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Is this the Season Alex Bregman Reaches Escape Velocity?

He has always started slowly and gotten hot with the weather. How good can he end up with an early hot start?

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Houston Astros John Glaser-USA TODAY Sports

Escape velocity: the speed required for an object to break out of the Earth’s gravitational pull in order travel freely in outer space. It is 11.7 Km/sec, several times faster than a bullet.

Is this the year Alex Bregman goes into outer space?

Here’s why he might. But first, some would say he made it into outer space last season. 5th in MVP voting, reaching the rarefied air of 50+ doubles, 30+ homers 100+ runs and RBI in the same season at age 24.

Nonetheless, that is not escape velocity. That is merely high Earth orbit.

The reason why he never achieved escape velocity is because every year of his career, including last year, his initial launch was too slow. Bregman has great career numbers, and for all but the most elite players he had what would be considered a career year last year, but always despite a terribly slow start.

This year he is launching like a moon rocket is supposed to launch. This is the year Alex Bregman attains escape velocity.

Let’s look at Bregman’s season starts in his previous three years. Here is his production in his first 11 games in his first 3 years in the Big Leagues.

2016: -7 wRC+

2017: 84 wRC+

2018: 69 wRC+

This year in his first 11 games Bregman has a 172 wRC+. And that includes his 1-15 slump to start the season. He is hitting 11 for his last 21 PA’s with four walks. His 0.6 fWAR is currently tied for fifth in the AL.

These early slumps were not just for a dozen games either. His 2017 wRC+ in April was 85. In 2018 he came out a bit by the end of the month and managed a 116 for the period of March/April. But in both years Bregman’s April was by far his worst month. His 85 in 2017 was followed by months when he produced 121, 94, 169, 164, 101 May - September. In 2018 his 116 in April was followed by 142, 191, 172, 163, 163 May - September respectively.

But baseball is a weird sport you might say, and maybe this year Bregman may start fast and finish slow. Of course, anything is possible, but I believe that Bregman has not yet hit his stride. He appears to still be trying to find his power stroke early on as in years past, but where he is currently ahead is in his bat on ball contact. If his career trends continue, he will find his power in the summer. But unlike years past, when that happens he will not be trying to overcome an early statistical deficit.

In the last two seasons Bregs has hit only one home run in April, but 10 in May, 13 in June and 9 for each of the months July- September. His career ISO (isolated slugging) is .216, but in April before this year it averaged only .081. So far Bregman, even with his astronomical 172 wRC+, has done so with 10 singles, but only one home run and just two doubles. His ISO so far is only .135, way below career average, but way above his normal April numbers.

To this observer Bregman has avoided his normal early season slump by concentrating on contact rather than home runs. His line drive rate is 37.5%, compared to a career average of 23.1%. He is hitting to center 53.1% of the time, compared to a career average of 35%, and seems to be deliberately eschewing pulling the ball, doing so only 28.1% of the time, compared to a career average of 44.2% of the time. As he did last year, so far this year he continues the remarkable feat of walking as often as he strikes out, doing both 13.3% of PA’s.

One more thing. Last year Bregman had 16 errors, 14 of them throwing errors. Following his elbow surgery last winter, he has had no errors so far this year.

So in short, unlike years past, Alex Bregman is leaving the launch pad fast enough to achieve escape velocity. Expect acceleration to intensify as the second stage rocket of his home run power kicks in soon. This season he should break out of Earth orbit and make it to the Moon, or even Mars!

But probably not to Planet Ruth, the undiscovered 10th planet. Looks like that one is reserved for Mike Trout, currently at 290 wRC+.

(All statistics from Fangraphs 4-9-19 before the Tuesday game)


Last year Alex Bregman achieved 7.6 fWAR. Most projection services project him to achieve about 5 this year. How many do you think he will achieve?

This poll is closed

  • 56%
    more than 7.6
    (96 votes)
  • 43%
    between 5 and 7.6
    (73 votes)
  • 0%
    less than 5
    (0 votes)
169 votes total Vote Now