Alex Bregman’s career arc is following who?

Caught between the overall brilliance of Jose Altuve and the meteoric appearance of Yordan Alvarez, the terrific start to Alex Bregman‘s career sometimes gets overlooked. His slow starts to each season, his sometimes childish Twitter throwdowns with other players and his over the top posing and antics after launching home runs take the spotlight off of just how great he has been in his approximate 3-1/2 years with the Houston Astros.

In researching his numbers and comparing it to other Houston youngsters, who had early success, the trip took us through a number of Houston legends. At a similar point in their careers…

  • Craig Biggio was about one season away from his career-altering switch from catcher to 2B. His offensive numbers were solid, but not what they would become later in his career. (Thru June 1992 – .274 BA/ .345 OBP/ .721 OPS/264 R/ 29 HRs/ 173 RBIs/ 91 SBs )
  • Jose Altuve was becoming a good hitter, but one at that point who was built more on speed and batting average. He had not yet shown much power or on-base components to his game. (Thru Aug. 2014 – .297 BA/ .336 OBP/ .730 OPS/ 233 R/ 19 HRs/ 136 RBIs/ 121 SBs)
  • Cesar Cedeno (22 y.o.) was much younger when he had Bregman’s amount of games and ABs under his belt. His production up to that point was much closer than the first two players on this list, but he was lagging just a bit, especially in the on-base and power categories. (Thru Aug. 1973 – .298 BA/ .345 OBP/ .818 OPS/ 301 R/ 57 HRs/ 298 RBIs/ 137 SBs)
  • Lance Berkman after a few struggles in his first call-up, put his pedal to the metal and had a “Hall of Very Very Good” start to his career by the time he had as many ABs as Bregman does today.
  • Jeff Bagwell after being picked up by the Astros for Larry Andersen and moved from 3B to 1B in one spring training hit the ground running, won the Rookie of the Year Award and established himself as a star when he had reached the same playing time Bregman is at today.

So let’s compare Bregman, Berkman and Bagwell (B’s, B’s, B’s) at the same stage of their careers.
Bregman   .286 BA/.384 OBP/.911 OPS/1905 ABs/346 R/140 Dbls/99 HRs/320 RBIs/34 SBs
Berkman  .300 BA/.405 OBP/.971 OPS/1906 ABs/308 R/136 Dbls/117 HRs/394 RBIs/28 SBs
Bagwell    .300 BA/.383 OBP/.901 OPS/1904 ABs/298 R/111 Dbls/  71 HRs/329 RBIs/20 SBs

Note: Bregman’s stats thru the end of 2019, Berkman’s stats thru July 11, 2003, and Bagwell’s stats thru June 15. 1994

Looking at these stats objectively, you would probably rank the three at this point in their careers as 1) Berkman  2) Bregman 3) Bagwell. Berkman has terrific numbers across the board, Bagwell just a step behind and Bregman closer to Berkman than Bagwell, but a 1/2 step behind. All of these numbers are strong and indicative of high-quality hitters.

Some things to remember when looking at the statistics…..

  • At this point in his career, Bagwell’s numbers were all earned in Death Valley – the Astrodome. Now by the ’90s the Dome was not as bad as when it opened for power folks as they had placed an inner wall inside the old. But it still was not Ten-Run park.
  • Berkman played most of this part of his career in Enron Field (MMP) and certainly benefited from this. And he was 27 y.o. at the end of this run compared to Bags at 26 and Bregman at 25.
  • Bregman obviously has spent his whole career at the Juice Box and more importantly, his lineup has been pretty darned good in front and in back of him. However, it should also be noted that he has spent long stretches of the last three seasons with Springer, Altuve, and Correa missing significant time.
  • Speaking of juice – there have of course been rumors of juiced players and baseballs (and garbage cans?) during all three of these players careers. How much this did or did not help any of these players is just a guess at this point.

The main thought is that Alex Bregman has had a wonderful beginning to his career that puts him on a similar career arc to two of the best players to play for the Astros. That is very impressive.

43 comments on “Alex Bregman’s career arc is following who?

    • There is not much else you could want from the young man (on the field). Maybe a little higher batting average. And he has been doing this at a “new” position as a SS moved to 3B. He hustles, he hits for power, he has speed, he is a good fielder (could work on his throws a bit I guess).
      The day they walked away from Akins was a big break for the team.

