In Short Order: The World Series was Alex Bregman's personal playground
Welcome to In Short Order, a weekly look at all the baseball that I like and can't stop obsessing over. We'll mostly live at the edges of the game; at the intersection of the weird, the fun and the esoteric. Oh yeah, and hair.
If this was a normal World Series -- without the dingers, comebacks and George Springer -- Alex Bregman's defensive debutante ball would have been one of the major storylines. While everyone knew Bregman was an emerging star with a powerful bat, it appears that we had overlooked his glove.
His emergence in the national consciousness started when he made the incredibly daring, perhaps game-changing decision to throw home to get Greg Bird in Game 7 of the ALCS. It was a difficult play to begin with, as he needed to race in to snag Todd Frazier's slow roller, but that he decided to go home -- with a throw that had to be absolutely perfect -- was something very special.
It shouldn't have been a surprise: After all, he was a shortstop who slid down the defensive spectrum only because of Carlos Correa.
He charged in again in the World Series to throw home. He went to his right to short-hop a ball and throw out the unstoppable Chris Taylor:
And, he can go to his left:
In fact, one of the few times he didn't get the ball, he showed he has too much range at the position as it is likely that Correa would have been able to field it.
Though Adrian Beltre and Nolan Arenado have been headlining the impressive crop of current third basemen, the postseason was proof that Bregman belongs among this group, too. After all, his glove is going to the Hall of Fame:
Headed for Cooperstown: Alex Bregman's fielding glove, Charlie Morton's Game 7 cap, Justin Verlander's Game 6 jersey.- Richard Justice (@richardjustice) November 2, 2017
Now on to the weird stuff:
Carlos Beltran: He's just like us!
Sure, Beltran has a 20-year big league career, over 400 home runs and a good chance of being elected to the Hall of Fame when everything is said and done, but it turns out he's not great at everything. And that missing talent is ... eating sunflower seeds.
While every other big leaguer makes eating sunflower seeds look like the most natural thing in the world, Beltran looks like the Little Leaguer trying to figure them out for the first time.
Cody Bellinger has no bones
Bellinger's postseason was one of extremes, as he either came up with big hits or went down swinging -- most likely on a back-foot breaking ball. However, there may be a reason for that: It appears that his bones are actually pliable cartilage. Just watch him swing -- it's almost completely fluid, sometimes appearing like he doesn't even have a spine:
In fact, there may be an even better comparison: He's the Pinocchio-like real boy version of Goofy playing baseball. Don't believe me? Then look on:
Pitchers who (kind of) rake
When Lance McCullers Jr. drove in Brian McCann with a groundout in Game 7, it was the first time that an AL pitcher knocked in a World Series run since Andy Pettitte in the 2009 World Series. Pettitte's single should be forever watched on repeat. If not for the single, then for the look of complete shock on his face when he realized he made contact.
Or for the fact that there's a comic stumble about between Nick Swisher and catcher Carlos Ruiz:
What to watch this weekend:
Did you think that just because the baseball season was finished that there was no more baseball for you to obsess over? Oh, silly human: there is no offseason. On Saturday night at 8 p.m. ET, MLB Network and MLB.com will broadcast the game's future stars in the Arizona Fall League's Fall Stars game (Last year's game featured players like Bellinger, Bradley Zimmer, Gleyber Torres and Brett Phillips among others.)
While there are plenty of big names with bright tools on this year's roster, it is the Rey Ordonez-esque defense of Mets' No. 11 prospect Luis Guillorme that has me most excited. If the 2017 season taught us anything, it's that every pitcher can throw over 95-mph, and every hitter has the capacity to hit 30-plus dingers, but not everybody can do things like this: