This past season, as Jose successfully climbed from Lexington to Lancaster and then went on to have a solid season in Winterball (LVBP) in his native Venezuela, the rest of the baseball world learned that Jose is a player to keep an eye on. In fact, Jose's name has been mentioned as a possible candidate for the rookie of the year award in the LVBP.
Jose was kind enough to agree to an electronic interview. I sent him questions and he responded. Let me just say that his English is leaps & bounds better than my Spanish. I have only edited his comments for formatting purposes.
AppyAstros: International players are allowed to sign when they are younger than US prospects. How old were you when you signed and what kind of adjustment was it moving to the Astros’ academy?
Altuve: I was 16 years old and I made a lot adjustments in the academy.
AppyAstros: Has the Astros’ closing their Venezuelan academy impacted the Venezuelan born players any? If so, how?
Altuve: I don't know.
AppyAstros: Every news story about you mentions your height. Do you get any motivation from people questioning if a player your height can make it to the Majors?
Altuve: Yes, I know every people that talk about me has to say somethings about my height and it's a motivation for me because I want to show to everybody that the short guys can play in the big league.
AppyAstros: You had a good year in the LVBP. What is different about playing in Venezuela verses playing in the U.S.?
Altuve: Is almost the same but I play with big leaguers here (Venezuela) and in USA with a young guys like me.
AppyAstros: What did you learn from playing in the LVBP this year?
Altuve: A lot things. Like I said before I play with MLB players. They got a lot of things that can help you in the game.
AppyAstros: How do you describe yourself as a hitter? What spot in the batting order do you feel most comfortable?
Altuve: I'm an aggressive hitter. I feel good as a lead off hitter or second.
AppyAstros: Second base is a key defensive position. What have you been working on to improve your defense?
Altuve: I have been working in my double play turn.
AppyAstros: You reported to spring training last February. The started the season in Lexington before moving to Lancaster. Then you returned to Florida for instructional league before returning to Venezuela to play in the LVBP. How do you plan to spend your month off before you return to Florida for spring training?
Altuve: Working hard and getting ready for the season.
AppyAstros: I once heard you and Jay Austin talking trash about who was the fastest runner. Has that issue been settled yet? Who is faster?
Altuve: Ha ha ha. I think he is a little bit faster.
I would like to thank Jose for taking the time to answer my questions. I am looking forward to seeing how he handles the expected step up to AA this year. I am pulling for him to continue to create a buzz about the short guy who can play in the big leagues.
Here are some links to recent scouting reports of Jose:
Scouting the Sally - includes batting practice video.
Baseball Prospectus - named him the 11th rated prospect in the Astros organization.