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  1. He’s been fantastic. He should earn extra credit for carrying the load (which you astutely noted) during those stretches where Altuve/Correa/Springer were injured. I certainly don’t think it’s fair to hold the juiced baseballs against Bregman or any of the hitters today – that’s a Manfred problem. I view it a lot like the 1987 season. When baseballs started jumping out of the park, great hitters like Wade Boggs took advantage despite not normally being a power hitter. If the balls were not carrying the way they have the last two seasons I suspect Bregman would alter his approach to lower the launch angle and we’d see his numbers be more similar to what Biggio produced – lots of singles and doubles on hard line drives with some HR sprinkled in for good measure.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. He reminds me a little of Ron Cey, who put together a heckuva 17-yr career. Alex only put up 1.4, and 4.3 oWAR his 2nd year, but followed it up with 7.2, and 7.7 oWAR…years Cey never had! The Penguin hit more than 20 HR, ten of his playing years. Bregman looks to put up better numbers if he can stay healthy.

    My, how things have changed in that Cey made about $7M in a career.
    Bregs after endorsements will make 100’s of millions.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Devin – Great point on how he would absolutely change his approach if the balls didn’t have helium in them. But with so much power around him, it would be interesting to see if he could be a .320 hitter. Does not matter since he is so good at getting on base.
    GoStros1 – Ron Cey was a really good player – probably a better fielder, but Alex would run circles around Pengy. Hard to judge the power because of how much the game has changed.

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  4. Interesting and infuriating article from MLB Traderumors
    https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2020/05/al-west-notes-mariners-rangers-astros.html

    1) Interesting in that Joey Gallo thinks the new Ranger stadium will be a pitcher’s paradise. That’s a change
    2) Infuriating – the article saying the Astros are gone with the wind and will have no OF after this season. Talking about their bad prospects. No mention of Alvarez or Tucker or even Myles Straw. And no way to make a trade or sign an OF with the money coming off the books. Just more cheating scandal pile on

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      • I remember seeing in 2016 I believe it was, because I recall thinking he was going to really put it together in ’17, George Springer’s comp was Ron Swoboda. And boy has he blown that out of the water!

        Dan, I wouldn’t sweat it on getting infuriated. I can’t even get you guys to appreciate the prospect talent in OF, so it is…what it is. We have some athletes. We have trading power, money, and Straw Tucker have been ready/are no slouches. Stay tuned because Pedro Leon is the real deal (want to see some video?), and we will be fine in 2021-2026 in the OF even in-house. Even so, we’ll definitely offer the face, Springer, a deal he won’t want to pass up.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I think Bregman is on a HOF path. His ceiling is as an MVP candidate.
    He doesn’t steal bases as much as some others because he hits so many extra base hits. He plays 3B against RH batters and he plays 3B and SS at the same time against LH batters.
    He is a fantastic baseball player and I am so happy he is on the Astros.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. -Bregman’s walk rate has increased yearly to the point of being elite. 6.9% in 2016, 8.8% in 2017, 13.6% in 2018 and 17.2% in 2019.
    -Bregman’s strikeout rate has decreased to the point of being elite. 24% in 2016, 15.5% in 2017, 12.1% in 2018 and 12% in 2019.
    – Maybe Bregman’s best set of stats is the combination of Batting Average rise for four straight years, while his BABIP has fallen for four straight years.
    This combination is extraordinarily rare. How does a guy’s BA rise incrementally from .264 in 2016 to 296 in 2019, while his BABIP falls incrementally from .317 in 2016 to .281 in 2019? This could be a forewarning of a huge breakout year, batting average-wise in the near future if his luck should change.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I can’t link to it but there is a story on mlbtraderumors- generally positive about the Astros efforts to extend George Springer

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    • When Springer was drafted 11th overall, he waited til a few minutes to deadline to sign his “slot of $1.7M,” for a $2.5M bonus instead. He’s shrewd, and rightfully so. I still think he and Crane will broker the deal nonetheless — demands will be on the table, same as his recent arbitration.

      Not that it will come into play, but for some reason I’m thinking of Koch-Weser who used as a demand to get contract renewed ’18 from Luhnow by leveraging, “I know the secrets that won us a WS.” In many ways, Springer has been here almost as long as Altuve. Staying together (Club Astros) might be a very important thing for George. To see it through & avenge ’15, ’18, and ’19!

