4 PM EST October 30, UPDATED
Matthew Tallarini, Chief Correspondent WORLD BASEBALL NETWORK
Eight-time all-star, one-time World Series champion, 2017 American League MVP, and 2019 ALCS MVP Jose Altuve has lived up to his mark during his Major League career. Altuve playing in his 11th season with the Houston Astros, has been a huge part of their franchise’s history. Jose Altuve was born in Maracay, Venezuela. Maracay is also home to major league greats such as Bobby Abreu, Elvis Andrus, and upcoming star Ezequiel Tovar. Altuve began his professional career with the Houston Astros when he participated in an open tryout in his hometown at 16. He was discovered by Astro’s first base coach Omar Lopez who was scouting in his hometown. Lopez has also been tapped to be the coach of the Venezuela National Team for the World Baseball Classic 2023.
Several scouts and Astro officials were not convinced about Altuve’s age until he came to camp the next day with an actual birth certificate. Former Major League player and current special advisor assistant with Houston at the time Al Pedrique, questioned Altuve’s ability until he excelled during the open tryout. The Astros would eventually sign Altuve to a contract as an undrafted free agent for $15,000, including a bonus. During his first professional season in 2007, Altuve batted .343 in 64 games with 243 plate appearances in the Venezuelan Summer League. Many advisors would evaluate Altuve’s progress from his rookie league and Single-A stints during the next few years of his professional career.
Altuve began to recognize the Astros vision that he would be able to be up with the ball club at the Major League level very soon as he took his talents to Venezuela for the Winter League season in 2010-2011 to play for Navigantes del Magallanes. In his first year of winter ball, Altuve would hit .284 in 166 plate appearances through 64 games. A few months later, during the 2011 season, Altuve would debut with the Astros on July 19th, just a few days after participating in the All-Star Futures Game. Altuve would start seven consecutive games with a hit to begin his career, tying Russ Johnson for the Astros franchise record. On August 20, 2011, Altuve would hit his first Major League home run as an inside-the-park home run. Becoming the second player in Astros history to have their first home run as an inside-the-park- home run since pitcher Butch Henry in 1992. Altuve was also the second player in Astros history to hit a lead-off home run as an inside-the-park home run to start a game since Bill Doran in 1997. During his first season with the Astros, Altuve hit .276 in 57 games, driving in 12 runs and two home runs. His performance would carry over to his second year of winter ball with Magallanes as he hit .339 in 60 games, with two home runs, and 35 runs batted in. Altuve would win the starting job at second base out of Spring Training as he began the 2012 season with the Astros. Playing in 147 games during the season, Altuve hit .290, with seven home runs and 37 runs batted in, which helped him receive his first all-star selection.
Altuve has lived up to his major league potential by being one of the best second basemen’s in the game. He played for Venezuela in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Altuve would split time with Rougned Odor at third base and second during the classic. During the classic, Altuve would hit .259, with seven hits and one run batted in. Venezuela would not qualify out of pool play with a 0-3 record during the 2017 World Baseball Classic with manager Omar Vizquel at the helm. Jose Altuve has committed to playing for Venezuela in the upcoming 2023 World Baseball Classic.
Jose Altuve will continue to mark his career during this postseason run for the Houston Astros. Houston will be up against tough pitching for the Philadelphia Phillies. The Phillies were the last team Houston had faced during the regular season, and Houston is still undefeated in the postseason entering the World Series. Game 1 starter Aaron Nola was the last pitcher to beat the Houston Astros on October 3, pitching 6 2/3 innings of shutout baseball during the final game of the regular season. Game 1 will be on Friday, October 28th, at 8:03 PM EST for First Pitch, as Justin Verlander will get the ball for the 2022 American League Champion Houston Astros.