HOUSTON -- Before they were making big impacts for the Astros during their drive for the playoffs in August and September, infielder Alex Bregman and right-handed pitcher Joe Musgrove were standouts in the Minor Leagues during the first four months of the season.
Bregman, who was the first position player from the 2015 Draft (No. 2 overall pick) to reach the big leagues, was named the Astros' Minor League Player of the Year, and Musgrove was named the team's Minor League Pitcher of the Year by MLBPipeline.com.
Bregman, 22, hit .306 with 22 doubles, 20 homers, 61 RBIs and a .986 OPS in 80 games between Triple-A Fresno and Double-A Corpus Christi before making his Major League debut with the Astros in July. A Double-A Texas League Midseason and Postseason All-Star, Bregman was named MLBPipeline.com Hitter of the Year.
Musgrove went a combined 7-4 with a 2.74 ERA in 16 games (14 starts) between Corpus Christi and Fresno, walking 10 batters and striking out 87 in 85 1/3 innings. He made his Major League debut on Aug. 2.
"It was definitely a really beneficial year from a learning standpoint," Musgrove said. "Getting a chance to get up here and kind of earn the respect of some of the guys and show the guys that I'm able to compete at this level was important to me. Getting out there and going through a little bit of failure and learning the adjustments I needed to make, I feel I ended on a good note this year, a strong note at least going into the offseason and knowing what I need to work on. I'm ready to go for next year."
Bregman overcame a 1-for-32 start for Houston and settled in nicely in the No. 2 spot in the batting order, hitting .264 with eight homers and 34 RBIs in 49 games. He missed two weeks with a strained hamstring late in the season.
"He's very valuable," Astros manager A.J. Hinch said. "I'll take four of his at-bats every single night. He's just an all-around really good player, and to have him really in the middle of everything that goes on in our lineup is a big deal for us. It just makes us that much better."
Musgrove struck out eight batters in 4 1/3 innings of relief in his Major League debut and then made 10 starts, going 4-4 with a 4.06 ERA, walking 16 and striking out 55 in 62 innings.
"I feel like I set myself up nicely," he said. "I understand they had no spot to really give and I'm just going to go out there and do my job and earn the spot. But I feel like I've done a lot and proven to them that I'm able to compete at this level and they've kind of gotten a chance to see me compete and see what I have. I feel like they're confident in me and happy with where we're now and they're looking forward to next season."