The hottest player in baseball right now is not a superstar like Mike Trout, Bryce Harper or Miguel Cabrera.
In fact, he’s not even 5 feet 7 inches tall.
It’s none other than former Lexington Legend Jose Altuve, who is in the midst of the finest season of his major-league career.
Following a 3-for-5 game on Sunday in which the diminutive Houston Astros second baseman hit two home runs and had a career-high six RBI, Altuve is batting .408 over his last 50 games, dating to May 27.
The two home runs pushed his season total to 17, surpassing the career-best 15 he hit last season. With 64 games remaining in the season, Altuve is only six RBI shy of his career high in that category, too.
“I’m still impressed a little bit about my homers,” Altuve told the Associated Press.
The 5-foot-6, 165-pound Altuve, who played for Single-A Lexington in 2010, leads the major leagues in batting average (.360), hits (139) and on-base percentage (.428). Despite his small stature, he ranks seventh in the majors in slugging (.575) and third in OPS (1.003). (OPS is on-base percentage plus slugging percentage).
“The guy is a joke,” Astros teammate George Springer told MLB.com, speaking of Altuve. “He’s up there playing Xbox. It’s something special to watch, and I’m glad he’s on our team.”
An American League All-Star for the fourth time this season, Altuve has helped push the Houston Astros into contention in the AL West after a slow start. At 54-44, Houston is 2 1/2 games behind the first-place Texas Rangers.