Well, what do you know. We’re talking about Altuve — again.
I love this quote from Jose Altuve to Corpus Christi Caller-Times beat writer Greg Rajan, the first writer to talk to the Hooks second baseman following the announcement of the Futures Game rosters:
“I know everywhere I go, people talk about my size and (point out) that I’m a short guy,” Altuve said. “But I want to show them that short guys can play baseball, too.”
Altuve will represent the Astros at the MLB All-Star Futures Game on Sunday, July 10 as part of the World Team roster. Although he began play Thursday with a .372 average over 21 games since his promotion to Double-A, and although he has a Minor League-leading .398 overall average this season, it’s likely that the first thing people will want to talk about when they see the second baseman in action is his size.
Because Altuve is, indeed, short. He’s listed at 5-foot-7. Interestingly, in this article, Rajan identifies Altuve’s height as (a likely more accurate) 5-foot-5.
But judging from his comments, it appears Altuve takes his short stature in stride. That’s good, because he has better things to concentrate on — like the fact that he’s quickly climbing to the top of the depth chart in terms of talent in the Astros’ system. And that he has yet to play at a level in the Minor Leagues that he hasn’t dominated.
And that the number of prospects who play in the Futures Game who eventually make it to the big leagues is staggering. It’s not a 100 percent success rate, but it’s awfully close.
Clearly, we have few things on which to hang our proverbial hats in Houston these days. Times are tough. The team loses, a lot. But there’s plenty going on in the Minor Leagues these days, including promotions of some of the more interesting prospects. Shortstop Jiovanni Mier was bumped up a level from Low A to High A. Catcher Chris Wallace bypassed High A all together and was jettisoned to Double-A.
But Altuve is by far the most intriguing story line. He’s little, yes. He’s also knocking the cover off the ball in nearly half of his at-bats and seems unfazed by the elevated degrees of difficulty as he hops up the organizational ladder. This one’s going to be fun to follow.
The Astros will begin an extended, all-Interleague homestand on Friday with the first of three with the Rays, followed by three with the Rangers and then three with the Red Sox.
There are plenty of storylines to follow during that Boston series. Brad Mills spent six years as Terry Francona’s bench coach before he was hired to manage the Astros. Chris Johnson’s dad, Ron, is Boston’s first base coach. Heck, one of my favorite Astros of all-time, Tim Bogar, is the Red Sox’ third base coach.
The series will also mark Carl Crawford’s return to his hometown, and although he’s on the disabled list and might not be ready to come off before the Red Sox leave town, it’s likely he’s looking forward to reuniting with childhood teammates Jason Bourgeois and Michael Bourn.
My fabulous Twintern, Rachel Frey, gives this brief overview of the long-time friends and now-friendly rivals:
For Michael Bourn, the Red Sox series means more to him than being one of the most popular all season. It brings his longtime friend, Carl Crawford home to Houston. Their relationship was recently featured in FS Houston’s Spotlight on Michael Bourn.
Crawford is currently on the disabled list and could be eligible to come off before the final Red Sox game in Houston. Even if Crawford doesn’t end up playing, the reunion is likely to be special for both players.
Both boys grew up in Houston, and met after Michael’s dad Ray was scouting Carl’s team and decided he needed to have Carl on his team. Michael was eight years old at the time. They even played with Jason Bourgeois on an East Houston Little League team that won the state title.
Michael and Carl went on to play baseball at different high schools, and followed different paths to the Majors. Carl accepted his draft offer out of high school. Michael declined his, and played for the University of Houston for three seasons before being drafted again. Just shy of 10 years later, they ended up at the same spot: the 2010 MLB All-Star Game. Both Houstonians started in the outfield.
They went on to talk about how they envisioned the perfect ending to their story. To learn what each one of them said, watch the Spotlight special, which is airing several times before the Red Sox come to town July 1-3. Tickets for this series are selling fast, but good seats are still available.