Did home run madness screw up Jose Altuve?


No one could blame Houston Astros’ fans if they felt a little off balance Tuesday. After Monday night’s 0-for-4, Jose Altuve is hitting .248 on the season. If that seems a bit unusual, it is. Working backwards from 2018 back to 2011, Jose’s BA after 29 games played has been .351, .297, .330, .336, .289, .322, .348, .322. The sun comes up and Jose Altuve hits and hits for a high average.

So what happened this season? After 15 games, Jose was on a roll with a slash of .333 BA / .379 OBP / 1.095 OPS. He had just finished cranking 6 homers and 10 RBIs in 5 games after hitting only 1 HR with three RBIs in the first 9 games. Since that point, in the last 14 games, Jose has a not so hot slash of .142 BA / .276 OBP / .541 OPS. He has three runs scored, two home runs and seven RBIs, but outside of the two home runs he hit, he has only 1 run scored and 2 RBIs in his other 47 ABs in that time.

It is pretty easy to say that the success he had for those five games in tattooing the ball like someone built like Aaron Judge has affected his swing and likely the pitches sent his way. Monday night he was lunging trying to pull even the most outside breaking ball without success. The Altuve, who could hit any pitch any direction and into empty spots in the field has been replaced by a pull-happy version, who also looks like he is in a hard swing contest with George Springer.

Has the team been affected by all this? Sure. They were 10-5 after his HR outburst and 7-7 since. Yes, they have had good offensive efforts at times during that period, but they have also had stinkers like last night and for most of the Cleveland series.

Will Jose pull out of this? It would be tough to vote against him, based on his record, but he sure needs to take a look at what he is doing and do something different.

63 comments on “Did home run madness screw up Jose Altuve?

  1. Maybe, but it’s still very early. He’ll figure it out. Tonight’s game must make Garrett feel really good! Only 1 hit!!

    Like

  2. Combination of pitchers being very careful and Jose getting frustrated.
    This whole team gets home run happy from time to time.
    Good to see Cole have a good outing.

    Like

  3. Excellent win. I hope Cole settles in now. I love Jose Altuve, but he can be somewhat selfish. He serves this team best by providing a .400 plus OBP and a high batting average. When he goes after the first pitch time after time, he gives the pitcher an easier trip through what can be the toughest heart of a lineup in the league. This is where we might start arguing again about putting him in the lead off slot.

    Like

    • One oddity I did not cover was doubles
      Altuve only has 3 (one last week).
      By comparison Yuli and Correa have 9, Springer, Brantley and Chirinos have 7, Bregman 5…
      Very unusual to have three times as many homers as doubles

      Like

  4. Altuve may be having a year of regression. On top of that he is in one of the worst slumps of his career. The combination of the two means his teammates will have to compensate.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Indeed Bill. And if he finds his way back to that selectively, he’ll eventually see plenty of pitches to drive out of the park.

      Like

  5. Well it does not appear to be pitch selectivity if fangraphs is to believed.
    – He is only swinging at approx. 24% of the pitches outside the strike zone as compared to a fairly steady 33-36% the last few years.
    – He is swinging at approximately the same percentage 68% of the pitches inside the strike zone as the last couple years – within a percent
    – His biggest problem is contact rate – he is making contact with about 63% of the balls he swings at outside the strike zone compared to about 73-75% the last couple seasons.
    – And he is making contact with about 86% of the pitches inside the strike zone – he has always been over 91% with this number

    Like

    • I guess it could be a partial selectivity problem – perhaps when he does swing outside the strike zone – even though it is fewer pitches – it is the wrong ones. Maybe the same for inside the zone??

      Like

    • Dan, he’s on pace to strike out about 120 times, far more than at any point in his career. So maybe it’s just a bad month, but I’d bet his spray chart, which I can’t seem to find, has him pulling the ball more too. I think he hit 6 homers in 5 games at one point. That must have been a lot of fun, but I sure think it screwed him up too.

      Like

  6. And it does not appear they are pitching him that different – he is getting about the same pitch mix as usual – in fact the % of 4 seam fastballs he is getting is up a percent or two

    Like

  7. Tonights game is on ESPN..and the Sunday afternoon game is on ESPN as well.
    I hope the organization takes precautions to watch for altitude sickness. They will need to provide oxygen in the dugout. I have had altitude sickness and it ain’t fun.
    Altuve will be fine….he can, and WILL right the ship.

