Sports content in the media is a tough situation these days. That is why there are made up events like the Watt brothers playing tag. In the written word world of Chipalatta and mlb.com we are stuck speculating about the future or talking about the past. Recently, mlb.com posted the following interesting article that triggered a big question and this post.
The article focuses on the Carlos Correa’s pick and the fact that it not only brought the best shortstop in Houston history, but also that it allowed the team to spend the money it saved on signing Correa to draft and sign both Lance McCullers Jr. and Rio Ruiz (used to trade for Evan Gattis).
What the article does not do is talk about who else they considered from recent picks and specifically Alex Bregman. So, we will do that here.
The Argument for Carlos Correa
There are certainly a number of reasons to look at the first draft choice in Jeff Luhnow’s history with the Astros as the best recent choice.
- The team has a pretty mediocre history at shortstop. After five seasons with the team and only 546 games (about 3-1/2 seasons worth of games), Correa has been a revelation. He is now the career leader for Astro SS’s with 24.5 WAR (Dickie Thon 2nd with 16.0), .277 BA (Thon – .270), .356 OBP (Denis Menke – .355), .845 OPS (Menke – .728), 101 HR (Adam Everett – 35 HR), and 368 RBIs (Craig Reynolds – 300 RBIs).
- On top of this, Correa has been a very good defensive SS with one of the best arms in the business.
- Choosing Correa over other players that were thought to be better (Mark Appel, Bryan Buxton, Mike Zunino, Kevin Gausman) allowed the team the extra money to pick Lance McCullers Jr and Rio Ruiz, who were both thought to be going to college. McCullers has obviously had injury problems, but when he has pitched he has been a solid contributor at the major league level (29-22 – 3.67 ERA). He has also been very good in the post season (1-0, 2.53 ERA), including winning the 3rd game of the 2017 World Series. Ruiz was part of the five man deal that included bringing Evan Gattis to the Astros. Gattis was a solid contributor during his few seasons with the team.
The Argument for Alex Bregman
- In his 3-1/2 seasons with the Astros, he has already played 517 games. He is already the Astros 3B career leader with 22.4 WAR (Ken Caminiti – 16.7), .384 OBP (Morgan Ensberg – .367), and .911 OPS (Ensberg – .843). He will shortly take over the 3B career lead in runs, HRs and RBIs.
- This was a critical draft pick. At the time it was made the Astros had had the #1 pick in the draft 3 seasons in a row and really had only Correa to show for it. Mark Appel never showed any of his college greatness in the pros. Brady Aiken never was signed due to the results of a physical and the Astros were looking like they got lucky once with Correa. The Astros hit this pick out of the park as the closest other 2015 first rounder to Bregman to date has been Andrew Benintendi (9.9 WAR vs. 22.4 for Bregman).
- As can easily be seen, Bregman has been very healthy to date – toting up almost as many games played as Correa in 1-1/4 seasons less time. And he certainly has not had the “unverifiable” injuries that Correa has suffered (back, broken ribs from a massage)….
- Bregman has also shown the willingness to stay in Houston, by signing an extension through 2024 – his age 30 season. Carlos Correa could be a free agent after 2021 at the age of 27.
So, who do you think has been the best recent Astros’ draft pick and why?