HOUSTON — Third baseman Alex Bregman said he couldn’t be happier being with the Houston Astros, the team that drafted him second overall out of LSU in 2015 and the club he helped to win a World Series last October.
But he didn’t deny being upset that the Diamondbacks didn’t select him with the first overall pick that year. They instead went with Vanderbilt shortstop Dansby Swanson.
“I was super happy to come to a good organization like the Astros, an organization that was up-and-coming,” Bregman said. “But, yeah, I was pissed. I wanted to be the Number 1 overall pick. Part of the reason I wear (uniform) Number 2 is because of that.”
At this point, there is little doubt Bregman has been the best player to emerge from that draft. He is enjoying a huge year in his second full season as an everyday player, entering Saturday with a .295 average, 50 doubles, 30 homers, a .950 OPS (on-base-plus-slugging) and 10 steals. He might not win the American League MVP award, but he’ll at least get consideration.
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Prior to the draft in 2015, the Diamondbacks never appeared to put much consideration into taking Bregman at No. 1. He was undersized. He was viewed as less of a sure thing to stay at short than Swanson. He did not have the same smooth and easy actions as Swanson. Moreover, the team’s scouting department believed in Swanson’s bat and loved his makeup and leadership potential.
Bregman said he could tell the Diamondbacks weren’t interested in him.
“Not at all,” Bregman said. “They were Swanson all the way. The Astros, on the other hand, were the other way around. My agent asked a lot of the teams and it was pretty much 50/50.”
Bregman said the Diamondbacks showed interest in drafting him out of high school in 2012. But they passed on him in the first round, selecting catcher Stryker Trahan at No. 26 overall instead, then called Bregman to see, he said, if he would sign as a second-round pick.
“I told them I was going to school,” said Bregman, who wore uniform No. 30 in college to reflect the number of teams that passed on him in the first round.
Swanson has not proven to be a bad pick, at least not when viewed through the prism of the baseball draft, which tends to be far less reliable than other sports’ drafts. While he has stuck at shortstop and played the position well — he has, at least, according to advanced defensive metrics — been far less impactful of an offensive player. He entered Saturday with a .241 average, 14 homers and a .704 OPS.
Of course, he’s doing that for the Atlanta Braves, where he was sent by the Diamondbacks as part of the ill-fated Shelby Miller trade.
Asked if he thought the Diamondbacks would have traded him, as well, had he been taken first overall, Bregman smiled.
“I don’t know,” he said. “Maybe not.”