Lexington Legends

Ex-Legend Jose Altuve in midst of career-best hot streak

Houston Astros' Jose Altuve, right, celebrates his two-run home run off Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Tim Lincecum with Carlos Correa in the second inning of a baseball game, Sunday, July 24, 2016, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)
Houston Astros' Jose Altuve, right, celebrates his two-run home run off Los Angeles Angels starting pitcher Tim Lincecum with Carlos Correa in the second inning of a baseball game, Sunday, July 24, 2016, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith) AP

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.

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