.

Altuve has 23 career playoff home runs with an .844 OPS in the postseason. Only Manny Ramirez has more playoff home runs. With the Astros likely headed for another playoff run, it's likely Altuve comes closer and closer to passing Ramirez for most all-time.

Jeff Bagwell was a career .226 hitter with two home runs and a .685 OPS in the postseason. Biggio hit .234 with a .618 OPS and two bombs in the playoffs. That the Astros never made a serious playoff run during their primes is indicative of how poorly their cornerstones performed in the playoffs.

Meanwhile, Altuve has been right in the middle of the biggest playoff moments of the Golden Era. He's won two World Series and appeared in four. He's got an ALCS MVP on his resume. He has as many home runs in just the World Series as Biggio and Bagwell do their entire postseason careers combined.

While Biggio and Bagwell have the edge in pure counting stats due to their longevity (which is not to be ignored), Altuve has always risen to the occasion when most needed.

And Altuve is somehow still getting better. He's on pace for the highest OPS and WRC+ of his career and highest batting average since 2017. His 4.0 fWAR is tied for 33rd in the MLB, 25th among position players.

As Tony Adams pointed out, everybody above Altuve has played at least 95 games while he's played only 68. He'd be on pace for a 9.5 fWAR had he not missed time due to injury. At age 33, Bagwell was worth 5.2 fWAR in 161 games while Biggio was worth 4.9 in 160.

He's aging unbelievably gracefully. Altuve is one of the last players of his kind with a real chance to get to 3,000 hits. As it stands, he was the fastest player in MLB history to rack up 2,000 hits, 200 home runs and 200 stolen bases.

He won't catch Bagwell's 449 career home runs or 1,529 RBI, but those may very well be the only franchise records out of reach for him.

He's been just as good of a regular season performer as Biggio and Bagwell, while completely obliterating their postseason performances.

Last night was yet another reminder of what we already knew to be true: Jose Altuve is the greatest Astros player of all-time.