Posted on July 25, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine
The player who many believe is the top prospect in all of baseball is coming to the big leagues. The Houston Astros announced Sunday that shortstop prospect Alex Bregman is being promoted and will make his major league debut Monday when the team hosts the New York Yankees. Bregman is a shortstop, but he’s expected to play a multitude of positions with the Astros.
The Astros made Bregman the second overall pick in the 2015 draft after three stellar college seasons at LSU. He has flown through Houston’s farm system, beginning his first full professional season at double-A before being promoted to triple-A at the end of June. In 18 games at triple-A, Bregman is hitting .333 with six home runs and six doubles, giving him an OPS of 1.015. He also had three hits in the MLB Futures Game earlier this month.
“It’s a dream come true,” Bregman said after getting the news Sunday. “And I’m ready to go work, keep my mouth shut and hopefully help contribute.” He immediately called his parents after being told he was getting promoted and says that his mother was screaming with joy. “I’m just very excited. I can’t wait to get to work and hopefully help contribute and help win games.”
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Now the question becomes where Bregman will play. Houston manager A.J. Hinch said Bregman would play Monday night but he did not say where. It’s unlikely he will supplant Carlos Correa at shortstop, while a switch to second base is also out of the question because of Jose Altuve. Bregman has spent some time playing third base both last year and this year, and that is the most likely spot for him in Houston’s lineup right now, with Luis Valbuena shifting to first base.
Bregman has also played three games in left field, where the Astros have been underwhelmed by the performance of Colby Rasmus this year. Houston has also been disappointed by center fielder Carlos Gomez. This opens up the possibility of playing Bregman in left field, with perhaps Rasmus sliding into center field to replace Gomez. The Astros may also wait to move Bregman to left field until the recently signed Yulieski Gourriel is promoted, as he’s expected to play third base.
“We feel like this is a good time to add him to a good team. We’re rolling along pretty well and he doesn’t have to come up here and be anything but himself and contribute at a couple of different position,” Hinch said Sunday. “We wanted a couple of extra innings at left field and in third base and we accomplished that over the weekend. It’s never going to be enough when you’re trying to teach somebody a different position, but we feel like his time is now to come up and add whatever he can to a good clubhouse and good team and not have to carry the weight of the world on his shoulders as a young player.”
The Astros have been one of the best teams in baseball over the past two months, taking them from a team that looked to be out of contention to a team that’s just 2.5 games behind the Texas Rangers atop the AL West and a half game out of the second wild card spot. The addition of Bregman, and eventually Gourriel, should provide a considerable lift for a team that’s middle of the pack offensively in the American League. The Astros don’t need Bregman to be a savior, relieving him of any added pressure and putting him in position to make an impact during the team’s playoff push the final two months of the season.