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Astros: Alex Bregman on pace for 40-homer season

HOUSTON, TX - JUNE 11: Alex Bregman #2 of the Houston Astros celebrates with Yuli Gurriel #10 after scoring in the fifth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Minute Maid Park on June 11, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - JUNE 11: Alex Bregman #2 of the Houston Astros celebrates with Yuli Gurriel #10 after scoring in the fifth inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Minute Maid Park on June 11, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images) /
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Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman is on pace for an impressive season.

Quickly, without checking, can you tell me how long it’s been since an Astros player has hit 40 home runs in a season? It’s been a while, since before the rebuild started, but Alex Bregman is currently on pace to do just that.

The last Astro to achieve the feat was Lance Berkman way back in 2006. The Astros didn’t have a single player hit 30 homers in any season from 2008-2013, and two of those seasons (2011-2012) didn’t have a single Astro even hit 20 homers.

But Bregman already has 20 bombs through the team’s first 75 games, putting him on pace to break the streak. Indeed, he’s posting some insane numbers so far in 2019.

Homers and Walks Up, Doubles Down

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In addition to hitting more dingers this year, Bregman is also drawing even more walks. He’s drawn 55 free passes this year, putting him on pace to surpass last season’s total of 96. By contrast, he drew 55 walks total in 155 games in 2017.

He also continues to be one of the few hitters in today’s game who walks more often than he strikes out. This incredible plate discipline and strike zone coverage allows him to post an on-base percentage 130 points higher than his batting average.

What’s interesting, though, is after smacking a major league-leading 51 doubles last year, he’s hit just 10 so far in 2019. Some regression there may have been inevitable, and it may well balance out in the second half of the season. It’s no cause for alarm, but interesting nonetheless.

Equal To Or Better Than 2018

The extra homers and walks have allowed Bregman’s on-base and slugging percentages to remain identical to last year’s marks despite having a pedestrian batting average of .264. He’s also been a little better in terms of fielding percentage, which has resulted in his WAR (wins above replacement) looking good so far.

Bregman has been worth 3.8 WAR so far this season, which is on pace to surpass last year’s total of 6.9. This would certainly earn him another top-five MVP finish, though it may be hard for him to beat Mike Trout for the award.

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Still, he’s been the team’s offensive MVP thus far, perhaps battling with Justin Verlander for the overall team MVP as Verlander climbs all-time leaderboards. With good health the rest of the way, Bregman could end up with one of the all-time greatest seasons in an Astros uniform.

***Statistics courtesy of MLB.com and Baseball-Reference***

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