Astros Report Card: Grading the infielders’ 2019 season
By Brian Murray
In this second installment of issuing out report cards to the Astros’ players, I’m grading the infielders, and what a great group they’ve been this season.
The crew of infielders the Astros have trotted out onto the field the last few years have been a talented bunch. But this season, they seemed to have something special. They’ve become more of a tight-knit group, and in times of injury, moved around playing multiple positions quite often with seamless transition
They include a possible MVP, another that seemed to really come into his own this season, and one that fought back long and hard from injury and had a great second-half comeback. Let’s go around the horn and delve into the season of each player and issue some grades.
Alex Bregman: A+
There’s not much you can say about Alex Bregman that already hasn’t been said. A strong contender for the American League Most Valuable Player of the Year, he had his best year yet in his young four-year career. The scary thing is, he keeps getting better each season, year after year. I can’t imagine what we might see from Bregman in 2020.
Bregman slashed .296/.423/.592 with an OPS+ of 162 which are all career highs. That OPS+ was good enough for third in the league and his 8.5 WAR ranked second, just a hair below Mike Trout‘s 8.6. Bregman also had the second-highest wRC+ with a 168.
His 41 home runs tied for third in the league and was 10 homers higher than his previous season-high. Bregman topped the century mark in both runs scored and runs batted in with 122 and 112, respectively. That run total was fourth-best in the league and the RBIs were fifth. Bregman led the league with 119 walks and was second behind Trout with a BB% of 16.2%.
Bregman was a crucial player on the team during the periods that Carlos Correa was out with injuries. He played 98 games at his usual position 3rd base, but also played 61 games at shortstop. He tied for second in the rdrs (defensive runs saved above average) category with a 7 while playing his normal position at third. Bregman was a finalist for the Gold Glove Award but just missed out winning.
He was selected to represent the AL in the 2019 All-Star Game and was also named Player of the Month for August. The Astros recognized the importance of keeping Bregman on the roster for the long-term by signing him to a 5-year/$100 million contract. If for whatever reason he doesn’t get the MVP Award this season, I think we’ll see his name at the top of the ballot for years to come.