Former LSU baseball star Alex Bregman is ranked as the best third baseman in MLB.
Houston Astros third baseman Alex Bregman had a rough offseason, thanks to the sign stealing scandal that rocked the baseball world, but he’s still viewed as the best third baseman in baseball according to The Athletic’s Jim Bowden.
(ESPN had Bregman listed as the second best third baseman in baseball earlier this offseason, behind Colorado Rockies star Nolan Arenado.)
Bowden, who has served as the general manager for the Cincinnati Reds and the Washington Nationals, noted that Bregman “led all major-league hitters in plate discipline, also finishing first in walks and second in on-base percentage”.
In addition to being incredibly disciplined at the plate, Bregman is also above average in the field.
“Defensively, he’s above-average with above-average range in all directions. His outs above average is in the 80th percentile and he had 8 defensive runs saved,” wrote Bowden.
The former general manager also pointed out Bregman’s passion for the game, writing “He’s a fierce competitor with elite focus and passion for the game”.
How will Bregman be viewed after the sign stealing scandal?
It’s understandable that some folks have been down on Bregman after his involvement in the 2017 Astros sign stealing scandal.
There’s no doubt that it raises some questions about Bregman’s abilities at the plate.
But I think it’s worth noting that Bregman’s best years in the majors have come in the years since the sign stealing scandal (2018 and 2019).
The former LSU baseball standout was second in the AL MVP voting in 2019 (behind Mike Trout). And there’s zero evidence of any sign stealing in 2019.
Something else that’s worth noting is that Bregman actually performed better on the road in 2017 (the sign stealing scheme was in operation at Houston home games).
That means it’s not exactly clear if the scandal even helped Bregman (or how much it helped him).
Of course, none of that matters to most folks outside of Houston (and maybe Baton Rouge). They’re going to view Bregman as a villain regardless of what the numbers say.
That’s why it’s nice to see Bregman get some love from The Athletic.
Kudos to Bowden for not letting something that happened in 2017 cloud his judgement about the best third baseman in baseball.