Jose Altuve

Source: iOne Creative / iOne Creative

While a certain New York Yankee with the last name Judge may be getting a ton of praise for his performance this year, there’s a certain Houston Astro right on his heels when it comes to the MVP race.

Enter Jose Altuve. The Venezuelan-born five-time All-Star has been making a name for himself since becoming a mainstay on the Astros roster as the team preps for a deep playoff run. With accolades already under his belt and plenty more in reach, Altuve needs to be on your radar. Peep five fast facts about the All-Star.

He’s The Shortest Player In The League

Standing tall at 5’6,’’ Jose Altuve is the shortest active MLB player in the league and was initially cut from the Houston Astros because he was too short. Back in 2012 Altuve faced Mets relief pitcher Jon Rauch, the tallest player on any roster. The height differential was believed to be the highest between pitcher and batter. Oh, and Altuve is a second baseman, but you can still get those short stop jokes off if need be.

He’s Already Breaking Records

Though he may be short in stature, he’s been big in production for the Houston Astros. Altuve became the first player in history to lead either league outright in hits in four consecutive seasons. His hitting is so consistent that during his seven-year career, he’s had 358 multi-hit games. In 2014 he also became the first player in over 80 years to get 140 hits and 40 stolen bases— all before July’s All-Star game.

He’s rivaling Aaron Judge for American League MVP

If Altuve wins the American League MVP, he will be one of the least likely honorees in recent history. He would also be holding down for his OG home team as the second Venezuelan to be league MVP after Miguel Cabrera. He’s told ESPN that “[his] country would appreciate it more, in a team where there are Venezuelans who are doing so well,” name dropping Marwin Gonzalez, as someone who is having one of the best seasons for a utility player.

“I think our homeland of Venezuela it would be big for us to win a World Series, and we’re working hard toward that,” he said.

He’s Being Compared to Houston Astros Legend Craig Biggio

The shortstop is the second-greatest player in Astros history, only second to Craig Biggio. In his own five seasons, he’s only (Wins Above Replacement) WAR shy of Biggio’s first five seasons. Right now, he’s on a 12-WAR pace which could be one of the greatest seasons in the history of baseball, past the Astros and Biggio alone.

“There’s certain people you meet, and you like who they are and what they stand for and the way they go about their business, and he was one-off the bat that I was a fan of,” Biggio said to MLB.com. “Then you go, ‘He’s 5-foot-6, and hopefully this thing works out,’ and it has. That’s why I’m a big fan of his.”

He’s The First Player to Play On Both All-Star Teams

As if Altuve hasn’t broken enough records, he also became the first player to represent a team in the All-Star Game in different leagues. In 2012 he played for the Astros in the National League season in 2012. Then in 2014 he was voted as the American League’s starting second baseman. That season continued to cement him as a certified talent as he also became the first Astro to win a batting title. And how did he celebrate during the offseason? He went to Japan to play in the 2014  MLB Japan All-Star Series.

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