1) Jose Altuve is a machine...an unstoppable machine
I don't think any Astros fans questions the greatness of Jose Altuve. Minus a few growing pains, Altuve has hit at every moment he's been up in the big leagues -- as far back as his time wearing the pinstripes and brick red. (Side note the Astros stopped wearing those four years ago...I'm starting to feel old).
The national media appears to come around on how great Altuve is. MLB Network's Mark DeRosa and John Smoltz this week broke down what makes Altuve success at the plate.
DeRosa dropped an astonishing fact about Altuve:
"We're gonna empty the bucket on him, cause he's got 558 hits over the last three seasons, the next closest to him is Robinson Cano and Ian Kinsler at 484 [hits]. He's got 74 more hits in the last three years than anyone in the game. They're not even close, 74 more hits than anyone close to him. In counts, certain counts - 1-0 count he's hitting .529, 2-0 [count he's hitting] .571, 0-2 [count he's hitting] .385."
Smoltz talked about how to attack Altuve as a pitcher:
"I know his manager said in that sound bite, ‘Hey, his walks are going up.' Well they're going to go up a lot more. If I'm facing him, [I've] got to get him to swing outside the zone. He's an aggressive hitter, he attacks the baseball, he finds different ways to put the bat on the ball and make great contact. You have to treat him that he's not 5-foot-7 and he's just trying to work his way on-base. You have to treat him now more like a hitter that could beat you deep and he wants to swing. So if he wants to swing, he's going to be frustrated or at least I'm going to try and frustrate him by not giving him any strikes."
MLB Network also created this insane heat map for Altuve over the past two seasons:
2) Astros minor league teams bringing straight fire
Saturday was rather interesting with the news out of Chicago with Chris Sale being sent home. We learned a short time later that he was sent home for cutting up the throwback jerseys the team planned to wear on Saturday. Well the Astros minor league affiliates had something things to say about that:
Good thing Chris Sale never played for us. pic.twitter.com/LayGcbaErs— Fresno Grizzlies (@FresnoGrizzlies) July 24, 2016
Then an old man went old man on us:
ugliest unis ever https://t.co/HnS3WWOuU4— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) July 24, 2016
And the Grizzlies had a good clap-back:
3) Gattis loves to hit as a catcher, not as a DH
Evan Gattis has played mostly designated hitter since joining the Astros. But he returned to catcher after a short trip to the minors in 2016. An odd thing is happening, he is hitting the cover off the ball when he's at catcher and not DH.
Gattis is batting .310 (26x84) with six doubles, nine home runs, and 21 RBIs in 22 games at catcher. He is batting .175 (28x160) with nine home runs and 19 RBIs in 46 games at designated hitter.
Gattis said Saturday night:
"I've seen the stats and heard it's kind of a big split, but I just want to pretend like I'm catching when I'm not," Gattis said.