The Legend of Jose Altuve

By R.J. Anderson //

On Tuesday night, the Astros traded Jeff Keppinger to the Giants for two relief prospects. While the move looks more significant for the Giants, in Houston it opens the door for Jose Altuve. It’s possible you’ve never heard of the 21-year-old Altuve, as he isn’t a top prospect—not even within Houston’s system—but you probably will remember his sight for years to come, as he stands just 5-foot-7.

Altuve, who started the season in High-A, is jumping to the majors from Double-A because all he has done in the minors is hit. He hit .408/.451/.606 with High-A Lancaster, then .361/.388/.569 with Double-A Corpus Christi. Double-A is often said to be the level of the minors where the men are separated from the boys, and Altuve has played like a man, even if he looks like a boy. Therein lies the tricky part of analyzing whether or not to add Altuve to your fantasy team: there aren’t many comparables or precedents for a player of his size making the majors.

If Altuve is to find success in the majors it will come with his bat. His fielding is okay, but nothing special, and he is just 24 for 38 in steal attempts this season, which leaves a lot to be desired. Brad Mills has said Altuve is his second baseman, though, so the playing time should be ample down the stretch. For that reason, Altuve might be worth the add, if only to avoid feeling regret should he really take the league by storm. Otherwise, if you just must have Altuve and have a free bench spot, take a conservative approach to plugging him into your lineup. It’s difficult to say just how he will perform in the early goings, but if his past is any indication, the guy will hit a little.

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