Remarkable First Half For Jose Altuve
The Astros are going into the second half with a 3.5 game lead and tied for the best record in the AL. While the team is stacked, this has been in large part due to Jose Altuve’s monster first half, and it’s been in ways that we haven’t seen before. Below will be a look at Altuve’s first half by the numbers but also his big moments so far in 2021.
BY THE NUMBERS
First, let’s talk about the basics. Jose Altuve is slashing .278 BA/.361 OBP/.498 SLG and has been worth 3.0 WAR but doing things that we haven’t seen before from him. He is currently sitting at 20 HR and 55 RBI through 78 games. That would put him on pace for 42 HR and 115 RBI in a 162 game season. I don’t think any of us ever would have ever predicted that Altuve would be a 40+ HR player. He is homering every 15.8 AB this season. In his 2017 MVP season he homered every 24.5 at bats. On top of the career high pace for HR, he is also drawing walks at a career high rate of 11.7%. His previous high was 9.2% in 2018.
So far this season, Altuve has posted a career high in hard hit % with 38.5%. His previous career high was in 2016 when he had a 36.2%. Just for reference, the hard hit is calculated on percentage of balls hit with an exit velocity of 95 MPH or higher. On the topic of exit velocity, Altuve has also posted a career high in average exit velocity with 88.5 MPH. His previous career high average exit velocity was also in 2016 when he had a 88.3 MPH exit velocity.
Some of this improvement in walks and exit velocity can be due to the fact that he is swinging at the least amount of pitches outsize of the zone in his career. His O-Swing% (percentage of balls swung at outside of the zone) is at a career low of 28.5%. Altuve is also making contact with the highest percentage of pitches inside the zone (90.6%) since his MVP season in 2017. He has also been very good defensively posting a UZR/150 of 1.0, his highest since 2015.
Here is another statistic shows just how important Altuve is to this team. In wins he has played in (48), he is slashing .314/.409/.644 with 19 HR. In losses he has played in (30) he is slashing .220/.283/.268 with only 1 HR. He is vital to the Astros success. Altuve has also been coming up in the clutch. With runners in scoring position this season, Jose Altuve is hitting .345 with 1.109 OPS. Last one here…. if you are into leverage stats, Altuve is slashing .345/.400/.655 in high leverage situation. Just a great first half for OUR MVP.
Altuve has already had some big moments this season but here are a few below…
May 6th vs NYY
Jose was struggling coming into this game hitting just .247 with 622 OPS going into this game. It was also his birthday. This was game three in NY after the Astros lost the first two and the Yankee fans were letting him hear it. The Astros went into the 8th inning down 3-2 but with two guys on, Jose did this:
— Astros Future (@AstrosFuture) May 6, 2021
That was only his second HR of the season. The fans were really giving it to him for two days and this shut them down immediately. Since that date, he has hit .288/.385/.555 with 19 HR, 46 RBI in 58 games. This HR got him and the Astros squad rolling!
June 15th vs TEX
Coming into this game the Astros were 37-28. A solid record but felt like more was coming. The Astros offense struggled and went into the 9th down 2-1. With 2 outs and 2 strikes, Correa tied it on a solo blast to right. The game went to extras and the Rangers went up 3-2 in the 10th. In the bottom of the 10th inning with the bases loaded, Jose Altuve came to the plate and did this:
MVP WALK OFF GRAND SLAM!! pic.twitter.com/5wQuwZukP5
— Astros Future (@AstrosFuture) June 16, 2021
Including that win, the Astros have gone 18-8 over their last 26 games. This started a run for Jose where he hit 3 HR over the next two games. Another epic HR for Altuve.
July 11 vs NY
Last, but certainly not least, was the July 11th game against the Yankees. Once again, the Astros found themselves down 2-0 in the series. Even worse they found themselves down 7-2 going into the 9th inning. The Astros bats rallied to get 3 runs and with a man on first and third, Jose Altuve stepped to the plate. The following happened:
MVP!! ALTUVE!! LETS GO!!! pic.twitter.com/GQqaemQzI0
— Astros Future (@AstrosFuture) July 11, 2021
An epic blast from Jose Altuve, or as some call him, Yankee’s daddy. The best response to Judge and Sanchez’s acts after their homers. This ended the first half of the season on the perfect note. To cap it off, the Astros stripped Altuve’s jersey revealing that he did not have a freaking buzzer.
Jose Altuve. Man of many talents. MVP of Houston. The one who has been through it all. He is our leader. HE IS EL GIGANTE!