Around this time last year, Jose Altuve was in AA Corpus Christi, silently climbing up the rank, yet nobody really knew who he was, but nonetheless, Altuve was lighting up the Texas League. Standing at only five feet five inches tall, Jose Altuve, hailing from Venezuela was denied after his first try-out, why? He was deemed to be too short to play, but the young 16 year old Altuve did not allow this set back to hold him down. He eventually worked hard enough to be looked at by the Astros and given an opportunity, and he took that opportunity and ran with it, Altuve wrecked shop during 2011, starting his season at Single A level Lancaster, batting .408, 13 doubles, seven triples, and five home runs. He also had an On-Base % of .451, Slugging %.606 and OPS of 1.057, earning him a midseason call up to Double A Corpus Christi of the Texas League, Altuve posted very similar numbers for the Hooks.
The young 21 year-old Altuve played well enough, that he earned a spot on the 2011 All-Star Futures game in Phoenix, Arizona, where he played for Team World, the only Astros’ prospect to earn the honor that year. Shortly after the Futures game, Altuve was called up by to the Major Leagues from Corpus Christi, skipping the Triple A level entirely, on July 19, 2011, making his debut the following day, and it was magic from then on. Altuve, just a month after his debut, hits his very first Major League home run, with an inside-the-park home run, running through a David Clark stop sign, the first Astros inside-the-parker since Adam Everett in 2003. The home run was the first hit of the first inning, Altuve is the first Astros player to get his first Major League home run on an inside-the-park home run since pitcher Butch Henry in 1992. He is also the first Astros player to lead off a game with an inside-the-park home run since Bill Doran in 1987. Al
In this season so far, Altuve has been leading the Astros and thus far, the MVP for the Astros squad, leading them now that J.D Martinez has fallen into a slump of recently, but Altuve picked up where Martinez left off, hitting .348, and having even over .400 earlier in the season. Altuve is nominated for the 2012 All-Star Game in Kansas City, he could potentially be the eighth player to be featured in the Futures game, and the All-Star game the following year, if he makes the honor, he will become the first Astros’ player to achieve the honor.
Altuve will continue to have his detractors who will look at the stat sheet, size him up and say, “He can’t keep this up.” No big deal. He’s heard that before.
He just thinks back to the conversation he had with the Astros scout who decided to take a chance on him at that tryout six years ago. “Just do what you know how to do,” Altuve was told.
“This,” Altuve answered, gesturing to the field, “is what I know how to do.”
And now he’s found a home in Houston.
– Richard Perez