It’s not a secret that Alex Bregman didn’t have the season Astros fans were expecting from him. Well, many Astros players didn’t the have season Astros fans were expecting from them in 2020, what with all the...well...you know. Let us speak no more about that.
Although Bregman hit a respectable .801 OPS in 2020, it’s a full 100 points below his career average of .902.
But you can expect A-Breg to have a bounce-back year in 2021. And there are several reasons to believe he can be the Alex we’re used to seeing, the one who’s building up a Hall-of-Fame career. Besides, the Astros NEED him at his best this year, especially considering they’ll probably lose George Springer’s bat to another suitor.
His elite plate discipline remained intact in 2020. His contact percentage was 85.3, which would have been the third-best in the American League had Bregman accumulated the necessary 186 plate appearances to qualify. To make it more incredible, that means he hit almost nine of every ten pitches he went after. Elite!
Bregman’s eyes are blessed too and he proved that again in 20’. He only chased at a 18.1 percent of the pitches he saw out of the strike zone while the MLB average was 28.2 percent.
Besides, he only whiffed on 14.7 percent of swings and made contact 91.8 percent of the time when he swung at a pitch in the strike zone. Those aspects of his game make him really tough to strike out: 14.4 K% in 2020 (MLB average was 23.4%).
On the other hand, he had a career-worst .254 BABIP last year, which may qualify as bad luck considering he registered a similar exit velocity (88.9 MPH) as before, didn’t have big changes in his launch angle, and hit line drives at a higher rate than 2017, 2018, and 2019, according to Baseball Savant.
Plus, Bregs is a notorious slow starter. His March/April career OPS is only .765. That’s about half the season in 2020. And just as he was getting it going in 2020 he pulled his hamstring. It was back to square one when he returned. Seems that Alex never really had a chance to get his touch and timing last year.
Then there’s his age (26) and the common, logical thought that makes you think he hasn’t left his prime behind. His down 2020 might have been a product of the struggles to structure the season, to get ready for it in almost no time, and a tough environment for the Astros team.
But, hey, it’s time to trust in A-Breg for 2021.