Jose Altuve; Small Package, Bigger Expectations

Jose Altuve stands 5 foot, 5 inches (5 foot, 6 inches according to some). His game is so much bigger.

The Houston Astros second baseman is only 24, but is a two-time all-star that has carried the Astros all season. So far this season, Altuve has 173 hits and 46 steals, first and second in the Major Leagues, respectively. Currently, the Astros hold the third worst record in MLB, according to Rant Sports. Altuve would be the key to their future, given the Astros have what is believed to be one of the better farm systems.

Altuve continues to impress his teammates and opponents with his drive and energy. The fans love his high energy and drive even in the face of playing for the third worst team in all the Major Leagues. He has a compact, make-contact swing that allows for drive to the gaps and some power. A good case in point would be last night’s game against the Boston Red Sox. Altuve went 4-for-5, including four runs and his first career grand slam home run. His youth means he could be around for many years to come. Whether the Astros can keep him or not would be the biggest issue.

The Astros may not be playing for the World Series anytime soon, but they have built the foundation for a tough team with Altuve providing quality leadership. NESN reports Altuve patterns his play after another “smaller” second baseman, Boston’s own Dustin Pedroia. “When I was a kid, you know?” Altuve said, via the Houston Chronicle. “He’s a little guy like me, and he plays hard. He’s one of the best players in the big leagues, so I think every single little guy wants to be like Dustin Pedroia. … He just taught me you know keep playing hard and I appreciate it.”

Pedroia has been noticing. “Oh yeah, he’s having a great year,” said Pedroia, who sat out Sunday’s game against the Astros with flu-like symptoms. “Plays the game right, he’s fun to watch … just playing against him last year and then even the year before. He’s obviously a smaller guy. He plays the game hard, you know he squares everything up, good base runner, good defense. I mean, he’s a good player.”

Altuve became the first Astros player to collect a grand slam and four hits in a game since Jeff Bagwell on April 9, 2004 at Milwaukee. He leads the Major Leagues in hits, batting average (.339) and multi-hit games (53) and is six weeks away from becoming the Astros’ first batting champion. Altuve also has a chance to break Craig Biggio’s Astro record of 210 hits in a season, set in 1998. Altuve would be only the second Astro to accumulate 200 or more hits during a season, according to MLB.com.