Where Has Alex Bregman Gone?
By Alec Brown
Alex Bregman's career has been rather enigmatic. Bregman was a role player on the 2017 World Champion Astros, though he did author one of the biggest hits in franchise history with his walk-off in Game 5 of the World Series.
From 2018-2019, he was one of the two best hitters on the planet. He was simply impossible to get out, and also bashed 71 home runs across the two seasons.
From 2020-2021, injuries impacted Breggy's mechanics, turning him into a slightly above-average big league hitter. It's no coincidence that the Astros got back over the hump and won the World Series in 2022 when the Bregman of old returned.
Bregman posted an .820 OPS last season, but his second half in particular was tremendous, batting .287 with an .894 OPS. He went to another level in the postseason, hitting .294 with three home runs and a .948 OPS.
With Bregman back to full health, hopes were high he'd author a borderline MVP-caliber season.
He's done anything but.
One-third of the way through the season, Bregman is hitting an anemic .219 with a .684 OPS, both well below league-average marks. His .326 OPS is his lowest since he debuted in late 2016. His .358 slugging is 64 points lower than the second-worst mark of his career.
He has been somewhat unlucky this season, posting an unsustainably low .219 BABIP. But bad luck isn't the entire story.
On April 18th, I penned that Bregman's breakout was coming. At the time, Bregman was hitting only .197, but his xwOBA was in the 77th percentile and his xSLG sat at .468.
Since that time, his xwOBA is down to the 60th percentile and his xSLG is down to .412. He did get off to a very unlucky start to begin the season, but according to Statcast, over his last 50 plate appearances, he's been below average with regard to his xwOBA. His contact quality has plummeted.
He's tried some adjustments to his batting stance waggle, but has since reverted to his norm.
The Astros won't make a deep run in October if this is the production they are getting from their two-hole hitter. Were it not for the total flop that has been José Abreu, Breggy would likely be facing much more criticism.
He's always been a slow starter, so there is hope Bregma, picks it up, but the Astros offense needs him to step up and it needs him to find his form ASAP.