Houston Astros second baseman Jose Altuve excels at a number of things on the baseball diamond, but there’s been one constant throughout his career — the dude just knows how to hit. It’s one of the main reasons why he’s been such a valuable player.
After collecting 61 base hits during his rookie season in 2011 (57 games played and 234 plate appearances), Altuve has consistently racked up more hits than games played during a full year of work. He’s appeared in at least 147 games for the last six seasons entering 2018 and has never finished with fewer than 167 hits.
The second baseman’s last four seasons have especially been notable, too. He’s won the American League batting title on three different occasions while leading the league in hits every year since 2014. Each of those campaigns included at least 200 knocks.
Since he’s been in the big leagues since his age-21 season, Altuve is already reaching certain milestones despite just being 28 years old. Tuesday night marked the 1,000th game of his accomplished career, a contest in which he recorded his 1,272nd hit.
It was just a simple single, but MLB.com’s Brian McTaggart helped shed some light on why it was significant.
Outside of remembering how ridiculously good Ichiro was during his first tour with the Seattle Mariners, this shows how consistently excellent Altuve has been at the plate.
To help drive this point home even further, McTaggart compared Altuve’s first 1,000 MLB games with some esteemed members of the illustrious 3,000-hit club.
Among the four retired players listed here, Rod Carew finished with the fewest career hits (3,053). The most intriguing comparison of all is with Pete Rose, as his 4,256 hits are the most in big-league history. This obviously doesn’t mean anything right now, but it provides some perspective on Altuve’s performance, along with the kind of trajectory he’s currently on.
The power hasn’t emerged just yet this year for the reigning American League MVP, but he still has a 109 wRC+ and a .320/.373/.347 triple slash through 83 plate appearances.
Altuve has built a reputation on being a hit machine throughout the early part of his career. As long as health stays on his side, he’s seemingly set himself up for a shot at joining Rose, Carew, Derek Jeter, and Craig Biggio in the 3,000-hit club.
And while anything can happen at this point, it appears there’s a decent chance he’ll be passing at least a couple of them before hanging up his spikes.
About Matt Musico
Matt Musico currently manages Chin Music Baseball and contributes to The Sports Daily. His past work has been featured at numberFire, Yahoo! Sports and Bleacher Report. He’s also written a book about how to become a sports blogger. You can sign up for his email newsletter here.