By TR Sullivan
Astros third baseman Alex Bregman has turned an unassisted triple play. He was four years old when it happened and it was in his first game ever. In T-Ball.
Talk about being born to play baseball. Bregman’s grandfather was the general counsel for the Washington Senators and helped orchestrate the franchise’s move to Texas, his father and uncle both played at the university of New Mexico and his brother was a 35th round pick by the Astros in 2018.
Bregman himself is entering his sixth season with the Astros and has already accomplished more during his young career than most players could ever conjure up in their dreams.
Bregman played in a College World Series at LSU and was the second overall pick in the 2015 MLB Draft. In 2017, he not only won a World Series for the Astros - he hit two home runs and had a walkoff single to win Game 5 - but was also on the Team USA squad that won the World Baseball Classic. Being Jewish, he turned down the chance to play for Team Israel, missing out what he joked would have meant more playing time than with the United States.
In 2018, Bregman played in his first All-Star Game and ended up being the Most Valuable Player when he hit a leadoff home run in the 10th inning. That proved to be the game-winning hit in the American League’s 8-6 victory over the National League.
Bregman went back to the All-Star Game in 2019 on his way to an MVP-worthy season for the Astros, hitting .296 with 41 home runs and 112 home runs. Bregman finished a close second to Mike Trout of the Angels, although his supporters cited his versatility being what should have made the difference.
Bregman was an All-American shortstop at LSU but was switched to third base by the Astros so he could play next to Carlos Correa. But Correa, who has had his share of injuries, played in just 75 games that season because of a fractured rib, prompting the Astros to switch Bregman to his old position. Bregman played 99 games at third and 65 at shortstop without letting it impact his offensive production.
Generously listed at 6-feet tall, Bregman has never been viewed as physically gifted with great power and speed. What his coaches have observed over the years is a tremendous work ethic and baseball aptitude. In an era when offensive players eagerly swing for the fences and don’t worry about strikeouts, Bregman led the American League with 119 walks against just 65 strikeouts. That speaks to his superb control of the strike zone without sacrificing power.
The Astros were fortunate to land him. They had the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 and took pitcher Brady Aiken. But they were unable to sign him and, as compensation, were given the No. 2 overall pick in 2015. They took Bregman, rather than hoping he would have been available at what would have been the fourth overall pick. He wouldn’t have been. The Rangers, drafting one spot ahead of the Astros second pick, were hoping to land Bregman.
TR Sullivan covered the Texas Rangers for 32 years for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and MLB.Com. He retired after a 40-year career in journalism that began in 1981 for the Denison Herald. You can follow TR at https://twitter.com/