Tuesday, December 25, 2012


One other tried and true method for fantasy baseball success is our annual advice suggesting to use the middle infield positions of second base and shortstop as spots where you get a good chunk of your stolen bases.  Since these positions are historically shallow when it comes to power hitters, speed is the name of the game here and always has been.  One player who flies under the radar but who could once again be a big time asset in that department is Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve who stole 33 bases on a bad team in 2012.  The consummate leadoff hitter, Altuve combines his prowess on the basepaths with a historically good batting average and a nice haul of runs scored. 

In taking each stat apart, the steals are easily the category that jumps off the page the most when it comes to Altuve and his fantasy baseball stock.  Altuve is very young at only 23 and he will only get better and more aggressive when it comes to that statistic.  A run (pardon the pun) at 40 steals in 2013 is almost a given if Altuve stays healthy and that benchmark numbers is useful in all formats. 

Altuve is slated to once again hit at the top of the Astros lineup in 2013 and with that perch comes the chance to score a good amount of runs.  The big issue is the fact the Astros will have quite possibly the worst batting order in baseball this season so anything more than 80 is a bonus.  After all you can't drive yourself in to score a run.

Finally, Altuve is a guy who has posted .300 averages throughout his minor league days and he was above .315 for a large chunk of 2012 before a late fad.  His low strikeout rate and ability to generate walks will get him at or near. 300 yet again.  Combined with the average and steals, Altuve is a clear three category guy.

The big negatives surrounding Altuve is the fact he has little power, with only 7 home runs in 576 at-bats last season and the fact he won't drive in many guys leading off the order.  Altuve surely can add a few home runs as he matures and enters his power prime but this obviously is not part of his game makeup.

All in all, Jose Altuve is a vastly underrated and improving second baseman who will be a very solid performer in fantasy baseball parlance for his owners this season.  Again you want to fill the middle infield spots with as many stolen bases as you can and Altuve fits the bill as well as anyone in the game in that regard.

2013 PROJECTION:  ..305 8 HR 86 R 45 RBI 38 SB

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