Monday, May 6, 2013

Jose Altuve Is Latest To Prove Size Doesn't Matter In Baseball

As I was watching the Detroit Tigers sweep the Houston Astros in a four game series last weekend, I had an observation.  Well, besides the obvious one in the difference of quality between the two teams. I noticed the physical difference of the best player for each time.  For the Tigers, the star of stars is Miguel Cabrera and for Houston, their star is a fellow Venezuelan in Jose Altuve. Cabrera, who is 6'4" and 240 lbs,  is a bit bigger than the average ballplayer, while Altuve is much smaller at 5'5" and 175 lbs.
2013 Topps

Cabrera, the reigning AL MVP and baseball's first triple crown winner since 1967, has become one of the best players in the league and is heading towards Cooperstown.  Altuve isn't just a good player on a bad team.  He has become one of the better 2nd basemen in the majors. He made his first All Star game appearance in 2012 in his first full season in majors and is on his way to his second selection this year as he in top five in AL in hits.
Jose Altuve has also become bit of a cult hero in Houston as an altuve has become an unit of measure. For example, how many altuves did that home run travel?  And has own it's website:
Altuve is not the only small statured player to excel in the majors. Tim Collins at 5'7" has been a mainstay in the Kansas City bullpen for last three seasons, San Francisco's Tim Lincecum(5'10") has won two Cy Young awards and Boston's Dustin Pedroia(5'8") is a former AL MVP.
While other sports put an emphasis on player's physique or speed when signing them to contract such as the NFL with it's predraft workout combines, MLB pays attention to these measureables, but doesn't put much emphasis in them. Baseball history is full of different body types and sizes.  For example, former pitcher Randy Johnson's 6'10" frame, Boog Powell's large waistline or the ideal strength and speed of a Mickey Mantle. If a player can hit or throw a baseball, MLB scouts will find him and put him in the lineup. Jose Altuve is the latest to prove this to be true.

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