    Like

    • Probably going to be common given there are multiple states where they can legally purchase. No commentary on that intended.

      Like

  8. One of Jose’s worst months, for sure, but not THE worst. Check August 2013 and May 2015. I don’t think we’re seeing long-term fall off, just a bad month. I’m with Becky, he’ll fix it.

    Like

  9. Will wonders never cease!! White got his first hit, and his first rbi!! Only took him 50 games.
    Yes INDEED OP….Alvarez *did* have himself a day! I expect three things to happen:
    Luhnow trades for another arm for the rotation.
    Josh James will be sent down to work on some pitches, and stretch him out for London relief.
    Tyler White gets “Wally Pipped” by Yordan Alvarez. Tony Kemp can play 2nd and all outfield positions….White can only play 1st., and 3rd (not well).
    Luhnow is in love with Marisnick….he probably stays.

    Like

  10. Tonight’s game plan:

    Perez: “ Let’s throw 2 curves down the middle of the plate while they are looking for a fastball. Then throw a fastball down the middle while they look for a curve. “

    Like

  11. If/when Yordan gets brought up, he should be playing everyday, which would likely mean both Kemp and White go. Kemps lefty bat becomes a moot point. Whites bat likley becomes a moot point. Thing is though, if Alvarez was to flounder, Kemp and White are gone for good. So I don’t expect to see Alvarez real soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Let’s see – after 7 starts
    McHugh – 3-3 / 4.97 ERA / 38 IP and his individual starts
    5 IP – 2 ER
    6 IP – 1 ER
    6 IP – 2 ER
    6 IP – 0 ER
    3.1 IP – 9 ER
    5.2 IP – 3 ER
    6 IP – 4 ER

    2018 Keuchel after 7 starts
    1-5 / 3.98 ERA / 43 IP
    6 IP – 3 ER
    5 IP – 1 ER
    4 IP – 3 ER
    8 IP – 2 ER
    6 IP – 1 ER
    7 IP – 6 ER
    7 IP – 3 ER

    If you take away each pitcher’s one bad outing – McHugh has a 3.12 ERA and Keuchel has a 3.25 ERA.
    Both pitchers gave their team a decent chance of winning in 6 of their 7 starts and Keuchel pitched in worse luck. Keuchel would have given you more innings (as you would expect with McHugh coming back from a bullpen year).
    I don’t see a reason not to give Collin Mc more shots

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Off subject here… Jose Altuve is listed as the Astro with the highest career bating average with the club. Now, can anyone explain to me, why Moises Alou, who spent three seasons with the Astros and has a .331 average for those three seasons, is not even listed in the MLB records as being on the team when batting average is considered? Other stats list him but not B.A.

    Like

  14. We didn’t expect Peacock to lay an egg today, but he layed 7 of them. Not gonna be the Astros day today. Good thing the bullpen is rested, they have a day off tomorrow before the weekend series in Mexico.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I loved my stros for 39 years, so glad i lived long enough for 2017. This team looks like they could care less right now, to many examples to list. I may eat my words , but CM BP ,not the answer in the Starting rotation.

    Liked by 2 people

      • I believe it is time for Kemp to go as well. He was exposed in center field today with his lack of height and range. He is, after all, a second baseman by trade.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Kemp is probably our 5th best center fielder. He’s certainly exposed if playing regularly. We’ve had a pretty weak bench so far. That will improve one way or the other. I think Peacock and McHugh will both make adjust- ments too. Middle relief remains my main concern. And maybe at some point Collin or Brad or both of them end up back in that role. Plenty will change in the coming months.

        Liked by 1 person

      • While we’re cleaning house let’s also think about, White, Stassi, and Diaz. I’m just not excited about any of these guys. Yes, I’m probably over reacting but we’re beginning to flounder like a fish out of water. I’d prefer to see McHugh and Peacock back in the “long reliever” mix with maybe a spot start or two. Possibly even tandem relief role. Just don’t think they’re geared for more than 5-6 innings or that 3rd time through the order. Also I just don’t get this rotating DH. For all the good things I like about Hinch this one goes in the opposite direction. We need solid #4 pitcher.

        Like

      • As Dan pointed out earlier, toss out that 9 run outing by Collin and he’s been a very solid 3rd starter.

