Could Bregman beat out Correa and Springer for second best hitter on the Astros?
The Houston Astros failed to sign the first overall pick in the 2014 MLB Draft, Braft Aiken. While the details are now history, there was one good thing that came out of the debacle, his name is Alex Bregman. Taken with the second overall pick of the 2015 draft out of LSU, Bregman made short work of the minor leagues. A little more than a year after he was drafted, Bregman was donning Astros orange sooner than we thought.
Following the draft, there were some that felt that the Astros should have drafted Brenden Rodgers instead of Bregman. Rodgers did hit 19 homers last year in his first full year of professional baseball, but, it was in Class-A. Bregman, on the other hand, hit 20 homers in the minors and eight in the big leagues. They went with the player who would be ready first in Bregman.
A powerful surprise!
Jeff Luhnow will probably be the first to tell you that they didn’t expect the power that Bregman showed last year. Bregman was always a hitter who has outstanding bat-to-ball skills. He could become one of the best players in this Astros lineup this year. We know that one of the top three players in the MLB plays second base for the Astros in Jose Altuve.
Let’s temper our enthusiasm, Altuve is the top of the class in the Astros lineup. Could Bregman top former first-round picks Carlos Correa and George Springer for second place? All four of the young Astros core are 27-years-old or younger. Altuve was good before the 2016 season, but he broke out his power stick hitting 24 homers.
A deep lineup.
Bregman is part of what MLB.com’s Mike Petriello called one of the deepest lineups in baseball. I’ll address this article more in a separate post. Eight of the Astros regulars are projected by Fangraphs to be average or above average. This is based off their runs Weighted Runs Created plus stat.
The reason the deep lineup could help Bregman is that he will most likely be batting sixth in this order. While there will be pressure for him to hit, he doesn’t have the weight in his shoulder of having to be the man. However, I think he will become one of the better players in the game.
Bregman was drafted as a shortstop, but he was able to move over to third base with no issues. He looks like a natural out there, squashing any notions of him moving to the outfield in favor of Yulieski Gurriel.
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Fangraphs ZiPS projection has Correa breaking out in 2017, hitting 27 homers and driving in 115 runs. After Correa’s mini struggle last year in his sophomore season, we really see the real Correa in 2017. It would take quite a showing for Bregman to overtake Correa and Springer. But he has the self-confidence to do it. Some people think being overly confident is a bad thing, but Bregman believes he can do anything.
When he came on Talking Stros last season, he said that he was not surprised for his power boost. He said that he trained last offseason to make him stronger. The projections are all over the map for Bregman in fantasy baseball. The ones that I have seen have projected 8-27 homers. That’s a big range, which could put him at the actual 18 homers that Fabgraphs projected.
His self-belief could also help him avoid the dreaded sophomore slump that hit Correa a little last year. He is projected by Fangraphs to have a wRC+ of 111 for this season. If the average MLB player has a wRC+ of 100, then Bregman is not your average bear. He has the potential to become one of the top players in the game, but Correa has the same attitude that Bregman does. This will be fun to watch!
***Stats from Baseball-Reference and Fangraphs***