At birth, Alex Bregman was touched by the Baseball Gods. He is not very big, not very fast, not especially graceful, and yet he somehow finds a way to do everything you can ask of a baseball player. He turned an unassisted triple play at age four. He was already very clearly the best high-school baseball player in the history of New Mexico before his senior year when a bad hop broke a finger on his right hand, ended his season, and irreparably harmed his 2012 draft stock.
Pre-draft, Bregman’s camp promised he would not sign should teams fail to select him in the first round. The Red Sox called his name in round 29 and were rebuffed. Bregman matriculated to LSU, where his list of accolades grew. First Team SEC, First Team All American, Collegiate National Team. And all of that as a freshman. When 2015 rolled around and he was draft-eligible again, Bregman was a divisive prospect despite his success largely because there was no consensus about his long-term ability to play shortstop. He didn’t have no-doubt shortstop speed and, while his arm was fine for the left side of the infield, it wasn’t the kind of elite arm strength that allows some players to hide their lack of range. Additionally, Bregman had virtually no positive physical projection remaining and wasn’t hitting for the sort of game power at LSU that would allay concerns about his offensive profile should he have to move off of short.
That’s not to say scouts didn’t like Bregman — he’s always been adored — but it’s hard to justify drafting a second or third baseman with fringe to average power projection in the top three picks. None of it has mattered. Houston bought in, drafted him #2 overall in 2015, gave him nearly $6 million to sign and, 13 months of raking later, they have a big leaguer.