For the second time in eight years, Jose Altuve will not play in the All-Star game. He has been a starter for the past three years, so Astros fans will see some new faces this year. However, fans can’t really complain with six All-Star representatives already heading to Cleveland next week. In a team loaded with stars, some players are going to get overlooked, especially in a down season.
This is not an article saying that Altuve should have made the All-Star team. Despite his power surge at the beginning of the season, he went ice cold at the plate for a couple of weeks. Before he could break out of it, he went on the IL with hamstring discomfort that became knee weakness. Altuve has not played in 35 of the 86 games the Astros have played so far. Despite this, they still have a 54-32 record on the season.
After his last game, played on May 10th, he was only batting .243 on the season. After his six games home run streak was snapped, he slumped dramatically. In 13 games, he batted .130 with a .572 OPS. Altuve has a career .314 batting average at the moment, but looked lost at the plate. Then he left after straining his hamstring and didn’t return to playing baseball until June 19th. While he was out, the Astros believed they found what was wrong with his swing.
However, he didn’t have enough time to fix his stats, so to speak, before the All-Star voting began. In the 12 games since he returned, he is batting .340 with an .829 OPS, more Altuve like stats. Altuve was part of the All-Star starter election, but the fans voted in DJ LeMahieu as the starter. In the primary election, LeMahieu finished third behind Tommy LaStella and Altuve. But LeMahieu got hot at the right time, and there is a lot of Yankee pride across the country.
LaStella was later selected as a reserve player after an impressive start to the season. LaStella was removed after an injury the other day, and he was later diagnosed with a broken leg. The All-Star will miss the next 8-10 weeks, meaning that he will need to be replaced on the All-Star roster. Altuve finished second in the primary vote, but the MLB selected Rays rookie Brandon Lowe instead. Was Altuve snubbed a second time around?
In Houston, we all know that Altuve is pretty good. But they went with the player having the better year on a good Tampa ball club. At the time of writing, Lowe is tied with LaStella with the second highest wRC+ of 129, trailing LeMahieu’s 142 wRC+. While Altuve is still at a respectable 118, he does not qualify for the leaderboards in wRC+ with time missed. If you compare the stats, Lowe is better there as well.
While Altuve is the bigger name, most fans voted for him because that’s who they were used to voting for him. Assuming he’s healthy in 2020, he should return to the mid-season classic again. Don’t forget, he wasn’t an All-Star in 2013 as well. With not too many people paying attention to the Rays, Lowe will get some national exposure. The slogan this year is let the kids play right? I’m sure Altuve will enjoy the time off for a great second half of the season.
Overall, I think the voters and players got it right this year. We all remember that year when Royal fans got out to rock the vote and elect each of their players on the team. This new method prevents ballot stuffing for the most part. Did people find a loophole? Probably, but I think you will be impressed with the talent you will see next week. Altuve was not snubbed, he lost out to the better player in 2019. Congrats to the Rays and Lowe.
Updated: Lowe just went on the IL, so Gleyber Torres will replace him.