Baumann: José Altuve, baseball’s shortest superstar

From SABR member Michael Baumann at The Ringer on August 22, 2016:

On August 6, José Altuve did something he’d never done before: He got ejected from a major league game.

In the seventh inning of a 3–2 loss to the Rangers, the Houston second baseman took strike three from Jeremy Jeffress, then turned around to argue the call with home plate umpire Alan Porter. Astros manager A.J. Hinch couldn’t quite get out of the dugout in time to stop Porter from sending the four-time All-Star to the showers.

“He knows the strike zone as well as anybody,” Hinch said, “and he didn’t appreciate the call. … He never argues unless he’s right, and he was right, in my opinion.”

The ejection came back to haunt the Astros when Altuve’s replacement, Marwin González, grounded out to end the game with the tying run on first base. But the thing that got Altuve ejected has also turned him into one of the best two or three players in baseball this year.

“The pitches I’m swinging at now are strikes,” Altuve said. “If you try to swing at a ball outside the zone, sometimes you’re going to hit it hard, but most of the time you’re not.”

What Altuve’s doing this year is beyond the reach of almost every other big league hitter, and he’s doing it, more or less, because he woke up one morning and decided to.

Read the full article here:

Originally published: August 22, 2016. Last Updated: August 22, 2016.