Jose Altuve is leading the majors in batting average at .343 and the reigning American League MVP. The Houston Astros are once again having a strong season defending their World Series title yet it seems that the numbers Altuve puts up on the board are often overlooked.
On Wednesday, the Astros second baseman hit two home runs on a night he was 3-for-4 at the plate in Houston’s 5-1 victory against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Altuve is incredibly quick at the plate through the strike zone so he is able to turn on inside pitches, making it that much more difficult for pitchers to attack a specific area attempting to find a weakness.
Over the last two seasons, Altuve has hit for a much better average on the road at .386 compared to home at .304, while his home run totals on the road are 18 and 13 at home during that same span.
The biggest difference between home and the road at the plate for Altuve is his strikeout to walk ratio. On the road it is even, while at home it is 2-to-1. He could possibly have a problem seeing the ball as well at home, or he may be a bit more aggressive when hitting at home trying to hit more home runs.
Before questioning what is wrong with Altuve when it comes to hitting at home, the entire Houston team is hitting worse at Minute Maid Park during the last two seasons than when they are on the road.
Despite Minute Maid have a reputation has being a hitter’s park, the park is rated as a pitcher’s park, although the Crawford Boxes in left produce what many call “cheap” home runs.
This season Altuve’s power has been less with just seven home runs through this point of the schedule, but his average is once again at the top of the list in the majors and he could end up winning the batting title for the fourth time in his career.
The Astros on Wednesday became the first team to reach 50 wins for the season at 50-26. They are facing more competition in the AL West with Seattle just three games off the pace, but have won 9 of 10 overall and 13 of their last 14 and Altuve plays a big role in that success.