The Astros best position player in 2018 is not among the usual suspects. Here’s a hint: Look at the leaderboards.
To start the 2018 season, the Astros had the reigning AL MVP, World Series MVP, and a highly talented All-Star shortstop. If I were a betting man I would’ve gambled that Jose Altuve, George Springer, or Carlos Correa would be the team’s best position player. That’s how good all three players are when they aren’t experiencing “discomfort.”
Alas, the game of baseball never works out like you’d expect all of the time. Injuries, or as the Astros like to call “discomfort,” are a part of the baseball life. That said, I don’t believe anyone was anticipating the temporary absence of all three to injuries at various points this summer.
Enter Alex Bregman, who has transformed himself into the Astros’ best position player this season. In the “Big 3’s” absence, he has simply stepped up and helped carry the offense. Seriously, his name is littered all over the leaderboards. Here are a handful of examples.
MLB fWAR Leaders
MLB bWAR Leaders (Position Players)
Mookie Betts – 9.0
Mike Trout – 8.2
Jose Ramirez – 7.8
Matt Chapman – 7.8
Francisco Lindor – 7.1
Alex Bregman – 6.9
MLB Extra Base Hit Leaders
MLB Times On Base Leaders
MLB Runs Created Leaders
Mookie Betts – 133
Jose Ramirez – 130
J.D. Martinez – 129
Mike Trout – 126
Alex Bregman – 119
Anytime your name is listed closely to players like Trout and Betts, well, you’re probably doing something right. By the way, the AL has some darn good players.
While he is still a long-shot to win the AL MVP over the likes of Betts and Ramirez, Bregman is forcing his way into the conversation. In his last 24 games, the third baseman has a .404/.491/.764 slash line with seven home runs and 25 RBI. During the same span, Bregman has a sOPS+ of 239, which represents OPS for split relative to League’s Split OPS+. Here is the definition of the metric from Baseball-Reference.
"“A number over 100 is indicates this batter(pitcher) did better(worse) than the league in this split.”"
Between his performance from 2017 and thus far in 2018, Bregman has made the Astros’ “Big 3” into a “Big 4.” Like Altuve, Springer, and Correa, Bregman will play a major role in the team’s success today and in the future. At only 24-years-old, we may have witnessed Bregman’s meteoric rise as one of the best players in baseball.