Alex Bregman is Back to His Old Self, Helping Lead the Astros

Alex Bregman is on a heater, and his hot hitting is a major reason why the Astros are surging up the standings.

Alex Bregman #2 of the Houston Astros celebrates his grand slam homerun with Jose Altuve #27 and Kyle Tucker #30, to take a 5-3 lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers, during the fifth inning at Dodger Stadium.
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 24: Alex Bregman #2 of the Houston Astros celebrates his grand slam homerun with Jose Altuve #27 and Kyle Tucker #30, to take a 5-3 lead over the Los Angeles Dodgers, during the fifth inning at Dodger Stadium on June 24, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

In one of the more fascinating story lines of the MLB season, Alex Bregman has managed to pull himself out of his horrendous start to the season. This would be noteworthy any year, but the fact that he is in a contract season and the Astros also struggled mightily early, makes it even more captivating.

It was just over a month and a half ago that I penned a piece here at Just Baseball that highlighted both Bregman’s and the Astros weak starts. Fast forward to the first of July and the issues are cleared up and they are both rolling.

Obviously Bregman isn’t the only reason that Houston is on a hot streak and heading up the standings. But he is a large part of their success. The veteran third baseman has righted the ship. He has been producing at a clip that is at, or above, his historic numbers.

Alex Bregman’s Recent Hot Streak

In a way I feel like I should take some credit for Bregman turning his season around. Just kidding. But reality is, from the day that my article got published that questioned his start to the season, the guy has been en fuego.

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That very night he had his best game of the season. He went 3-for-4, with a double, two home runs, scored three, and had four RBI. The video below shows his home run the next night. He would have yet another double that evening as well. Talk about getting things to click.

We all knew that Bregman was going to get back on track. However, we might have underestimated how quickly it would come together. Taking a look at his numbers before, and then after the May 13th date, showing two different stories.

In his first 37 games played he had a slash line of .201/.270/.264, with six doubles, no triples, one home run, eight runs, and 13 RBI. Not good by anyone’s standards. Especially from a two-time All-Star that just missed out on the AL MVP in 2019. That year Mike Trout just edged him in the voting.

Over the course of his last 42 games, Bregman has slashed .287/.339/.509, with 10 doubles, two triples, eight home runs, 29 runs, and 24 RBI. Now that is the Breggy that everyone has come to expect over the last nine seasons.

Houston Astros are Surging

With Bregman hitting well, it allowed rookie manager Joe Espada to move him back into the top of the order. And even though Kyle Tucker has been out of action since fouling a ball off of his shin on June 3rd, the Astros keep winning.

Houston still has an ultra-thin starting rotation at the moment, but that hasn’t stopped them from winning either. They will no doubt be in the market for some pitching depth as the trade deadline approaches.

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The Astros are the hottest team in baseball at the moment. Since that May 13th date, the club is 27-16, and they have won nine of their last 10 games.

On June 26th the Astros reached the .500 mark for the first time this year. Then on Sunday, the team was able to get above .500 for the first time all season. They are now 43-41. That puts them three games out of first place in the AL West (trailing only Seattle). They are also only three games out of the Wild Card.

Houston has overcome so many injuries and setbacks this year. It is a testament to the team’s moxie that they find themselves in the position that they are.

Astros Pushing Hard as Postseason Window Closing

It is no secret that the run that the Astros have been on over the last seven seasons has been legendary. The fact that it has lasted this long, throws this group into the dynasty category very easily.

But are we nearing the end of dominance in Houston? The short answer is yes.

With an aging core and the loss of several key players over the years it is inevitable that the high level of winning will slow sooner rather than later.

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With that said, there are a bunch of guys on this Astros team, Bregman included, that know how to win and will be doing everything that they can to keep it going. This strong push over the last month and a half is evident of what they are capable of doing. They will not ride off into the sunset without a fight.

When we get to the end of September, if the Astros find themselves in the playoffs, watch out. They are a team that nobody is going to want to face. Even if they aren’t the best team on paper anymore, they have the “been there, done that” factor that is hard to take down in baseball.

What Does the Future Hold for Bregman?

With no contract extension in place, is this the last dance for Bregman while donning the Astros orange and navy? History points to yes.

The Astros have shown a propensity to either sign players to extensions prior to them getting to the end of their contracts or letting them go on their way. Bregman himself signed a five-year, $100 million contract before 2020. It made sure that he would remain an Astro for his first two free agency years. This is the last year of that contract.

Jose Altuve was extended this past offseason through his 39-year-old season. Yordan Alvarez has also been signed to a long-term contract. Kyle Tucker will be a free agent at the end of next year and something will need to be done to retain him.

The thought of letting Bregman walk at the end of the year would be preposterous for many organizations. But owner Jim Crane and the Astros have shown that they are ok watching some of their superstars head on to other organizations.

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They let Carlos Correa, George Springer, and Justin Verlander (although he is back) head off into free agency. The teams track record in doing this points to the idea that this is liable to be Bregman’s last ride with the Astros.

If that is the case, Bregman is sure to not only be pushing hard to help the team do great things this year, but also building up his case to be signed to a lucrative contract this coming offseason.