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Astros’ 5-foot-5 hitting machine Jose Altuve goes 4-for-5, now batting .377 at age 21

Apr 25, 2012, 5:17 PM EDT

Jose Altuve AP

Houston’s offense is one of the most improved in baseball and sophomore second baseman Jose Altuve is a big reason why. He came into today hitting .344 with a .918 OPS and notched four more hits in a 7-5 victory over the Brewers.

Altuve is a really fun player to watch because he’s 5-foot-5 (on a good day), rarely walks, has very little power, and reached the majors last season after playing just 35 games above Single-A. And through 75 games as a big leaguer he’s batted an even .300 with 87 hits.

That’s a ton of hits, in part due to the .300 batting average and in part due to his hitting near the top of the lineup while rarely passing up hits to draw walks, but Altuve notching 87 hits in his first 75 career games is also a reminder of just how amazing Ichiro Suzuki was as a rookie in 2001. That year Suzuki had an MLB-record 120 hits through 75 games. Seriously.

As for today’s game, Altuve joins some pretty good company in notching a four-hit game before his 22nd birthday (which is next month). During the past five years the only other players to do so were Eric Hosmer, Billy Butler, Starlin Castro, Cameron Maybin, Elvis Andrus, Giancarlo Stanton, Jason Heyward, Jay Bruce, and Justin Upton.

And going back even further, the last second basemen with a four-hit game before their 22nd birthday were Jose Lopez in 2005 and Jose Reyes in 2004. Apparently being named “Jose” is the key.

  1. marshmallowsnake - Apr 25, 2012 at 5:22 PM

    So what you are saying is he is really 5’2″?

  2. Chris St. John - Apr 25, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    So far this year, his BB% is up to 9.7% from 2.1% last year and he is much more discriminating with his swing. If he can keep that up, he’ll be even better.

  3. dodger88 - Apr 25, 2012 at 5:25 PM

    I agree he is fun to watch, especially on defense. He made a great running grab deep in foul territory against the Dodgers on the weekend. Few others could have made it their on time and the best part was he ran hard the whole way.

  4. Gobias Industries - Apr 25, 2012 at 5:28 PM

    Well I’m going to celebrate this lil’ fella’s success by eating a bowl of Lucky Charms.

    • Utley's Hair - Apr 26, 2012 at 3:24 AM

      Wait…you’re saying he’s a leprechaun? Keep him away from Pedro Gomez….

      But the main question that has yet to be answered: is he scrappy or gritty?

      • 18thstreet - Apr 26, 2012 at 4:42 PM

        Oh, please. A guy named Jose can never be scrappy. Jose has a feel for the game. Great instincts, great athleticism. Scrappy? C’mon.

  5. stex52 - Apr 25, 2012 at 5:30 PM

    C’mon guys! Don’t give me false hope! Actually, I have already watched more games this year than I could stand in the first two months of last year. This group of kids is raw and makes a lot of mistakes, but they really seem to be trying.

    What a welcome change from that bummed-out, going-through-the-motions group that stunk up last season. If close games are an indicator, then maybe they have a chance to be over on the early season lines.

    It’s early on Altuve, but he certainly is a fearless hitter to date. Now if he just adjusts as the pitchers start building a data base on him. At least he should be hard to pitch low.

  6. sfm073 - Apr 25, 2012 at 5:42 PM

    David eckstein jr?

  7. bleed4philly - Apr 25, 2012 at 5:58 PM

    Love this guy

  8. dowhatifeellike - Apr 25, 2012 at 6:08 PM

    I thought the MLB had a height restriction. When I go to a AA or AAA game it looks two teams of 5’7″ guys who didn’t make the cut.

  9. jkaflagg - Apr 25, 2012 at 6:27 PM

    As Chris St. John pointed out, he is walking more this season, as a player his size should……With just about any other organization in baseball, Altuve would still be raking in AA ball while scouts debated whether he could overcome his lack of size…..but the lack of talent in Houston allowed him to rise right to the top and prove he could compete at the highest level…..

  10. danielcp0303 - Apr 25, 2012 at 6:40 PM

    While this Astros team won’t be competing for the playoffs, they have already shown they are far better than they were last season. The youth movement is in full effect, with more on the way. Martinez and Altuve will be playing well for a long time.

    • stex52 - Apr 26, 2012 at 8:21 AM

      I’m not sure how they will finish, but they are trying a lot harder. And that is a big improvement already. If the pitchers can continue to keep them in games, they might just finish a lot closer to .500 than we figured.

  11. mgflolox - Apr 26, 2012 at 2:53 AM

    Saw him at the Future’s game in AZ last year. I know it was only one game, but he impressed the HELL outta me. Seeing if he’s for real is going to be one of the highlights of this season for me.

  12. spudchukar - Apr 26, 2012 at 9:17 AM

    I added Altuve, the most recent addition to the “4-hit Joe club”, to fantasy teams last week, after tiring of waiting for Espinosa to blossum, and all he did was go on a tear. He might be short but he can handle the bat and teams are foolish if they think they can knock the bat out of his hands, plus he is a threat on the basepaths. Another great story in 2012 for baseball fans everywhere.

  13. bradmoss1 - Apr 26, 2012 at 10:21 AM

    “…has very little power…”

    I would question how many times the author has seen Altuve bat.

    • uncleknuckle - Apr 26, 2012 at 9:10 PM

      Agreed. .551 SLG, .979 OPS. Very little power?

  14. mungman69 - Apr 26, 2012 at 11:04 AM

    At that size he should walk more.

    • uncleknuckle - Apr 26, 2012 at 9:14 PM

      And a .429 OBP.

  15. siftin thru nonsense - Apr 26, 2012 at 5:13 PM

    Joe Morgan was 5’6″ and MVP wasnt he? Baseball is about talent & hard work, perseverance,not as much height… unless you are a pitcher maybe. Height helps with length leverage in hitting, but also could reduce quickness. Strength is also important. Many factors. Now if we are talkin basketball and u are not Mugsy Bogues or Spud Webb then ok, yeah, height helps.

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