Correa to Altuve to Whomever Spells Greatness

Carlos Correa, SS Houston Astros 2015

Carlos Correa, SS
Houston Astros
2015

Look. We’ve been around the block with successful and failed baseball blue bloods all our lives. We also recognize that we are looking at a couple of guys very early in both their careers, but we will say it anyway. It doesn’t take a genius to see that 20-year old rookie shortstop Carlos Correa – and 25-year old five-year veteran second baseman Jose Altuve – may just be shaping up even this early as one of the finest middle infields any club ever enjoyed pairing up on the same defense at the same time, from youth and still growing on their individual and joint play ways to a still unreached prime for both by age and experience.

Altuve is now hitting again like the little monster that won the AL batting average championship in 2014 with a .341 mark. His .305 mark through 7/29/15 is now only 110 hits short of the 225 total he compiled last year; his 9 HR already are 2 more than he had for the entire 2014 season; he leads the AL in stolen bases with 28 in 2015 (exactly half his 2014 total); and he is adjusting beautifully to the AL pitchers’ book adjustments made to him after last year’s breakout at the plate.

Correa is playing like a veteran at the plate and in the field. He already is showing hi ability to adjust to the initial adjustments that the pitchers have mad on him and is now hitting .299 on 50 hits in 42 games, with 9 homers, same as his full season keystone partner, Altuve.

On defense, the 6’4″ Correa and the 5’6″ Altuve are playing ball at an astounding level. No random “Mutt and Jeff” size-contrast pairing could ever hope to have played the way these guys play by instinct and natural ability. In less than a week’s time, Correa and Altuve both have shown us two of the most incredibly brilliant, and as Bill Brown expressed it last night on the ROOTS Network telecast, “almost impossible” individual plays on defense that some of us ever have seen completed successfully on a baseball field at critical points in two critical plays.

Last Saturday, Carlos Correa went deep into the hole at shortstop to field a ball that seemed sure of scoring the winning from third base for the Royals at home in the bottom of the ninth with two outs. He somehow managed to make the grab and swirling, gyrating throw to first in time to get the runner and send the game into extra innings. The Astros didn’t win the game, but it was to no fault of young Mr. Correa that they did not. It was the most amazing play I think we’ve ever seen.

Until last night.

Jose Altuve, 2B Houston Astros 2015

Jose Altuve, 2B
Houston Astros
2015

Last night, Wednesday, 7/29/15, Jose Altuve chased a sharply hit grounder up the middle that seemed destined for center field and a rally hit for the visiting rival Angels here at MMP. Almost leaping, he snared the ball as he stumbled to the ground in the process, with his body moving away from first and seemingly in no position to do any further damage  to what now, in a nanosecond, appeared to be shaping up as an infield single.

But no!

Suddenly, Altuve is lunging to another falling knee stand as he whips the ball through the air on a true, speedy, but short of the mark course to first. Kudos to Astros first baseman Jon Singleton here. Singleton scoops up the miracle throw with a ground-sweeping catch and the “seeing eye single” had been sent to the baseball optometry office of Dr. Altuve for a “4-3, GO” prescription.

I have never seen – any second basemen, anywhere, at any time, under any tougher circumstance,  since 1947 – make a better play!

As we already most recently discovered, there is a certain hallowed hall in the northeastern forests of America that honors MLB players who can do this sort of thing for twenty years. Let’s just hope that these two incredibly athletic and intelligent young men will be here to elevate the middle infield of the Houston Astros forever as the best shortstop-second baseman combination of all time.

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Altuve Play Video Addendum: Mark W. was kind enough to post this link to a replay of the Altuve web-gem in the comment section. Thanks, Mark! That one deserves a seat up here too:

http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=13343286

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2 Responses to “Correa to Altuve to Whomever Spells Greatness”

  1. Bruce Says:

    Great observations, Bill. Altuve’s fielding play last nite was a jaw-dropper. Bruce

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  2. Mark W Says:

    My son and I got to witness that play by Altuve last night. It was indeed a jaw-dropper. I’ll post a link here. Maybe someone could post a link to the Correa play.

    http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=13343286

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