Altuve has been bright spot during tough seasons

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 25, 2014 at 5:21 pm •  Published: February 25, 2014

KISSIMMEE, Fla. (AP) — Jose Altuve has been one of the rare bright spots for the Houston Astros the past two seasons.

This year, the 23-year-old second baseman is hoping his contributions finally help the Astros win.

"I think every process is going to be difficult when it's going to be successful in the end," Altuve said. "I think we're going the right way. We had problems with winning, but I don't think this year we're going to have that problem."

In his second full season in the majors in 2013, Altuve led Houston's everyday players in batting average (.283), hits (177), stolen bases (35) and tied Chris Carter for the most runs scored by an Astro (64).

"When you play at the level that he's been able to play since the day he arrived at the major leagues, it almost seems like he's been around a little bit longer than he's actually been around," manager Bo Porter said. "But he's one of those guys that from the moment he arrived in the big leagues he's been a really good player.

Houston's rebuilding plan is to improve the team by developing homegrown talent, and Altuve is an example of success. He was signed by the Astros as an amateur free agent out of Venezuela in 2007 and spent 3 1/2 years in the minors proving that his 5-foot-5 frame wouldn't be a problem in the majors. In 2011, he made the jump from Double-A Corpus Christi to Houston after playing just 35 games at that level and never looked back.

He appeared in 57 games for the Astros after his call up that season and hit .276, finally quieting doubters who'd long told him he was too small to play in the big leagues.

A year later, he became a quality defender at second base and hit .290 with 34 doubles and 33 stolen bases to earn a trip the All-Star game.

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