The Houston Astros are running away with the American League West (and have been since the season started) and a lot of that is because of the play of Jose Altuve. The diminutive second baseman is very close to having a month of July that few have ever had. As of Wednesday morning, Altuve was hitting .497 in July. Almost .500. Half of his at-bats have yielded base hits and that is something that doesn’t happen very often at all.
In a sport where getting a hit 1/3 of the time is extremely successful Altuve has been dominant in the middle of the sports’ “dog days.” Hitting .500 in a month (with at least 80 plate appearances) has only been done eight times in the history of baseball. six of those times happened before 1930. The other two, Todd Helton in May of 2000 and Ivan Rodriguez in June of 2004 are the only modern day occurrences.
Other .500 Months in MLB History:
- Ivan Rodriguez, June 2004: .500/.542/.733 in 96 plate appearances
- Todd Helton, May 2000: .512/.588/1.000 in 102 plate appearances
- Harry Heilmann, August 1927: .505/.586/.814 in 119 plate appearances
- Rogers Hornsby, August 1924: .509/.570/.896 in 127 plate appearances
- George Sisler, June 1920: .526/.578/.763 in 131 plate appearances
- Ty Cobb, July 1918: .521/.566/.677 in 107 plate appearances
- Joe Jackson, June 1916: .512/.571/.733 in 100 plate appearances
- Joe Jackson, May 1913: .505/.579/.784 in 114 plate appearances
Altuve went 1-for-4 in Tuesday Night’s win over the Phillies, but that actually dropped his average below .500 with just 5-games to play in the month. Altuve has carried himself to actually closing the gap of MVP talks with Yankees rookie slugger Aaron Judge, who at the All-Star Break was the only person people talked about who could take home that honor.
With Altuve’s almost historic month he’s jumped his batting average to .346 on the season, and his +5.5 WAR on the year (and +2.0 in July alone) is best in the Big Leagues.
The Astros play the Phillies on Wednesday and close out the month with three games in Detroit before one final game to end the month with the Rays as they kick off a seven game homestand.