Because the Astros needed another young star infielder, apparently.
It’s difficult for a former no. 2 overall pick and top-50 prospect to be overshadowed in their own infield while thriving in their first full season as a big leaguer, but such is life playing alongside Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa. Alex Bregman takes a clear backseat in Houston’s deep, powerful, MLB-best lineup, not only to star infield-mates Altuve and Correa, but also to George Springer, Marwin Gonzalez, and at times Yulieski Gurriel, Carlos Beltran, and Josh Reddick. Bregman has spent much of the year batting seventh or eighth, only recently becoming a semi-regular in the top five spots with Correa on the disabled list.
Yet at age 23, he’s hit .270/.342/.473 with 21 homers and 71 total extra-base hits through his first 162 career games, totaling 4.1 WARP in one complete season’s worth of playing time. How does a player like Bregman make short work of the minors after being a top draft pick and consensus top prospect, and then live up to the considerable hype in the majors, all while flying under the radar? Having the best-hitting teammates in baseball plays a large part, certainly, but his initial struggles upon being called up last season also seemed to take Bregman’s hype off the burner and for whatever reason it’s still cooling.
Phillies second pick in 2016 RHP Kevin Gowdy underwent Tommy John surger, as provided by his Instagram account. Gowdy has yet to pitch this season, and has thrown nine innings as a pro, dating back to last season.
The rest of this article is restricted to Baseball Prospectus Subscribers.
Not a subscriber?
Click here for more information on Baseball Prospectus subscriptions or use the buttons to the right to subscribe and get access to the best baseball content on the web.
Mike Trout is better than everyone at everything, even failure.
Sometime soon, Mike Trout will again etch his name atop one of those through age 20-something leaderboards—swallowing up another distinction like baseball prodigy kudzu. This one, though, isn’t going on his eventual Hall of Fame plaque. He’s seven strikeouts away from racking up his 856th K, which would surpass Justin Upton for the most by any hitter through his age-25 season.
Even while posting perhaps the most successful out-of-the-chute baseball career ever, Trout has experienced much failure. The circumstances of his existence—reaching and dominating the majors before his 20th birthday, being the obvious best player on the field, being fast, hitting for power in the 2010s—have conspired in such a way that the strikeouts have piled up despite his rates being below the contemporary league average.
Six years later, still looking for one more chance.
On July 5, 2011, the Mariners stood at 43-43. New manager Eric Wedge was steering a previously hundred-loss, veteran team to respectability; the beginning of the youth movement, Dustin Ackley and Justin Smoak and Michael Pineda flashed copious promise.
Seventeen games later, the Mariners found themselves at 43-60. Twenty-five games after that, stripped of half its rotation through deadline trades, the team sent out a 24-year-old left-hander by the name of Anthony Vasquez.
This isn’t my idea. (Always a rousing way to start an article!) You may read this and conclude that I’m a moron. I’m not saying that’s wrong! I’m just saying that your logic in saying so may be fallacious, if you’re basing it on the proposal here. It isn’t mine. I’m just reporting it.
Craig Wright is a prominent baseball analyst. He was the first front office sabermetrician for the Rangers, way back in 1981. During a 10-year stint with the Dodgers, he’s widely credited with promoting the abilities of 62nd-round draft pick Mike Piazza.
Are managers too afraid to make in-game bench moves?
The Rays’ offense is in crisis. Tampa Bay lost 3-2 in Toronto on Wednesday night, continuing a pattern of ineptitude at bat that has persisted for nearly two full weeks. They’ve scored 20 runs in their last 12 games, just as some of their rivals in the Game of Porcelain Thrones that is the AL Wild Card race have gotten hot. If they can’t find their way out of this funk soon, or if they aren’t able to start pulling out some close games despite a faltering offense, they’re going to squander what looked (as recently as the trade deadline) like a great opportunity to reach the postseason.
There’s an ace up their sleeve, one they seem reticent to play. Willy Adames is hitting well at Triple-A, and he’s more than acquitted himself as a defensive shortstop. Given the dreadful production Adeiny Hechavarria has delivered recently, it’s possible that the gap between the two is wide enough to make starting Adames’ service-time clock worthwhile even for the Rays. Barring that, however, the best hope for the team might be for manager Kevin Cash to keep doing what he did on Wednesday night: using the whole roster.
Notes on Alec Hansen, Joey Wentz, Gavin Lux, Yordan Alvarez, Patrick Mazeika, and more.
Hitter of the Day:
Patrick Mazeika, C/1B, New York Mets (Double-A, Binghamton): 3-6, 2 R, 3 2B, 3 RBI, K
Mazeika has shown an ability to hit, it could be a plus tool for him. But the rest of the profile is tough; he has a below-average arm and doesn’t catch well, limiting him behind the plate. He doesn’t have a lot of over-the-fence power either, which makes first base a tougher profile than catcher. Hitters find a way, though.