Astros: For Alex Bregman, 2017 was just the beginning
The Astros had a magical 2017 season, finishing the season as World Champions. 23-year-old third basemen Alex Bregman had a breakout season, both on the field and off.
In the 2015 draft, the Astros had two picks in the first round. With the 5th overall pick, the team snagged current top prospect outfielder Kyle Tucker, a left handed slugger who figures to be the teams left fielder in a short period of time. Their first pick, however, the 2nd overall pick in the draft, went to selecting Alex Bregman, a shortstop from LSU. That pick has turned out pretty well for them, as Bregman has developed into a solid middle of the order hitter, and an outstanding defender playing third base for the team. However, the youngster may just be scratching the surface of what he is capable of.
Bregman’s selection in the 2015 draft was a bit of a conundrum to Astros fans.
The Astros drafted Bregman, a shortstop, on the same day that Carlos Correa, the teams top prospect and future star, made his major league debut as a shortstop. Correa had made it public that he wanted to stay at short, and quickly showed he had the skills to do so.
The Astros asked Bregman to learn a few different positions. As he advanced through the minor league system, Bregman played all over the diamond. Bregman played Left Field, third base, and second base all at some point throughout his time in the minors. Once he reached the major leagues, the Astros put the 22 year old at third base, thus setting the infield that would lead the franchise to its first World Series.
While Bregman put together a solid season his rookie year, hitting .264, and slugging eight home runs, it was 2017 that may have launched his career. The now-23-year-old put together a season stock full of defensive gems, big clutch at-bats, and on and off the field antics that endeared him to the Astros fan base. He hit a slash line of .284/.352/.475, slugged 19 home runs, carried an OPS of .827, and stole 17 bases on the season.
Not too shabby for the young third baseman, and we can only imagine that he will keep getting better over the next few years.
Bregman was not just an exciting young bat however, excelling defensively as well. Several highlight plays can be found of Bregman making big plays, including a certain crucial out made with is arm in Game 7 of the ALCS.
It isn’t just his play on the field that makes Bregman stand out. Amongst this amazing season, he really showed his personality and who he is. Whether it was his yelling at the camera during key moments,his wearing a jacket in eighty degree weather to the parade press conference and getting called out on it by Dallas Keuchel, or his desire to raise awareness on autism, Bregman always seems to enjoy life. He plays the game of baseball the way is is supposed to be played, with grit and fun.
Looking forward, Bregman figures to be a big part of the Astros franchise.
The Astros have a chance to build a dynasty over the next few years. They have a young nucleus of star players in Bregman, Correa, and reigning AL MVP Jose Altuve. They have a farm system that still ranks in the top 10 in baseball, and they have management willing to go out and acquire players needed to succeed.
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Astros baseball is going to be fun to watch for the next few years, and Bregman and his fiery personality figures to be at the heat of it all.
**Statistics courtesy of Baseball Reference**