This stems from his involvement with the team’s sign-stealing scandal from their 2017 championship season.
In his first eight years in the MLB, he was easily one of the best and most consistent hitters.
José Altuve 1st inning HR 🔥
— Bleacher Report MLB (@BR_MLB) October 11, 2020
However, he has steadily declined the past two seasons.
This culminated into an abysmal 2020.
While it was shortened due to COVID, Altuve was far below average.
In 48 games, he hit just .219 and made numerous mistakes at second.
This led many to begin questioning his spot among the best players at his position.
However, in doing this, people overlooked what he has accomplished so far.
With this in mind, he still deserves to be included in the conversation of the league’s best second baseman.
Here are three reasons that Altuve isn’t overrated.
1. 2020 Was An Anomaly
Looking at Alutve’s career, it is hard to deny his talent.
From 2014-2018, you could argue that he was the best second baseman in the entire league.
A teenage Jose Altuve was once cut from an Astros tryout because he was too short.
Then, he signed as an undrafted FA with a signing bonus of only $15K.
Now, the 2017 AL MVP has led Houston to another World Series as ALCS MVP ✊ pic.twitter.com/DUYTbxFehE
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 20, 2019
Over this period, he led the MLB in batting average three times.
He also led the league in hits in four straight seasons.
On top of this, he had six straight seasons with 30-plus steals, including 56 in 2014.
He added an MVP award to his trophy case in 2017 as well.
Of course, many disregard the award because of the sign-stealing during that season.
While his batting average dropped in 2019, his power numbers took a substantial leap forward.
In just 124 games, he set a career high in home runs with 31.
The 2020 season also has to be taken with a grain of salt, as many of the game’s best players struggled with the protocols and changes to the norms.
Because of this, it is reasonable to assume that Altuve will return to form in 2021.
2. Altuve Dominated the 2020 Posteason
While Altuve had a forgettable regular season, he was amazing in the playoffs.
José Altuve hit two 1st-inning homers in the 2020 regular season.
He has three in four ALCS games.
— The Athletic MLB (@TheAthleticMLB) October 15, 2020
He was the core of the Astros lineup that was close to another World Series appearance.
While he didn’t register a hit in the Wild Card series, he broke out over the next 11 games.
In the ALDS against the Oakland Athletics, he hit .400 with two home runs.
He followed this up with a massive .462 average and three home runs in their seven game ALCS against the Tampa Bay Rays.
These performances largely flew under the radar as the Astros lost their series to the Rays.
The biggest worry about his play were his struggles defensively, something that overshadowed his offensive contributions.
However, his performance at the plate proves that Altuve still has the ability to return to an MVP level.
He was able to end the season on a major high note, and it is something that he can carry into next season.
3. Hyper-Criticism Following Cheating Scandal
Following the revelations of the Astros 2017 sign-stealing scandals, Altuve was placed under a microscope.
Fans and players around the MLB were looking for him to struggle.
They fed off this at every turn during the season.
This caused the public opinion to turn on him every time he made a mistake.
The reality is that many people have forgotten just how good Altuve can be.
— Daren Willman (@darenw) September 15, 2019
Much of the narrative around Altuve has shifted from him being a fun player to watch to being despised.
Many people will now watch him and refuse that he is good.
While this is certainly deserved, it is also worth realizing that he is just three years removed from winning an MVP.
He also still put-up solid numbers in 2018 and 2019.
While his size and frame may not age well, his track record and performance in the playoffs this year suggest that he still has the talent.
The public perception surrounding him may be setting up a major comeback season, as he now has something to prove.
It will be interesting to see how he responds in this season and if he can return to form in 2021.
However, as of now, he isn’t an overrated player.