So it wasn't the greatest of singles, but it looks like a line drive in the box score and his cheap hits are few and far between. The hit was significant, though, as it was No. 200 on the season for Altuve. After two more knocks during Wednesday's matinee game, Altuve is up to 203 on the season. He actually picked up three hits, despite only two coming in the game, as a scoring reversal from last weekend gave him an additional hit.
Regardless, Altuve's 200-hit season thrusts him into elite company. Only 15 players in history have accumulated three 200-hit seasons through age 26: Vada Pinson (4), Lloyd Waner (4), Ty Cobb (4), Juan Pierre, Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Don Mattingly, Jim Rice, Joe Medwick , Hank Greenberg, Billy Herman, Chuck Klein, Paul Waner, Rogers Hornsby and Altuve.
Wondering about the Hit King, Pete Rose? He had 899 hits through age 26. Altuve has 1,033.
It gets better. Should Altuve rack up at least 200 hits again next season, he would tie Pinson, Medwick, Klein, Cobb and the Waner brothers with four 200-hit seasons through age 27 -- the most in baseball history.
Some bad news for the rest of the league: As we've noted several times this season, Altuve is getting better. He has already obliterated career high marks in runs, home runs and RBI. And check out his rate stats:
|Previous career best||.341||.377||.459||.830||135|
So the average isn't a new high, but he has improved his all-around game at the plate. The average is far less empty now that he's posting a career-best walk rate and all that added power. The .337 mark is well above his career batting average, so he's maintained his high-average ways while becoming a more complete hitter.
And he's still only 26 years old.
For those curious, Altuve isn't close to having the most hits through age 26 in history. That would be Ty Cobb at 1,600 (again, Altuve is 1,033). Of course, Cobb started playing at age 18 and Altuve wasn't up until he was 21. It's also not like saying "you aren't Ty Cobb" is some sort of insult when it comes to one's hitting chops.
Altuve can join Cobb, though, with another 200-hit season in 2017. Until then, he'll have to settle for being an MVP candidate on a team making a late playoff charge.