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  8. Getting back to Bregman, he has increased his community involvement/charity work. Hopefully he can decrease his bat carrying home run celebrations (but not decreasing the home runs).

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Bregman ranks 107th in lifetime 3B WAR depending on where you look at WAR. That’s in three seasons and 50 games. If you double that, he’ll be in the top 40 third basemen lifetime, accounting for a few guys still playing. He’ll have passed Gaetti, DeCincies, Lansford, Wallace, Madlock, Glaus. He’ll be about 30 years old at that point, likely in his prime. A 70 WAR historically gets a 3B into Cooperstown. At his present pace, he’ll need 25 or 30 WAR from the age of 30. With good health, he’s an HOF lock.

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  10. I also wanted to point out that playoff-wise…
    Alex has 32 runs / 10 HRs / 27 RBIs in 44 games
    Bags has 11 runs / 2 HRs / 13 RBIs in 32 games
    Bidge has 23 runs / 2 HRs / 11 RBIs in 40 games
    Lance has 38 runs/ 9 HRs/ 41 RBIs in 53 games

    Berkman was our best playoff warrior – Alex is basically better than Bags and Bidge by himself after 3 playoff seasons.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Several of us have touted Altuve to the HOF. And he may make it. But that caused us to overlook Bregman.

    (Another memory here) I can remember as a kid all the talk of whether Willie Mays or Mickey Mantle would break the Babe’s HR record. My dad said, it would be Hank Aaron because he was a couple years younger and was right behind them in HRs.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Farm news:
    * Warmest winter since we moved to OK. It defied all of the supposed signs of a harsh winter.
    * Lost the family dog last week chasing a truck. Way too much drama.
    * In the midst of the pandemic, an acquaintance of the family purchased some pregnant cows and one of them broke it’s back when it fell out of the trailer and another fell on it. My son and daughter in law were called in and delivered the 8 month calf in a c-section and it lived. Then they called in my daughter and son in law to help them process 400 lbs of beef which the family friend gave them for delivering the calf.
    * The family has decided to get out of the “plain” cow/calf business and to get into the premium Shorthorn Show Calf business. They sold the horse and then started selling off their momma/calf combos to people who were looking for tame pairs which are in demand for small farms with children.
    Then they turned around and used the money on show heifers that our grandchildren will show in fairs next spring and them breed them to a Shorthorn bull they bought. and have a herd of Shorthorns, producing quality show calves, which can sell for three or four times the amount of money as regular feed calf.
    All of this happening in the last month while practicing social distancing and doing business on the phone and on line. Us oldpros have stayed out of it while watching it all happen from at least six feet away. It is very difficult to see your grandchildren and children every day and not touch them.

    Liked by 3 people

    • So sorry to hear about your dog Old pro.
      It is a good time to have 400 lbs of beef, because the grocery stores look pretty sparse right now.
      I am a “Huggy” type person, so it is so weird to not be touching relatives – standing around in a circle with folks and talking at a distance.
      If anyone is in the Houston area – there will be a 30 plane WWII flyover on Sunday (postponed from Friday) to honor VE Day.
      https://www.lonestarflight.org/explore/fight-finish-flyover-fri-may-8

      Liked by 1 person

      • My office is at the US Coast Guard building at Ellington. I should be able to look out of the windows and see them take off and land.

        Liked by 3 people

      • The WWII exhibition is usually a few miles from my house at the West Houston airport on Groescke Rd. Fun to see those C-131’s, but I don’t think a B-52 could take off / land here?

        I’ve been riding my bike everyday over there. So good to get fresh air here. We’re getting a little of that Northern today and it’s amazingly cool.

        Having grown up on a cattle farm myself, those stories bring back memories too.

        Hope Becky’s ok after her recent round with doctor, and that all patrons are enjoying their downtime.

        On baseball front: looks like a few ML owners didn’t want to vote in an extra 5 rounds of Amateur draft this year, so a lot of kids will miss out on their dreams in 2020. I am curious about Sugar Land, where Skeeters play. They are moving around alignment on MiLB to benefit teams like Mariners, which has Arkansas and West Va affiliates. My question is — will we close QC (as most will be asked to close A- team), and bring the Troy, NY team (Owner just passed away) to SW Hou? Lots on tap in coming months.

        Luke Little just threw 105 mph per Pitching Ninja, so it may be that Astros don’t get a chance at him, even at 72 now, when he was more like 172 on May 1. Hey, I tried!

