Would Alex Bregman have done enough with a full season to win the American League Rookie of the Year?
Alex Bregman provided a spark to the Houston Astros offense in August and September, but what could a full season have meant to the American League Rookie of the Year race? Let’s examine the possibilities.
A Case for Bregman
I think everyone can agree that the start of Bregman’s Major League career did not start off according to plan. After 20 minor league home runs between Double-A Corpus Christi and Triple-A Fresno so start 2016, the Astros’ top prospect was called up in July only to start 0-17 and 2-38 at the plate.
Bregman would bounce back, appearing in 49 games with the Astros in 2016, where he compiled a slash line of .264/.313/.478. That’s a good rookie season for a lot of people, but it’s probably not going to win you American League Rookie of the Year.
However, I think a more accurate portrayal of a full season of Alex Bregman would be his month of August. In his first full month, Bregman hit .274/.333/.479 with five home runs and 20 runs batted in. He was even better in September before missing a couple of weeks due to injury, but I’m going to project his season off his August numbers.
Predicting a full season Bregman
The Major League Baseball consists of six full months, about. Taking into account his September injury, the overall grind of the season and another potential injury or two, I am going to predict that if Bregman started the season with the Astros, he would’ve played about 140 games.
Taking his August numbers and projecting them over five months of the season, that would give Bregman 45 doubles, 25 home runs and 100 runs batted in to go along with the solid triple slash line.
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Tyler Naquin, Indians – His overall numbers look good, but most of his damage was done before August. Naquin hit .296/.372/.514 with 14 home runs, and 43 runs batted in during his rookie campaign but had an OPS of .589 in August and .716 in September and October.
Gary Sanchez, Yankees – Much like Bregman, an article like this could be written for the Yankees catcher who was scorching hot in August hitting .389/.458/.832 with 11 home runs. Sanchez cooled off a bit in September and October where he only hit nine home runs with an OPS of .833.
Michael Fulmer, Tigers – Fulmer only made one start in April but was a staple in the Tigers rotation the rest of the season. The right-hander started 26 games, winning 11 of them, compiling a 3.06 ERA and striking out 132 batters in 159 innings. He was pretty consistent as a whole but shined in June, going 3-1 with a 0.61 ERA.
If you combine Naquin’s first four months with Gary Sanchez’s last two months, then you have a ridiculous rookie season and an uncontested American League Rookie of the Year race. Unfortunately, you can’t do that. You can, however, for the sake of this article, project full season numbers from Alex Bregman.
When you do that, you have a two-horse race for American League Rookie of the Year between Alex Bregman and Michael Fulmer that values quantity over quality. I believe Alex Bregman would be your 2016 American League Rookie of the Year
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***