José Altuve has not had a good season so far. Through his first 30 games of 2020, he owns unrecognizable numbers: .206/.275/.317 with eight extra-base hits and 12 runs batted in. He’s recorded only 26 hits in 126 at-bats. But, hey, Altuve only cares about winning and he should get back to his standards sometime soon.
In fact, there have already been good signs. In the four-game span from August 19 to 22, the Venezuelan collected nine hits in 18 at-bats with three doubles. Unfortunately, after all those smacks, he got into a slump in which he’s 1-for-13 for the last four games.
It’s true the Astros need him, need his spark to win. The team has a 7-2 record when he’s recorded at least an RBI (9-12 when he hasn’t), that’s how important the second baseman in Dusty Baker’s lineup.
But Altuve deserves several chances to overcome his current situation. We’re talking about someone who might be a future Hall of Famer, someone who is only 30 years old, and someone who has won three batting titles in the last seven years.
We’re also pointing out a guy that is among the Astros’ all-time greats.
When you look at the team’s all-time records, you’ll see Altuve’s name in a good spot on every department despite having played for only a decade.
José ranks ninth in games played (1273), seventh in plate appearances (5596), sixth in at-bats (5111), sixth in hits (1594) and is only 54 away —before Friday’s game— from tying Lance Berkman in the fifth place (1648). He’s also sixth in doubles (304) and twelfth in home runs (131), but he should be expected to climb this category fast: he only needs another nine four-baggers to jump to the eighth floor (Bob Watson, 139).
As if it wasn’t enough, Altuve ranks fourth among best thieves in Astros history, with 256 stolen bases, just behind César Cedeño (487), Craig Biggio (414), and José Cruz (288). Among every Astros hitter with at least 2000 career plate appearances with the team, Altuve is the only one with a .300+ batting average (.312). The next two on the list are Hall of Famer Jeff Bagwell and former All-Star Bob Watson .297.
Also Hall of Famer Craig Biggio, a man who finished his career with 3060 hits, was the only Astro to ever register a 200-hit season until Altuve came up and accomplished that in four seasons. He led the league from 2014 to 2017.
To have a better idea, no man has more hits than José Altuve in the Major Leagues since 2012, when he played his first full season. He has collected 1533 smacks, 200 more than Robinson Canó (1333) and 208 more than Mike Trout (1325). How about that?
What I’m trying to say is that Altuve is good enough to overcome all of this. He’s one of the best pure hitters in the Majors. I believe anyone can have a few bad months, the thing is this is happening in the middle of the weirdest season in MLB recent history, in which you need to win as much as possible in a short schedule and with a stronger AL East.
But, hey, Altuve will be fine!