        Liked by 1 person

  13. I’m pretty sure the Tri City team in Troy NY will have a higher class team next season affiliated with a more northern team.
    I’m pretty sure the Astros will keep their High A Astros team with the brand new stadium in the Carolina league.
    I’m pretty sure Sugarland will be affiliated with the Astros somehow.

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    • Me, too. Good to hear it corroborated.
      I follow some longtime Valley Kats fans, and that will be a heartbreaker. But they’ll still see our kids and their new kids on a MLB team someday. I admire so much those People who root for our mini-Stros in cities they can’t easily access Astros baseball (like Carolina, Iowa, and even Corpus/Austin). It would be so much fun to see very young players, closer to Houston, to get more interested in the minor leaguers & see how we stack up against other up-and-comers. I think it raises the city’s baseball IQ, but for years we’ve had to compete with football basketball and college sporting events.

      Seguing to Bregman, it’s good having someone keeps beating the Houston drum for good causes. To forget reading “trash talkers,” or listening to the noise. If you’ve read enough of the history of the game, you know their opinion is pretty shallow.

      Astros will take our lumps, and bounceback someday. Decisively. Judging from the true grit of these players growing up (Altuve Correa Springer Bregs), I am betting it galvanizes us, and helps us keep most of the Band Together. We know what Fiers did was Snakey, and we won most of those games for years fair and square. We’ll be aiming to prove it up.

      Liked by 3 people

    • Back in mid March I wrote about possibly starting real ball about July 1. I also envisioned a much expanded playoff concept. That’s about all I got right about the latest proposal. I’m a bit surprised that there are so many negative comments on the latest Rosenthal report. If we see baseball this year, it will be fascinating simply seeing what happens with such a unique plan. So many different things might happen. Watch out for the dark horse team with good arms and an expanded roster. I’m all for a July opener.

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  14. This is about Bregman and the previous post on batting order. Springer led off and his stats – 140 hits, 39 HRs, 96 RBIs.
    Bregman normally batting 2nd, 3rd, 4th – Hits 164, HRs 41, RBIs 112.
    Springer had 298 ABs leading off the game or an inning (Out of 479 ABs). Bregman 120 ABs leading off the game or inning.
    We looked at the poor numbers for Altuve with runners in scoring position. Springers is .275 with bases empty. .322 with men on base, and .316 with RISP.
    Make it Altuve, Bregman, and Springer for the best results based upon 2019 stats.

    I know how Napoleon felt after the battle of Waterloo.

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    • Astrocolt45, several of us agreed, including me. I’d put Alvarez in the third slot though. If Springer hits behind, junior is going to see a lot of stuff to hit especially with Altuve and Bregman frequently on base already.

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  15. – If MLB goes with the DH in the regular season for all teams this season, it stands to reason that they will use the DH in the playoffs.
    – If MLB goes with half a season it will help older players who might tire in a 162 game schedule. The Astros do have an older team. They might be less tired come playoff time.
    – A shortened schedule helps a team with a good TOR and a weaker BOR. Looking at 15-16 starts from a #4-5 starter versus 30-32.
    – Using 30-man active rosters would be a blessing for the Astros. Toro is ready and he might get to be added along with Myles Straw, who is also ready. Carrying 15 pitchers also helps Houston keep their TOR starters fresher.
    -Games in stadiums with no fans is a plus for Houston. By the time fans are alllowed, the Astros will already have bonded and be ready for war.

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  16. The biggest negative for the Astros is that in a shorter season, more fluky things can occur, the best teams don’t always win out, because if you get out of the gate slow, you don’t always win it all. But in general, you would thing that there are a lot more positives than negatives.

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  17. Last year, after 78 games it was 48-30. And 6.5 games ahead of Texas and Oakland. The top three leaders at that time, AL – Twins, Yanks, Astros. NL – LA, Atlanta, Cubs. (Cubs fell short of playoff spot)

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  18. MLB owners have approved a proposal for the 2020 season to present to the players’ union, source tells The Athletic. Meeting expected between union and league tomorrow. — Per Ken Rosenthal

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      • Dan, am I rubbing off on you? Let’s face it, the same amount of injury risk to the players, but for quite a bit less money. At the same time, I don’t either side wants to look like the bad guy in these negotiations toward getting our game played again.

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