As the MLB trade deadline draws nearer, and GM’s across the league decide to buy, sell, or (groan) stay put, it’s also the time of year to call up mega-prospects that baseball insiders have been salivating over since they were in high school. For the Houston Astros, that mega-prospect is Alex Bregman, a 22-year-old shortstop extraordinaire and proud Jew from New Mexico. Following a 13-3 win over the Angels on Sunday, the second-place Astros announced that Bregman would be joining the team’s Major League roster.
Bregman, the son of two lawyers, grew up attending Congregation Albert in Albequerque (the oldest synagogue in New Mexico). His father played baseball at the University of New Mexico, and Bregman’s grandfather, the son of Russian Jewish immigrants, once served as general counsel for the Washington Senators, an expansion club that is now the Texas Rangers. And in case you thought that the sports buck stopped there, Bregman’s great-grandfather was a boxing promoter who hawked tickets for Joe Louis’ fights, among others.
It’s been a long trip to the majors for Bregman, who was projected to be a high first round pick during his senior year of high school. A bad bounce broke a knuckle on his throwing hand, tanking his draft status. Bregman didn’t come off the board until the 29th round of the 2012 draft, but rather than sign with the Red Sox (who, coincidentally, had drafted his childhood best friend Blake Swihart the year before), he elected to attend baseball powerhouse LSU. Bregman raked for three years, earning two All-American nods and emerging as one of the best shortstops in college baseball (he also wore #30, or the number of teams that passed on him in the first round the year before). The Astros took him with the second overall pick in the 2015 draft (the second highest draft position for a Jewish player in MLB history, behind Ron Blomberg), and after laying waste to the minors this year, Bregman will finally get a chance to step to the plate in the majors.
Of course, Bregman will be blocked at shortstop by Carlos Correa, the reigning AL Rookie of the Year. For the Astros, it’s a nice problem to have. (Joshua was blocked by Moses, and that worked out, right?). For now, it looks like Bregman’s glove is going to be shuttled to a corner outfield position. For Bregman, it’s just another excuse to call his mom, who screamed with joy after he told her the news of the call-up.
“It’s a dream come true,” Bregman told MLB.com. “And I’m ready to go work, keep my mouth shut, and hopefully help contribute.”
— Richard Justice (@richardjustice) July 25, 2016