Monday, March 4, 2019


While Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout once again was the consensus number 1 pick in most 2018 fantasy baseball leagues, there was a case to be made that Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve was worthy of such a distinction as well.  After all, Altuve was coming off what could only be described as a statistical bonanza the previous season when he won his third career batting title with a .346 mark; while also adding 24 home runs, 112 runs scored, 81 RBI, and 32 steals.  Also, while it seemed like Altuve has been around forever, he was actually just reaching his prime years in turning 28 that May.  So with Altuve's blockbuster five-tool ability well-established, those who did tab him number 1 overall likely didn't hear much of an argument from their league.  While Altuve was certainly fully deserving of not lasting past at worst the second pick in drafts last spring, the pint-sized dynamo actually had a bit of a tough time during the course of the 2018 season.  The biggest issue was Altuve being placed on the DL for the first time in his career with an injured knee and his 599 at-bats represented his lowest total since breaking in as a rookie in 2011.  Fewer at-bats meant fewer counting stats as Altuve came in at 13 home runs, 61 RBI, 84 runs scored, 17 steals, and a .315 average.  All five of those categories were sizable declines from not only 2017 but 2016 as well and there are multiple talking points to look at here.  The first is that Altuve's power decline is something to watch going forward as the 20-plus homers he hit in 2016-17 seemed a bit beyond what he was capable of given the advanced indicators.  In addition, any slip in stolen bases (Altuve lost 15 from 2017 to last season) need to be looked at closely given the trend of players losing some speed as they approach 30.  While Altuve will just be turning 29 in May, he has quite a bit of wear and tear on him already given the massive amount of plate appearances and games played he has undertaken since arriving with the Astros in 2011.  Perhaps the least concerning from this peanut stand was the average dip as .317 is still an excellent number and both Altuve's walks (9.2 BB/9) and strikeouts (13.2 K/9) remained right with career levels.  It very well could be the bum knee negatively impacted Altuve even when he did return from the DL last season and so a mini-mulligan could be given for his "disappointing numbers last season.  When you break it all down, we still think Altuve is every bit at the top of his game and should not last past the top five picks in all 2019 drafts this spring.
2019 PROJECTION:  .329 16 HR 84 RBI 115 R 28 SB  

1 comment:

  1. Draft is on Monday at Nationals Park— can we get a column of players who you absolutely need on your team?

    Usually we like Abreu, Matt Olson (?) what players do we absolutely need, and I am in auction format so are there clear cut value guys amongst the top tier guys ..
    I have a keeper league format but so as not to get too personalized am positioned well with Acuna Whitfield Nola Marte clevinger Seager


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