Saturday, December 4

How tall is José Altuve? Tiny Astros star makes MLB playoff history among shorter players

The Astros have consistently been among the best teams in baseball in recent years, and few have made as big an impact as José Altuve.

The franchise’s second baseman has been with Houston since the days of back-to-back 100-loss seasons, and now that they’re annual title contenders, he’s showing off his immense baseball talent on the national stage.

Altuve challenges the typical characteristics of star players. Mike Trout, Ronald Acuña Jr., Fernando Tatis Jr., Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Shohei Ohtani and many of the best players in the game are over 6 feet tall. Altuve? Not that much.

Altuve has perfectly exemplified that baseball is a sport in which anyone, regardless of size, can be successful. He is one of the smallest players to ever play the game, yet he has established himself not just as the quick and defensive replacement, but as a dreaded power bat.

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How tall is José Altuve?

Altuve is only 5-6. He is tied with Athletics utility player Tony Kemp for being the shortest player to appear in an MLB game in 2021. Altuve, Kemp, Alexi Amarista, Danny Herrera, David Eckstein and Donnie Salder are tied for the longest players. shorts in the majors since 2000.

While Altuve is short, he is not the shortest to have a postseason at-bat or a home run.

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Hugh Nicol, who last took an at-bat in the MLB in 1890, was 5-4 and scored two at-bats in the postseason. He is tied with Billy Gilbert, who last played in 1909, for the shortest player to swing in the playoffs.

However, the shortest player to hit a postseason home run came in the modern era of the game. That would be Freddie Patek, who played in the majors from 1968 to 1981 for the Pirates, Royals and Angels. Patek finished his MLB career with 41 home runs and homered in the 1978 Championship Series against the Yankees. He was 5-5, and he’s the only player shorter than Altuve to hit a home run in the playoffs.

José Altuve playoff statistics

While Altuve isn’t the shortest player to make the postseason, he certainly stands out in another way.

Heading into the World Series, Altuve ranks third all-time in postseason home runs at 21. The only players with more are Manny Ramirez at 29 and Bernie Williams at 22. Ramirez is 6-foot-tall and Williams 6-2. both much more common heights for hitting home runs.

Take a look at this graph of his career home run totals, before the start of the 2021 postseason, by height (in inches), according to the Lahman database, and see if you can spot Altuve.

Seaborn – Python

That’s right. It is the highest point on the far left.

There really isn’t much precedent for postseason hitters as short as Altuve hitting for as much power as he is. In fact, only four other players under 6 feet have racked up double-digit home runs. The company is pretty good.

PlayerTeamHeightHome runs
Mickey MantleYankees5-1118
Justin turnerDodgers5-1113
Steve garveyDodgers / Padres5-10eleven
Yogi BerraYankees5-712
Jose AltuveAstros5-6twenty-one

It’s not bad at all.

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And this is not just a product of many postseason at-bats. Altuve has always been an anomaly for his height. His Isolated Power (ISO), which is a measure of the power gained by subtracting batting average from slugging percentage, is .261. Again, such a high number helps him stand out above other hitters of his height and puts him more in the category of hitters who are 5-foot-10 and above.

Here’s a look at the postseason career ISOs of hitters under 6 feet, with a minimum of 50 at-bats.

Seaborn – Python

It’s not until hitters reach 5-10 that someone has an ISO at Altuve’s level.

This is just a continuation of what Altuve has done throughout his major league career. Among hitters under 6 feet, he ranks 16th with 164 career regular-season home runs, according to Stathead, and among those in front of him, only Hall of Famer Lewis “Hack” Wilson (244) is as tall as Altuve. Nobody is shorter.

Among qualified players under 6 feet, Altuve’s career ISO of .154 is 23rd best among hitters under 6 feet, and again, only Wilson (.238) is 5-6 or less.

Altuve also has four seasons of at least 20 home runs. He’s just two behind Wilson by a 5-6 player or less.

So outside of Wilson, who played in the majors from 1923 to 1934, there is no precedent for a low power hitter like Altuve. As he takes the stage of the World Series for the third time in his career, he relishes the anomaly he brings to the game.

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