Since 1938, only three players in baseball history have put together five-straight seasons with 200 hits. Astros second baseman Jose Altuve could add his name to that list this season if he continues his torrid pace at the plate.
The 5-foot-6 second baseman is on his way to joining Ichiro Suzuki, Michael Young, and Wade Boggs as the only players in the last 80 years to reach the 200-hit mark in five consecutive seasons. Ichiro holds the record for 10-straight seasons, something that doesn't seem impossible right now for the 2017 American League MVP.
Oddly enough, baseball's all-time hits leader Pete Rose never put together five-straight years of 200 or more hits. He was able to string together three seasons of 200 hits two different times in his career, but never more than that.
Another record Altuve can challenge for is Ichiro's five-consecutive seasons of leading the league in hits. Altuve has done just that in the American League for the last four seasons and if he stays healthy, can do it again in 2018 and possibly pass Ichiro in 2019.
It is so refreshing to see the numbers Altuve puts up at the plate. Not often does a player hit for an average above .300 (Altuve's lifetime average is .311) and reach 200 hits in multiple seasons.
One of the keys to Altuve's success is the leg kick and higher launch angle he introduced to his swing after the 2013 season. Between 2011 to 2013, Altuve had an average of .285 and was considered more of a slap-hitter.
By adjusting his stride at the plate — which turned into a leg kick — Altuve was able to time pitchers better and take advantage of more pitches that would be in his wheelhouse. The results speak for themselves as Altuve went on to raise his batting average 58 points (.341) in 2014. Now a batting average of .300-plus and 200 or more hits is routine for Altuve.