Is Alex Bregman the best Astros’ 3B ever?

Brian McTaggart over at mlb.com has been writing a series of articles about the best Astro at every position throughout their history. This week he ranked the best Astros’ 3B’s ever.

This is a subject that Chip hit on in a series of articles a while back, but he didn’t get around to 3B.

McT’s top 5 list at 3B broke down like this.

  1. Alex Bregman (2016-2019)
  2. Ken Caminiti (1987-94, 1999-2000)
  3. Doug Rader (1967-75)
  4. Morgan Ensberg (2000-07)
  5. Phil Garner (1981-87)

The question today is – has Alex Bregman in about 3-1/2 seasons done enough to exceed what the other 3Bs have done in a lot more time in Houston.

This is a similar question to the Jose Altuve / Craig Biggio debate (see Chip’s link above). Which is better long term performance or short term excellence?

Pro Alex

There is no doubt that Bregman’s 3-1/2 seasons have been the best offensive block of time by a 3B in the history of the franchise. The only thing close to this would be Ensberg’s 2003-2005 time period, which disappeared as fast as it appeared. Even though he is 3rd in runs scored, and 4th in HRs and RBIs of the five, at the rate Alex is producing he should fly past the other 3Bs in those categories in a couple seasons. (A couple full seasons….). His .286 BA/ .384 OBP/ .911 OPS slash line is far beyond the other four. Ensberg is the closest with a .266/.362/.830 slash. And as the article stated he has been one of the most clutch Astros on some very strong teams – producing significant hits and HRs in every playoff series he has played.

Anti Alex

He has played a lot less time, especially compared to Caminiti and Rader. They both played more than twice the number of games with the Astros and more than double the at bats.  So, there is always the question of whether Bregman could become an Ensberg flash in the pan (I’m not betting on that). In addition, Bregman is a good third baseman and at times very good. But Doug Rader was one of the best defensive 3Bs in the game and Caminiti had the only arm that I could compare to Carlos Correa‘s arm in the history of the organization. On top of that, only Ensberg and one season of Cammy got to play in Minute Maid Park of the other four. And Bregman has been in the middle of a heck of a lineup that has afforded him a lot of traffic ahead of him and a lot of protection behind him.

In the end, there would seem to be a better argument for Bregman than against him, just because of his consistent high quality offense at the plate. And this has all been with seasons where he has not started hot at the plate. If that happens, watch out.

So, your turn. Would you rank Alex Bregman at the top of Astro 3Bs all time? Why or why not?

33 comments on “Is Alex Bregman the best Astros’ 3B ever?

    • Bregman is our best 3b. He didn’t do the arrogant things while at LSU. Paul Manieri wouldn’t have put up with it. I think that as he matures, he will stop doing it. Alex is a good and generous person that most fans can’t see because of some of his childish actions.

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  1. Offensively, yes, Bregman is by far the best, most productive third baseman we have ever had. As a team leader and credit to the game, however, not so much. His brash attitude and arrogant bravado, alas, just fuels the nations perspective of our team as a bunch of self-aggrandizing prima donnas. The cocky camera stares, the bat-carrying dramas [which we had royally shoved down our throat in the WS by the only player currently in baseball that is actually more obnoxious than Alex], these are something I hope Alex grows out of soon. He could be – has all the tools to be – a truly great player. But he needs to grow up.

    So for now, give me Bob Aspromonte at the hot corner over the current version of Alex anytime.

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  2. Accumulated WAR with the Astros:
    Bregman in 4 seasons-22.4
    Caminiti in 10 seasons-16.7
    Rader in 9 seasons-18.3
    Ensberg in 7 seasons- 14.1
    Garner in 7 seasons-12.3
    Stats are according to Baseball reference because BR is where this site links to when you click on the name.
    Rader should be ranked ahead of Caminiti in second place.
    Bregman is on a Hall of Fame pace in his career thus far.

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  3. I’ve been on a campaign against Alex Bregman’s behavior going back at least three years, maybe more. Am surprised to see Larry Leach’s comment above that he did not behave that way at LSU. What in the world happened? And if the managers/coaches weren’t on him, where were his parents? Nevertheless, best at third

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  4. There is nothing wrong with having a confident, cocky attitude. Alex has not hurt anyone nor done anything criminal. I don’t agree with it but it actually does not hurt anyone.

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  5. I’m afraid to answer this one. How much has our perception of players like Caminiti changed? Being in the running for the MVP the last two seasons as well as his postseason contributions should be enough to put Bregman at the top of that list, but if he were to suffer a precipitous falloff the next couple seasons where he should be still ascending it would certainly reduce him in our eyes. My biggest complaints about his play (ignore his behavior…you all know how I feel about that) is that offensively he’s too streaky and defensively he’s out of position at 3B. His defense has greatly improved, though, and his versatility / ability to move around the field in the shifts should be appreciated. It will be interesting to see what Dusty Baker does with him (and the defensive alignments). As much as I dislike the shift, the majority of the time it makes sense to use it until hitters start adjusting.

