Tha Sports Junkies 101

The Year of Jose Altuve

Arturo Padavila III/Via


Baseball’s smallest man is playing bigger than anyone ever could have imagined.

Every now and then, a baseball player comes around and dominates the game in every facet.  Last year, Bryce Harper was that guy.  The Nationals’ superstar won the 2015 National League MVP by a unanimous vote.  This season, the American League has found their version of 2015 Bryce Harper, but he’s not built the way you might expect.

If he were a professional basketball player, this 5’6″ athlete would surely fail to succeed against huge NBA big men.  If he were in the NFL, he would probably best be suited as a waterboy; he only weighs 165 pounds.  But this player isn’t a basketball player, and he’s not a football player either.

Jose Altuve is a baseball player.  A great baseball player.

2016 has been Jose Altuve‘s year.  After leading the A.L. in hits the past two seasons, Altuve has tapped into a player that nobody thought he could.  Altuve is on-pace to lead the league in hits yet again.  He also is the front-runner for the batting title.  As usual, the four-time all-star is stealing plenty of bases; he’s got 26 in 112 games.  The most improved and impressive aspect of the 2016 season for Altuve has been his power.  After blasting a career high 15 home runs in 2015, he has already sent 19 baseballs over the outfield walls this year.  This newfound power has led to Altuve’s .572 slugging percentage that ranks third in Major League Baseball.  He’s like a Swiss-Army Knife.  He may be small, but Altuve can do everything effectively.

Whether or not he wins the American League MVP, Altuve has undoubtedly been the MVP for his team, the Houston Astros.  Headed into the 2016 campaign, Houston was being showered with hype.  2015 Rookie of the Year Carlos Correa was expected to be in Altuve’s current predicament competing for an MVP award.  Instead, the first overall pick in 2012 has regressed in his sophomore season, although he has performed more efficiently as the season has gone on.  Carlos Gomez has been a major disappointment in 2016.  Gomez was playing so poorly that he was designated for assignment by Houston.  2015 American League Cy Young winner Dallas Keuchel has not been able to replicate his success from last year.  But through all the trials and tribulations that the Astros have faced, Jose Altuve has never failed to come through.

In 89 games before the all-star break, Altuve was hitting at a .341 clip with 14 home runs.  It seemed as though the smallest player in the league would not be able to sustain his incredible success he had in the first half.  Altuve not only sustained his numbers, but he has gotten better.  In 24 games since the 26 year-old returned from his fourth all-star appearance, Altuve has hit .458 with an astronomical 1.203 OPS.  The Astros are two games back in the wild card race.

Whether or not the Astros make the postseason, Jose Altuve is the right choice for the American League MVP Award.  Could you imagine where Houston would be without their best player?  He might be the smallest man on the field, but he plays the biggest guy in the league.  His numbers are no fluke; this is the real deal.  Jose Altuve is rewriting the script that everybody else has written for him throughout his life.  The little guy isn’t so little anymore.