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Alex Bregman set to sign with the Houston Astros

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Chandler Rome Interview on Alex Bregman

Jun 18, 2015; Omaha, NE, USA; LSU Tigers infielder Alex Bregman (8) throwd across his body to make an out against the TCU Horned Frogs in the fourth inning in the 2015 College World Series at TD Ameritrade Park. Mandatory Credit: Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

CTH: What is your overall impression of Alex Bregman?

Rome: Alex is a baseball nut. A guy who has a plus-instinct and a baseball IQ through the roof. His 38 steals at LSU this year are misleading — he is not the fastest guy on the team — but he was by far the smartest and savviest on the diamond. His defense was always there, it just took time to develop, and when it did it was spectacular. His junior season was by far his best defensively and showed many skeptics that he can, in fact, play shortstop at the major league level.

His range is immeasurable, and he has a plus arm at short. He does seem to rush defensive plays to a point — though it hardly ever matters. As the premier guy in LSU’s lineup, he was often either pitched around or thrown a steady diet of offspeed pitches, which he struggled with at times. He suffered a horrible slump his sophomore season that left both him and the LSU lineup upset, but he is still a guy that can get on base regularly. Once he is there, he lets his IQ and instinct take over.

CTH: What is his best asset as a baseball player?

Rome: Though I talked about it so much above, it is not his baseball IQ and instinct. It is his work ethic. This guy was notorious for waking his roommates up in early hours of the morning to go take ground balls or hit in the cage. He was often seen after midweek games coming out under the lights to take ground balls at shortstop.

LSU coach Paul Mainieri often joked to me that he gave Alex the keys to the stadium. He was not kidding. The lights were often on late at night or early in the morning, and it was always Bregman getting work in. He is got a work ethic, unlike any athlete I have ever seen or covered.

CTH: As someone who watched him regularly, what’s his timeline to be ready?

Rome: I do not think he’ll toil long, but I also don’t think he’ll skyrocket up to the bigs. I think he’ll need to adjust to big league pitching and figure out where he fits in the Houston farm system as far as defense goes. Mike Elias and Paul Mainieri both called Bregman one of the more polished college players they’d ever seen — and I would agree with both of them — but he’s got a few little things to work out before I think he’s truly Major League ready.

CTH: Does he have the arm to handle third base?

Rome: Yes. The arm is there. He was a catcher in high school, so he is used to gunning out to second and third. I think if he moves to third, the thing he’d need to adjust to would be reaction time — grounders to third are a ton faster and sharper than grounders to short. Though, with his IQ, I am not sure he would need much time to get that done.

CTH: Does he profile as a gap hitter or medium power guy?

Rome:  A medium power guy. He never tore up home runs or extra base hits in college. He did, though, use his instincts to stretch routine singles to doubles and put pressure on outfielders or other defensive players who fielded his hits. Don’t get me wrong, he’s got power, but he profiles more as a medium power guy that can wreak havoc on the basepaths.

CTH: What MLB player would be a good comparison of him?

Rome: The obvious choice, and someone that Paul Mainieri regularly compares him to, is Dustin Pedroia. A below-average height guy with a high baseball IQ that can just rely on work ethic, toughness and grittiness to have a successful career.

Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions Chandler, you can read his stuff at MLB.com or follow him on Twitter at @Chandler_Rome. Welcome to the Houston Astros organization Alex Bregman, look forward to seeing you in action in the future.

Next: The Frustrating and Amazing Luis Valbuena for the Astros

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