Last night, Jose Altuve went 4-for-5 with two singles, a double, and a triple. It was the second time this week he’s come up one hit shy of the cycle—he would have had it during Saturday’s game against the Royals had not tripped over second base on his way to a triple—but even without the attention that would have come with hitting for two cycles in a week, Altuve’s month of June was impossible to ignore.
In 26 games in June, Altuve hit .420/.492/.620 with six doubles, four home runs, and six stolen bases. He’s been playing great all season, but June saw him enter that zone of baseball mastery we associate with guys like Barry Bonds and Bryce Harper, a place where all the numbers in the box score look a little too big and cockeyed to be true. Did you know Jose Altuve has walked more times than he has struck out this season? Did you know his 1.004 OPS is nearly 200 points higher than it was last season?
It’s that surge in power that has thrown Altuve’s name into the MVP discussion. He’s always been a great hitter, leading the league in hits in both 2015 and 2014, but he’s never hit the ball out of the yard like this. Last season, he hit 15 home runs in 638 at-bats, but he’s already mashed 13 taters in just 362 at-bats this season. And, by the way, he’s leading the league in hits, batting average, steals, and on-base percentage. The only player he trails in terms of fWAR is Mike Trout.
Perhaps as important as the crazy numbers Altuve is putting up is the fact that he is incredibly fun to watch. Tiny baseball players—Altuve is only 5-foot-6—are always a good time, and there’s nothing quite like watching a dude who is built like an MMA featherweight lace baseballs all over the field like he’s Vlad Guerrero. Look at Altuve put a Giancarlo Stanton-sized charge into this pitch (mobile users turn phone sideways or click here for video):
If dingers aren’t your thing, then watching Altuve leg out a triple on a ball hit down the left-field line should do it for you:
Jose Altuve is a little dude who hits the ball hard as hell and never stops running. What more could you want out of a baseball player?