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  6. The one time I thought that Bregman hurt the team was when he got into a twitter fight with Eovaldi before the 2018 series against the Red Sox.

    Eovaldi pitched well in his start in the third game and got the win and then came out of the bullpen in the 5th game.

    I just don’t think you need to tweak the nose of anybody. Be like Walter Payton, score a TD and hand the ball to the ref. Your actions speak loud enough.
    Bregman is a little streakier than other guys – but in baseball practically every hitter is streaky to some extent. I would rather he be good the last 2/3 of the season and the playoffs than be good in the first 1/3 only.

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    • Dan, he did indeed hurt the team that time and the opposition made it clear that
      was the precipitating factor. Problem with starting and sustaining behavior like that is that you get bolder and bolder. It’s human nature. He symbolized what other teams began to consider brash and braggadocio (Bregadocio?) Astros junk. We’ve gone down ever since. I don’t like it. I don’t support it. Never will.

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  7. It was not too long ago that Alex got a regular dose of bashing. Can’t hit, can’t play third, send him down. He was too good an athlete though. He picked up third base quickly. I don’t know if anyone in the league comes in on a ball down the line as well as him. With all the shifting the Astros did before most teams, he picked up the system as well as anyone would. I’m standing on the grocery line right now, so I can’t dig for any offensive stats. But he knows the strike zone as well as any ump in the game. And when he gets screwed, he does not overreact, he heads back to the dugout without a word. Because of his selectively, he’ll become a better hitter. He’s not done improving. And he will settle down in the arrogance department. I think events of the past couple of years and the outcome will only hasten that. He will have a 15 year, HOF career.

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  8. At BR, Caminiti came into league at 24. Both Rader and Bregman at 22. For about the same period of time as Bregman, Rader accumulated 8.1 WAR. Through those years, Rader ‘s highest RBI was 87. Bregman already has two years well over 100. Bregman is better as of today. But he has to keep it going, at least through 2024.

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  9. Bregman’s first three years, his defense was not great. If you will think back on it, the problem was with his throwing. He had a tendency to make wild throws.
    Before the 2019 season he had surgery on his throwing elbow to remove foreign bodies that he said had been causing him pain ever since he came into the league. The result of that surgery was a complete turnaround in his defensive stats. Coupled with offensive stats that have improved every year, Bregman has reached the status of an elite player.
    I’m not a big fan of his combative personality, but he should never be put in the category of troublemaker. He’s an extrovert, but is also a good guy. I hope he is with the Astros for his entire career.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good point about the surgery. I had forgotten about it. I think it would be fair to say that certain people in the national media are rabble rousers who seize the opportunity to inflame tempers against Bregman’s actions. With some of the larger showoffs being pushed out of the spotlight he ends up the focus of their attention. Ideally he’s cognizant of this and scales back some of the antics.

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      • I can remember sitting in Turnpike stadium behind the visitor’s dugout and Reggie Jackson hitting a home run. When he got back to home plate, he jumped up and down several times while staring in our direction. In New York, he was passionate. To the rest of the world, he was a hot dog.

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  10. I’ve been reading just haven’t been able to comment. I collapsed one of my vertebrae Saturday night and went to the emergency room. Been in the hospital for a couple of days. The pain is excruciating! Plus I’m an old lady….A very TOUGH old lady, but this has not been fun. I’m having an MRI next week, hopefully I can get some answers…cross your fingers!
    Bregman is probably the best 3rd baseman in MLB. He’s young and dumb sometimes, but he’s “there” when we need him. Maybe having a future wife to tame him a little will be just what he needs. I know one thing for sure…A.J. absolutely LOVED him…and so do I! The thoughts about baseball games this year seems pretty bleak. Life before this virus will never be the same, and sports like baseball may be changed forever. Saw a question about contracts the other day and even IF they don’t play this year, it counts as a year towards that contract. The Dodgers gave Mookie Betts a one year contract….that will count as a year if he doesn’t play one game. The Red Sox get to keep what the Dodgers gave them in the trade…the Dodgers have to pay Betts his money, and Betts can go back to the Red Sox with a new contract. Doesn’t seem fair, but that’s the way it plays out. Becky⚾

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    • Take care, Becky. It’s more trouble to be in the hospital than it’s worth, but I know they try. Be quick on the mend. Tonight is your margarita night!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I’m sorry to hear about your back.
      Hoping you feel better soon.
      I’m afraid you are correct about life after the virus. I just pray our team can pick up the pieces and move on.

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  11. I was thinking back to game seven of the World Series and how disappointed I was. Wow! If I’d only known what the future held.
    Just WOW!

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  12. Sounds like here in Texas they will begin opening things up – next Friday retail stores will open – next Wed elective surgeries – and other things – schools are out for the rest of the school year

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