It is no secret that Astros second baseman Jose Altuve is idolized by multitudes of aspiring baseball players. They look up to him as the undaunted leader of a club that won 101 games on its way to a postseason run.
Those same kids also will pay close attention to the infield model he created for the 2018 Wilson glove line.
Altuve's A2000 JA27 is one of seven Game Model gloves that Wilson Sporting Goods sells in its new 2018 line, which is now available at MLBShop.com. These were all designed for and by the MLB players who use them, and that includes Altuve, who is in his second year with a Game Model in the Wilson line.
"I think it helps me to make double plays," Altuve said of his game glove. "It does a little bit of everything for me -- double plays, backhand plays, one-handed plays. You have a deep pocket, and it's very firm. I really like it."
He not only has the luxury of being surrounded by one of Major League Baseball's most formidable teams, but also enjoys a substantial team backing from his glove-maker. Altuve has become one of the most valuable players on the Wilson MLB Advisory Staff.
"They've been supporting me a lot. They always are there for me," Altuve said. "If I need to tighten my glove up, or loosen it a little bit, I just send it to them, they give me the replacement, do what they need to do, and send it back to me. Those guys have been helping me a lot."
Altuve has worked closely with Wilson's glove team -- Scott Paulson, Ryan Smith and legendary glove guru Shigeaki Aso -- before and during this season to create a glove that's just right for his game. It is 11.5 inches, a crucial extension for his 5-foot-6 frame. That glove size is typical for middle infielders, but it also has some unique technological components.
This glove, inspired by the A2000 1716 model that Altuve helped create, features Wilson's new Chevron cross web. It also has new Gap Welting, a component near where the index finger rests, and these pieces work together to help keep the pocket area stable and durable. The pocket is also a bit deeper, so when Altuve has to make difficult backhand plays in the hole, he can do so. It is also just roomy enough for quick transfers on double plays.
Oh, and it is made in Astros colors. Altuve hopes to be wearing this one deep into the postseason, on his way to what could be a prosperous awards season as well. The Venezuela native is a contender for American League Most Valuable Player Award, as well as Best Major Leaguer in the ongoing Esurance MLB Awards voting process. Altuve finished the regular season with 204 hits and a .346 average for his third AL batting title in the last four years, along with 24 homers, 81 RBIs, 112 runs and 32 steals.
His consistency in the field only adds to his overall stature as one of today's best.
"It's been awesome to have Jose on our MLB Advisory Staff, as he's become one of the brightest stars in baseball," said Paulson, the sports marketing director of Wilson. "He's a true glove junkie who understands and appreciates the intricacy of a great ball glove, and he's been a hugely valuable asset to our glove team as we develop new gloves.
"We -- and kids on ball fields all over the country -- are grateful to Jose for his insight in creating some of the best gloves in our line."
Mark Newman is enterprise editor of MLB.com and a baseball writer since 1990. Astros beat reporter Brian McTaggart contributed to this story. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.