Time to add another Astros prospect, this time, Alex Bregman, to a top ten prospect list.
Following first baseman A.J. Reed and second baseman Tony Kemp, shortstop Alex Bregman joins the duo as one of the top ten prospects at his position per MLB Pipeline. And the former second overall pick in last year’s MLB Draft carries plenty of promise heading into his first full season in the Astros farm system.
Per Jim Callis of MLB.com, Bregman is ranked as the seventh best shortstop prospect in all of minor league baseball. In fact, all of the top three picks in the 2015 draft find themselves in the top ten list with the other two being Dansby Swanson and Brendan Rodgers. The top ten list from MLB.com ranks Los Angeles Dodgers phenom Corey Seager and J.P. Crawford of the Philadelphia Phillies as the top two shortstops in the minors. No surprise there. Orlando Arcia of the Milwaukee Brewers, Swanson of the Atlanta Braves, Trea Turner of the Washington Nationals, and Rodgers of the Colorado Rockies finish out the top six before Bregman is placed on the list.
The LSU product will enter his first full season in the Houston system and should continue to impress in 2016. Viewed as one of the more polished players in the Astros pipeline, the 21-year old shortstop finished his 2015 season slashing .294/.366/.415 in 66 games between Quad Cities and Lancaster. The fact that he was promoted to Lancaster the same year he was drafted speaks volumes of what the Astros think of him as a player.
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The best attributes of Bregman and his hitting approach is the ability generate high bat speed and his thorough understanding of the strike zone. This helps explains his 29 BB/30 K ratio in 311 plate appearances with the Astros minor league affiliates last year. His hit tool grades out to be a plus tool, which further demonstrates his impressive ability at the plate. He also has the capability to generate moderate power, which may improve as time goes on. In fact, Bregman grades out to have average projected power.
From a defensive standpoint, Bregman is considered to be an adequate shortstop with the tools to possibly play the position in the majors. His arm is projected to be above average with an average field tool. And he is capable of making plays like this one.
While he is currently classified as a shortstop, his path to the majors is currently blocked by AL Rookie of the Year Carlos Correa. So needless to say that the Astros may have to move him to either second or third base as he advances through the system. And with Jose Altuve currently entrenched as the starter at second base, the former LSU Tiger will likely be transitioned to third base. Even though Colin Moran and Matt Duffy are currently closer to the majors than Bregman, the odds are that the Astros view Bregman as one of the main pieces to build around in the future. After all, he is currently ranked as the third overall prospect in the Astros system by Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper.
Regardless where he ends up position-wise, the Astros top draft pick last year will be counted upon to continue the excellence of the franchise’s farm system in 2016. Bergman has the tools and makeup necessary to ascend the ranks of the minors fairly quickly, and he may find himself in Houston as a September call-up if everything goes according to plan. And who knows, may a starting job on the major league roster will be waiting for him in 2017.
**Statistics provided by Fangraphs, MLB.com, and Baseball-Reference**