HOUSTON, Tx. – Astros All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve has reached several offensive milestones in 2014 en route to producing one of the finest seasons in franchise history.
Most recently, on Sunday vs. Seattle, Altuve collected his 219th and 220th hits of the season, giving him the most by a second basemen since Charlie Gehringer of the Detroit Tigers collected 227 hits back in 1936. Prior to Sunday, Rod Carew’s 218 hits in 1974 had been the highest total by a second baseman since Gehringer in ‘36. Altuve enters Tuesday night’s game with a ML-best .345 batting average, giving him a chance to become the first player in franchise history to win a batting title (Victor Martinez is 2nd in the AL with a .336 clip).
In addition to batting average, Altuve also leads the AL in hits (221) and stolen bases (54). If he holds onto those leads, he will become just the second player since 1945 to lead his league in batting, hits and stolen bases in the same season. The last two players to hold this distinction are Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki in 2001 and the Yankees Snuffy Stirnweiss in 1945 (Source: Elias).
Altuve is currently second in the AL in doubles with 46. With 221 hits, 46 doubles, and 54 stolen bases, he joins Ty Cobb as the only two players in ML history to reach totals that high in those categories in the same season. Cobb turned the trick in 1911 and 1917. Since 1900, Tris Speaker (1912) and George Sisler (1922) are the only other two players to reach 220 hits, 40 doubles and 50 steals in the same season.
Altuve has set a new, single-season record for hits in a season by a Venezuelan-born player, surpassing the previous mark of 216 hits set by Detroit’s Magglio Ordonez in 2007. With 54 stolen bases, Altuve is three steals shy of the ML single-season record for Venezuelan-born players of 57, set by Baltimore’s Luis Aparicio in 1964.
Below is a recap of the milestones that Jose Altuve has reached or is approaching in 2014.
* with five games left to play, Altuve’s 221 hits are tied for the 5th-highest total in the Majors by a right-handed hitter since 1940.
Most Hits By RHH – Since 1940
Kirby Puckett – 234 (1986) Hank Aaron – 223 (1959)
Tommy Davis – 230 (1962) Kirby Puckett – 223 (1986)
Joe Torre – 230 (1971) Jose Altuve – 221 (2014)
Paul Molitor – 225 (1996) Michael Young – 221 (2005)
* on June 29, Altuve registered his fourth consecutive multi-stolen base game, becoming the first player in 97 years with four straight multi-steal games and just the third player in baseball’s modern era (since 1900) to accomplish this. The first two were Bill Dahlen in 1904 and Ray Chapman in 1917. Altuve’s cleats from the June 29 game are currently on display at the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, NY.
* Altuve has set Houston franchise, single-season records for hits, multi-hit games and three-hit games.
* with 221 hits, 46 doubles and 54 steals, Altuve is second player in ML history to reach those totals in one season, joining Ty Cobb, who turned the trick in 1911 and 1917.
* with a ML-best .345 batting average, is vying to become the first player in franchise history to win a batting title (Victor Martinez is second in the AL at .336).
* currently leads the AL in batting average (.345), hits (221) and SB (54)…can become just the second player since 1945 to lead his league in those categories. The last two were Seattle’s Ichiro Suzuki in 2001 and Snuffy Stirnweiss with the 1945 Yankees (per Elias).
* 221 hits are the most by a ML second baseman since Charlie Gehringer tallied 227 hits in 1936 for the Detroit Tigers.
Altuve’s numbers in 2014 are similar in several categories to those of two past AL Most Valuable Player Award winners:
2008 AL MVP
Dustin Pedroia: .326, 118 R, 213 H, 54 2B, 17 HR, 83 RBI, 50 BB, 52 SO, 20 SB, 1 CS, .376 OBP, .493 SLG, .869 OPS.
2001 AL MVP
Ichiro Suzuki: .350, 127 R, 242 H, 34 2B, 8 HR, 69 RBI, 30 BB, 53 SO, 56 SB, 14 CS, .381 OBP, .457 SLG, .838 OPS.
Jose Altuve: .345, 84 R, 221 H, 46 2B, 7 HR, 57 RBI, 35 BB, 53 SO, 54 SB, 9 CS, .380 OBP, .459 SLG, .839 OPS.
Entering Tuesday, Altuve leads all AL second basemen in double plays (103), is second in putouts (261), third in assists (443), innings (1320.2) and total chances (714) and sixth in fielding pct. (.986).