This Venezuelan wishes a Happy Thanksgiving to everyone!
Luckily, the 2020 regular season was just a stain on José Altuve’s brilliant resumé in the Major Leagues. Last year, he was unrecognizable at the plate and, except for a pretty explosive postseason, he didn’t find his old self at any point of the year. Of course, he was carrying the sign-stealing scandal anvil on his shoulders, which might have been a cause for his underperformance.
But with a friendlier environment in 2021, he was again the star we all know during the regular campaign and October. Everything went back to normal for the 31-year-old second baseman.
In his 11th season, Altuve kept building his status as an Astros’ legend. While his batting average doesn’t get to .330-.340 anymore, Altuve stayed as one of the most productive hitters in one of the best lineups in baseball.
José had the fifth-most extra-base hits for a second baseman (at least 75 % of total games as a 2B) in 2021 with 64, behind only MVP candidate Marcus Semien (86), Ozzie Albies (77), Brandon Lowe (70), and Jorge Polanco (70). He was first in runs scored (117), third in walks (66) and OPS (.839), fourth in home runs (31), fifth in hits (167) and RBI’s (83), and eighth in doubles (32).
Besides, Altuve was the chosen one for manager Dusty Baker to lead off after George Springer’s departure. And he delivered an excellent performance, being the spark of the offensive order. For you to have a reference, among lead-off hitters in the MLB, the All-Star second baseman was…
- 4th in games played (144)
- 3rd in hits
- 4th in doubles
- 1st in home runs
- 1st in runs batted in
- 2nd in OPS (with at least 115 games)
As if it wasn’t enough, Altuve set a new career-high for runs scored and tied his personal best for homers. And speaking of getting back to his best shape, he registered his highest mark in RBI’s since 2016, and in doubles since 2017. At the same time, he was indeed a better player overall, as you can see below…
- HR%: 2.4 % in 2020 | 4.6 % in 2021
- BB%: 8.1 % in 2020 | 9.7 % in 2021
- SO%: 18.6 % in 2020 | 13.4 % in 2021
- AB/SO: 4.9 in 2020 | 6.6 in 2021
- Contact%: 79.8 % in 2020 | 84.1 % in 2021
- WAR: -0.2 in 2020 | 4.4 in 2021
This Altuve’s awakening is as good as it gets for the Astros, especially considering the uncertainty in Carlos Correa’s negotiations. In 2022, Altuve will enter the fifth of his seven-year contract. We all hope he can maintain his 2021 success.