Bregman 'interested' in extension with Astros 

All-Star third baseman won't become free agent until after 2022 season

February 28th, 2019

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- On the heels of contract extensions given out recently to his former LSU teammate Aaron Nola of the Phillies and fellow All-Star third baseman Nolan Arenado of the Rockies, Astros third baseman Alex Bregman said Thursday he would be open to talking about an extension with Houston.

“I am definitely interested in hearing what they have to say, yeah,” he said. “Definitely interested in that.”

Bregman wouldn’t say whether he’s had any contract negotiations with the Astros, but there’s no doubt the Astros would like to keep their young core together, with Bregman at the center with Jose Altuve, who signed a five-year, $151-million extension a year ago.

Bregman finished fifth in the American League Most Valuable Player Award voting last year with a breakout season in which he was named to his first All-Star team and was named the Astros' Most Valuable Player. The Astros still have him under contract through 2022, but an extension could give him some security.

Earlier this week, Arenado signed an eight-year, $260 million extension with the Rockies. Arenado is three years older (27) than Bregman (24) and more established, being a four-time All-Star, a six-time Gold Glove Award winner and with three consecutive top five MVP finishes. Another third baseman, Manny Machado, signed a 10-year, $300-million free agent deal with the Padres earlier this month.

Nola, a pitcher who overlapped with Bregman at LSU, signed a four-year, $45-million extension earlier this month.

“It’s pretty cool, good for them and their family, their team and their organization,” Bregman said. “You see a guy like Arenado who’s been unbelievable. He deserves it. I’m definitely open to listening to what they have to say.”

In addition to his rising star on the field, Bregman is quickly becoming one of the most marketable players in the game. Opendorse, an athlete marketing platform, issued a press release Thursday in which it proclaimed Bregman’s total social media engagements during the 2018-19 offseason were more than double of the next highest player on the list, Marcus Stroman of the Blue Jays.

“It’s super cool, and I think a lot of players are starting to realize they have enormous reach and more players are becoming more willing to showing them their personalities and who they are,” Bregman said. “I think social media is a great tool if you use it the right way.”

Astros value spin rate

It’s no secret how much the Astros value spin rate and like many clubs they use the latest technology to give pitchers instant feedback on the spin rate. Pitcher Akeem Bostick, who split last year between Triple-A and Double-A and is in his first big league camp, has been working hard on improving the spin rate on his curveball while trying to get better command of his cutter.

In his outing against the Nationals on Wednesday, Bostick – an imposing 6-foot-6 right-hander – said his curveball spin rate was close to 2,300 rpm, which is a step in the right direction. He said he’s typically around 2,100 rpm and is trying to reach 2,400 or 2,500 rpm. By comparison, reliever Ryan Pressly’s spin rate of 3,225 rpm ranked second in baseball last year, according to Statcast.

Bostick is a believer in the data.

“I felt like in the bullpen and especially the pitch I threw to [Juan] Soto, it had better action and a little more depth,” he said.

Bostick, a former football player in high school and the cousin of NFL tight end Brandon Bostick, is a tad shorter than top pitching prospect Forrest Whitley, who stands 6-foot-7 and is the tallest player in Astros camp. Bostick said he chose baseball because of the longevity of players in the game.

“I felt like I would have a longer career playing baseball that I would in football from the beatings to the body,” he said. “I still, every once in a while, sling the football around the yard with little cousins or something.”

Up next

Framber Valdez, who's competing with Brad Peacock for the fifth spot in the rotation, will make his second appearance of the spring when the Astros meet the Cardinals at 5:05 p.m. CT in West Palm Beach. Valdez threw two scoreless innings against the Braves on Sunday.