        White, Kemp, they both need to do more in order to keep a job. At some point, we’ll make use of the minor league system. I think Diaz will ultimately provide solid offense. Stassi will be around for awhile. Stubbs is not doing much. Jake is almost guaranteed his job.

        Liked by 1 person

  16. I like Hinch too. But can’t we have the best offense and defense on the field more than once a week.
    Rest ain’t gonna help if don’t make the playoffs.

    Like

  17. I know I’m in the minority , I just don’t see CM or BP progressing. maybe a good outing here and there maybe. It seems they are really good for 2 innings, that’s awesome, middle relief.

    Like

  18. A couple of days ago MLB disciplined George for calling Angel Hernandez a few choice words from the dugout. I know what he said, and I *AGREE* 100% with George. Hernandez will ALWAYS be looing for a fight when he is part of the crew calling the Astros games. BELIEVE me….he is disliked more that any Umpire in MLB. He took the MLB to court because they wouldn’t give him a crew chief job…..he’s a tool and *nobody* likes him. I don’t know what MLB did to George, but I’d start a go fund me page for him if it was money.
    There’s an old saying….”.you reap what you sow”.
    The game it happened was at Minute Maid last week.
    WE NEED ANOTHER PITCHER!!!

    Liked by 1 person

      • Daveb…I didn’t say George got suspended, I have no idea what they did. Probably gave him a fine. Angel Hernandez has a real hate for Hinch and this team….that’s pretty evident, even throwing Hinch out of a spring training game.
        This Umpire has no business in MLB. He will continue to have it in for our club, and yes the best outcome would be to keep your mouth shut when he’s working your game.

        Like

      • Becky, no worries, was not replying to you. My point, poorly made, was that the league did not seem to think George making that comment about Angel was serious enough to warrant a suspension.

        Like

    • Well, first of all, George was not suspended. The league spoke pretty clearly in that regard. I was a bit surprised though. I thought he’d get three days, especially since his video was so apparent. George said the wrong thing. But baseball players have been getting spiked and hearing far more remarkable language since the beginning of time. The league does not have the balls to deal with a totally inept umpire. That’s the real issue.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. I don’t think the Astros will “clean house”. I think they will make some moves to set themselves up for the last two months of the season and, hopefully, the playoffs.
    This is one of the best teams in baseball that has played the hardest schedule in the league.
    I think the Astros will win the AL West by ten games or more.

    Like

    • absolutely agree op. we all ought to just relax a bit, understand we have one of the best teams in baseball, understand players and teams go through slumps, understand we have one of the best front offices and manager in baseball, understand we are only 32 games into a 162 game season and let the organization sort itself out over the next couple of months. we win the division by double digits and advance into the playoffs.

      Like

  20. Hi gang. I’ve missed the banter with you while I have been away for a bit. I hope you don’t mind me weighing in now.

    My issue all along has been with starting pitching. Not so much quality as depth. We lost about 500 IP of 3.5 ish ERA pitching between LMJ, DK and CFM. We replaced it with CM, BP and WM. I do not think it is reasonable to expect more than 150 IP from CM or BP. That gives you 300 IP and I think anything below a 4.0 ERA from either meets expectations. Based on Miley’s past I don’t think over 150 IP should be expected and I think an ERA under 4.0 would be considered a plus. So you have replaced 500 IP of 3.5 with around 450 IP of 4.0 ERA. That is a net loss and still leaves 50 IP unaccounted for.

    At the same time you have taken around 150 IP of low ERA, premium middle/ log relief innings out of the BP. So far we have not seen any makeup of that loss. The big arms in the bullpen has been mostly strong this year but you can’t continue to work them at the rate it takes to make up with the SP innings shortage and have a reasonably fresh BP come playoff time.

    CM is still very good 1-2 times through the lineup and BP is still showing the inconsistency that has kept him out of the SP rotation his entire career. Miley has been solid (not great) but can we hope for more than 150 IP?

    I see 2 potential solutions. Trade for a decent middle rotation guy or try to get a AA/AAA pitcher that can rotate in and keep the innings off of the #3-#5 slots. Best case would be to get CM or BP back to the pen to keep relief arms fresh.

    That’s just my 11 cents. I see problems with the hitting but until you can keep double digit runs off the board there is no need to add hitting.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s