At 23 years old, many people are still figuring out who they are and what direction their life is headed in. At 23 years old, Alex Bregman went straight to the mountain top and brought the city of Houston a World Series title.
“It’s incredible, it feels like you’ve lived a childhood dream,” the Astros infielder told me in an interview during spring training this month.
But big things seem to just happen for Bregman. He became the first high school athlete to win the USA Baseball Player of the Year Award as a 16-year-old sophomore. He batted .678 his junior year, setting a New Mexico state record with 19 home runs in a single season.
At the college level, Bregman played three years of baseball at LSU, and he credits much of his Major League success to the university.
“I think playing at LSU, you play in front of big crowds, you play in high pressure situations, so that way when you’re in professional baseball and playing in the big leagues - playing in front of the big crowds and the high pressure situations - you’re ready for that,” he said. “You feel comfortable almost in uncomfortable situations. You play against good competition too. So, it helped a lot.”
Bregman made several connections in Baton Rouge that will last a lifetime, and he makes sure to come back to Death Valley at least once a year.
“I maintain contact with a lot of people (from LSU). All my teammates, coaches, some friends that I have in the area still. But yeah, I go back every year for a big football game, and this year that’ll be Alabama.”
As a Tiger, he became a two-time All-American, was voted 2013 National Freshman of the Year by Baseball America, and took home the 2013 Brooks Wallace Award as the nation’s best shortstop.
During his 2017 campaign with Houston, Bregman - now a third baseman - hit .284, racked up 39 doubles and 19 home runs, with 17 stolen bases.
Bregman still sees room for personal improvement despite being a key part of a team that won it all- and he’s been working at it all offseason.
“It’s every phase of the game. Just trying to improve offensively, defensively, running the bases. I want to improve in every aspect of the game,” he said. “I’m also working on improving my diet, my workout routine during the season. I need to make sure I’m healthy and strong for a full 162 games.”
Bregman hasn’t had the chance to watch his former team lately. He’s been preparing himself to make another World Series run.
“I haven’t been keeping up with them. I’ve been locked in during spring training, so I haven’t really kept up.”
But the former Tigers shortstop has confidence the Paul Mainieri-coached team will find themselves at the top when the end of the season rolls around.
“They always will find a way to be rolling towards the end of the year. They’ll always be ready when it comes to SEC play. They’ll always be one of the better teams in the country,” he said.
For Bregman, this is all just the beginning - and Houston should expect more World Series in the future.
“The best part about this team is that we’re not done yet,” he said. “We want to keep winning, we want to keep chasing as many championships as we can. We’ve got a good group of guys that are motivated every day, that show up to the yard every day ready to compete.”
Bregman and the Astros will open their 2018 season today at the Texas Rangers in Dallas at 2:30 p.m. on ESPN.