Wednesday, July 4, 2018
No Small Feat
Jose Altuve makes it look easy, man.
He's 5 foot 6, he hits 200 hits per year, hasn't batted under .300 since 2013, and just gets up there and smacks the ball around a bit. I don't know how he does it as well as he does, but he's one talented player, and the Astros are lucky to have him.
Like Anthony Rizzo and Alex Gordon, the 2017 Astros team started by building around the first young kid to come up and stick around, which was Altuve. And as more prospects started filling the team, like George Springer, Carlos Correa and Alex Bregman, the title only became more inevitable. Having Jose Altuve as the team's rock was the smartest decision, because I can think of no other recent hitter that's been more reliable than Altuve has. While Gordon and Rizzo can duck back and let someone else take the reins...Altuve has shown no signs of that. And I imagine this will amount to a longer Astros renaissance than those other teams.
That's not to say Altuve is doing all the work- Bregman, Springer, Yuli Gurriel and Evan Gattis have also contributed to the offensive. Additionally, the lineup has the honor of being supported by the single most powerful pitching staff in baseball right now. Not even a down Dallas Keuchel performance can stop this one. Verlander, Cole, Morton, McCullers--all of them are incredible right now, and none of them can be stopped.
The Astros do need to worry about something they barely had to worry about in 2017: competition. The Mariners are rather close behind them, and...I can't believe I'm saying this, but the Oakland A's are beginning to creep up as well. I wish I could write something that strange. But the M's have won 7 straight, and the Astros, if they want to hold onto first, would need to do something awful similar to that. With Altuve, it's definitely not out of the question, but as the back half of the lineup begins to dissolve a bit, it's becoming more dire than it needs to be.
Coming Tonight: We wrote him off as a one-season fluke...and then, finally, he figures out how to do something else other than hit home runs.