Does Alex Bregman Have King-Like Value? (2019 Fantasy Baseball)

by Alex Altmix | @Altmix_23 | Featured Writer
Feb 25, 2019

If you have heard anything about Alex Bregman lately, it is probably about how he “wants it all.” Quite literally, this guy wants it all. Not only does he want to be a global icon on and off the field, but he also wants to be, and I quote, “the LeBron James of baseball.” Those are some pretty lofty goals for a 24-year-old.

The young slugger is hilarious, we have to give him that. Check out his Youtube channel sometime. Bregman has a wonderful personality that baseball could no doubt use more of. Is he global-icon worthy yet, however? Maybe not. When you think of the Houston Astros, Jose Altuve and Justin Verlander are two names that probably pop into your head before Alex Bregman does.

But, Bregman is getting there. Not that fantasy baseball is emblematic of stardom exactly, but for the first time, Bregman will be drafted before both Altuve and Verlander in some drafts. In fact, Bregman could even slide up and be taken in the first round of select leagues. Mix that baseball production in with his off-the-field prowess, and you get the mix of a budding young icon of the game.

But to be the LeBron James of baseball, it’s going to take more than a strong off-the-field presence for Bregman. Yes, LeBron’s life goes much deeper than basketball, but the first, second, and 10th things that come to mind about James are his on-court successes. So, can Bregman be just that in 2019? Let’s take a look at all the factors that could play a part.

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What Injury?
Bregman had surgery on his elbow in January to remove a few loose bodies. It’s been reported that if this surgery had happened during the season, he would have missed six weeks. Bregman is already back to hitting and throwing and could participate in Grapefruit League games toward the beginning of March. All signs point to Bregman being perfectly healthy and ready to roll for the start of the season. Furthermore, Bregman might even be healthier than he was last year if the loose bodies in his elbow gave him any trouble. He’ll be out there rocking on Opening Day for the Astros.

Statistical Improvements
To put it bluntly, there’s no reason not to believe Alex Bregman can’t improve upon every meaningful statistic in 2019. The perfect player comparison for Bregman is Francisco Lindor, who has played one more season in the bigs.

Here are Lindor’s statlines for his first four seasons.

Season Team G PA HR R RBI SB BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ BsR Off
2015 Indians 99 438 12 50 51 12 6.2 % 15.8 % .169 .348 .313 .353 .482 .358 126 -0.8 12.2
2016 Indians 158 684 15 99 78 19 8.3 % 12.9 % .134 .324 .301 .358 .435 .340 109 0.8 8.6
2017 Indians 159 723 33 99 89 15 8.3 % 12.9 % .232 .275 .273 .337 .505 .353 117 4.7 19.5
2018 Indians 158 745 38 129 92 25 9.4 % 14.4 % .242 .279 .277 .352 .519 .368 130 1.2 28.3

 
Here are Alex Bregman’s statlines for his first three years.

Season Team G PA HR R RBI SB BB% K% ISO BABIP AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ BsR Off
2016 Astros 49 217 8 31 34 2 6.9 % 24.0 % .214 .317 .264 .313 .478 .336 114 0.7 4.4
2017 Astros 155 626 19 88 71 17 8.8 % 15.5 % .191 .311 .284 .352 .475 .351 123 0.3 18.2
2018 Astros 157 705 31 105 103 10 13.6 % 12.1 % .246 .289 .286 .394 .532 .396 157 3.4 51.4

 
These two young stars’ numbers are eerily similar across the board. Both have a few advantages on the other here and there, but the improvements throughout each of their first few years are remarkable.

Based upon the similarities throughout, there’s no reason why we should not expect the same amount of improvement out of Bregman in year four that we saw out of Lindor. Sure, Bregman can’t be expected to steal 25 bases, but I would bet my last dollar he finishes with more than 10. His baserunning numbers showed that he was an excellent player on the basepaths, but he attempted only 14 stolen bases overall. If Bregman actually has the “best player in the game” mindset he’s been talking about, he’ll attempt more than 14 swipes this season. The ceiling for his running game is really whatever he and the Astros limit himself to, but 15 to 20 is absolutely possible.

Take a look at the power numbers. Even though Bregman finished with seven less home runs than Lindor, Bregman actually had the better isolated power average. Both players finished in the top 20 overall in MLB in that stat (Lindor at 20 and Bregman at 18), and Bregman obviously has great power potential. His 31 home runs last year weren’t a fluke. Many people have been surprised by Lindor’s power the last two years, but Bregman’s now should not catch you off guard. Setting the over/under on home runs at 35 for Alex Bregman this season isn’t a stretch.

Owners shouldn’t be hoping for Bregman’s average to skyrocket or anything, as his numbers don’t really show that. However, expecting a 24-year-old developing star’s average to go up isn’t exactly a far-out expectation. Many projections show Bregman hitting above .290 for the upcoming season, and that’s definitely in play.

The RBI and run numbers will be there for Bregman, plain and simple. Hitting in the middle of the Houston lineup, with the power and on-base percentage he will put up, should easily get Bregman over the century mark for both figures.

Bregman’s 2019 Value
Well, a .290 AVG, 35 HR, 110 RBI, 110 R, 15 SB season looks pretty tasty for fantasy owners. Bregman currently sits at number 15 in the FantasyPros’ Expert Consensus Rankings, and that’s just about right. However, with a potential statline like that and knowing the mindset this player has, no one should contend with an owner who wants to snag Bregman at the end of the first round. An easy argument could be made for taking Bregman over guys like Jose Altuve, Jacob deGrom, Manny Machado, and even Trea Turner.

Francisco Lindor was a fantastic value for owners in the second round last year, and Bregman could be exactly that in 2019.

While Alex Bregman looks poised to grow and have another fantastic season, we probably shouldn’t start calling him “King Bregman” just yet… But he might be well on his way to earning himself that title.

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Alex Altmix is a featured writer at FantasyPros. For more from Alex, check out his archive or follow him @Altmix_23.

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