When it comes to usefulness and practicality, Twitter-based fan polls fall somewhere between preseason World Series predictions and whining about the results of the 2012 American League most valuable player vote.
But an MLB Network poll released Tuesday said much about the current state of Houston's professional baseball team. Third-year second baseman Jose Altuve was voted "Face of the Astros," earning 68 percent of the vote. Second place went to Craig Biggio, who received less than 10 percent of entries, last played for Houston in 2007 and is so far removed from the playing field he was on the 2012 Hall of Fame ballot. Fourth place belonged to Kevin Goldstein, whose honor drew quizzical looks and confused comments from MLB Network hosts. When it was confirmed on-air Goldstein was, in fact, Houston's pro scouting coordinator and not a player, the reality of the 2013 Astros possessing few – if any – well-known players was driven home.
To help familiarize the Texas region with their young and heavily rebuilt roster, the Astros are reaching out. Tuesday marked the second day of the organization's annual CAREavan and Altuve topped the list of players at the Competitive Edge Sports Center. The van the Astros rode to the facility in bore a life-size image of Altuve and the second baseman acknowledged his life and public image have become slightly different since making the 2012 National League All-Star team.
"Somebody told me about (the poll) earlier in the day. I smiled. I like that," said Altuve, who was joined by Tyler Greene and Wesley Wright, among others.
Altuve spent the offseason playing winter ball in Venezuela, teaming with San Francisco's Pablo Sandoval and the Rangers' Elvis Andrus. The Astros second baseman hit .336 with 27 RBI and an .847 on-base plus slugging percentage in 35 games. A minor hand injury made news during Altuve's winter run, but he said Tuesday he's fully healthy and there are no concerns about his hand heading into spring training.
"It was just a little pain – about two days," said Altuve, who focused on improving his baserunning and fielding during the offseason. "Nothing to worry about. … Now, everything is really good."
Jose Altuve quickly becoming face of rebuilding Astros
Houston Chronicle | Jan 23