Houston Astros Prospects: Where Will Alex Bregman Play?
By Larry Manch
The Houston Astros will have decisions to make regarding Alex Bregman’s future position.
Alex Bregman, the Houston Astros #1 prospect, began his second professional season this week, promoted to the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks of the Texas League. A shortstop throughout his collegiate career at LSU, and through the 2015 minor league season, Bregman is expected to remain at shortstop for now. The problem is the Astros already have one of the best shortstops in the Major Leagues in Carlos Correa. Where will Bregman play if/when he is promoted to the Astros?
Bregman, 22, the Astros 2015 first amateur draft pick (second overall), isn’t likely to be promoted to the Astros this season, however, Houston needs to begin making decisions regarding his future position.
“He’s moving very swiftly through our system,” said Houston GM Jeff Luhnow in this March 2016, Houston Chronicle story by Jose de Jesus Ortiz. “I think he’s a guy that’s going to be here in a relatively short order…”
‘Short order’ could mean late 2016, or early 2017. Although Bregman didn’t tear up minor league pitching in 2015, he does appear to be on the fast track to the big leagues. Like Correa before him, who began last season with the Double-A Hooks, and was sent briefly to Triple-A, before making the jump to the Astros, Bregman could take a similar path depending on his performance and the need. The Astros are not going to rush him along. However, he could push the issue with compelling play early this season.
Correa, a big man at 6’4″, already an excellent shortstop could end up at third. Watching him play reminds one of similar sized men who began at short and moved to third, including Derek Jeter, Cal Ripken, Jr., and Alex Rodriguez.
As for the possibility of Correa changing positions, he told Climbing Tal’s Hill Editor Eric Huysman in 2015 via a telephone interview that he viewed himself as a shortstop long term.
Correa also told Huysman: “But I just like to play baseball, so I will do what the Astros think is best for me.”
With Correa and Jose Altuve manning the Astros middle infield for the foreseeable future, that means the Astros could move Bregman to third base. It is unlikely that All-Star second baseman Altuve will change positions – he is perfectly suited for second base, essentially ruling out that possibility for Bregman.
“The good thing about shortstops is, they can usually play third and second pretty easily,” said Luhnow, speaking of Bregman in a January 2016, Houston Chronicle story by Evan Drelich.
Even if Bregman moves to third base, he faces stiff competition. Astros prospects Colin Moran (#6 prospect), J.D. Davis (#12), and #27 Matt Duffy, who is already on the big league roster, are all in the mix for consideration to play third for the Astros shortly. Luis Valbuena, slated for a regular spot at third this season, will be a free agent in 2017; if he re-signs with Houston, he is an additional piece of the third base puzzle.
The Houston Astros have something they have rarely enjoyed throughout their history: depth at many positions. Some of these prospects may not pan out, and some could be traded or, in Valbuena’s case, possibly lost to free agency, narrowing the competition for the third base spot.
Editor’s note: In an article by Jake Kaplan, the Astros decided to have Bregman
skip Lancaster because hitters tend to develop bad habits there trying to hit the long ball. Instead, they wanted him at Corpus Christi. They know he may struggle a little with the jump, but they prefer that to Lancaster. Good luck Alex!
Next: Houston Astros: Chris Devenski Called Up to Replace Michael Feliz
Obviously, we will have to wait and see how it all works out. It appears though, that the Astros will very soon need to give Bregman opportunities at third base. When he does get the call up to the Major Leagues, he needs to be ready to play wherever the Astros need him.