Alex Bregman is predicting an Astros dynasty like the Miami Heat, so who is the best match for each team?
During an appearance at Astros FanFest on Saturday in Houston, Alex Bregman was in the process of musing about his 2017 World Series ring when he made a bold proclamation about the team's future (as seen in the video above).
"The day they gave us the [World Series] ring, I put it in my closet and I haven't looked at it because I want another one," said Bregman. "I'll put the second one away after we win the third. ... The Astros are going to be a dynasty."
Bregman cited the Miami Heat teams of LeBron James as an inspiration. After all, LeBron didn't go to Miami to win one championship -- he wanted multiple. Sure enough, the Heat made the NBA Finals in each of LeBron's four seasons in Miami from 2010-14, a stretch that included back-to-back titles in the middle.
Do these Astros compare with those Heat teams, though? It's clear that there's more than enough talent to go around in Houston, and Miami had that in spades. Since the NBA floor only allows five players at a time, we can find five Astros to match up with five of those Heat stars.
Just like LeBron, Verlander was the superstar who showed up at the right time to lead his team to glory. Both had MVP reputations when they joined their squads, and they lived up to the high billing.
Give Verlander a little extra credit though -- while the Heat fell short of the NBA championship in LeBron's first season, Verlander went from August trade acquisition to leading the Astros to the World Series title just two months later.
Wade and Altuve were the mainstays, part of the team even when times were going tough. Wade was the leader of the Heat's most recent championship club in 2006, but he saw them plummet to a league-worst 15-67 record by 2008. Similarly, Altuve was one of the few Astros remaining from the stretch that saw them lose at least 100 games three years in a row.
Both players persevered, and both were rewarded when their sensational play brought their teams to the top.
Chris Bosh: Alex Bregman
We'll acknowledge that this comparison doesn't work quite as well as the LeBron/Verlander one because Bregman didn't join the Astros from another team like Bosh did when he signed with the Heat after a sterling tenure with the Toronto Raptors.
Think about 2017 though. Bregman debuted in 2016 but he didn't come into his own as a star until the next year, when he and Verlander were arguably the two difference-makers that the Astros were missing during their shortened playoff run in 2015. Matching the duo, Bosh came aboard at the same time as LeBron, and they teamed up with Wade to take the Heat to the next level.
Plus, they both make phenomenal faces.
Like Allen, Cole was the high-profile name who joined his team after it had already won a championship, and he was key to the quest for a second. Allen delivered in his first season with the Heat, most famously sinking a game-tying shot with five seconds left in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals against the San Antonio Spurs, saving Miami from elimination:
Cole was fantastic during year one in Houston, making the All-Star team and finishing fifth in American League Cy Young Award voting, though the Astros came up short in the ALCS. Perhaps he can channel Allen with a clutch moment next season to match that miracle shot.
It was a long road to the NBA's promised land for Battier. A defensive standout for a decade with the Memphis Grizzlies and Houston Rockets, Battier nonetheless had barely been a part of any postseason success before joining the Heat in 2011. At last, he found his perfect team, and he even caught fire from three-point range during the victorious NBA Finals in both 2012 and 2013.
Battier could probably relate to Brantley's situation. The 2019 season will be his 11th in the Majors, and since he was injured during the Indians' World Series loss to the Cubs in 2016, the three-time All-Star has yet to play in a Fall Classic. In December, he signed a two-year deal with the Astros with the hopes of finally getting that ring.