Will this postseason become Breg-tober? 

AL MVP Award candidate hopes to get Astros back to World Series

October 4th, 2019

HOUSTON -- is swagger. He’s confidence personified. He’s exactly what baseball needs: a young, bold and talented superstar who’s never satisfied and never shies away from hard work or the cameras. Bregman was built for postseason.

Are you ready for Breg-tober?

“It’s why we play the game … postseason,” said Bregman, whose Astros open the playoffs with Game 1 of the American League Division Series on Friday afternoon at Minute Maid Park against the Rays, 5-1 winners of the Wild Card Game over the A’s.

If Bregman’s postseason is anything like his regular season, the Astros are going to be in for an October joyride. Bregman was the catalyst of Houston’s record-setting offense, thrusting himself into the AL Most Valuable Player Award race.

Bregman had the best season of his career, hitting .296 and leading the team in OPS (1.015), home runs (41), runs (122), RBIs (112), walks (119), on-base percentage (.423) and slugging percentage (.592). Bregman started 91 games at third base and slid over for another 59 at shortstop, mostly while was on the injured list.

There really isn’t anything in baseball that can’t be measured by numbers these days, but Astros manager AJ Hinch says there’s more to Bregman than his gaudy stats. There’s preparation, there’s dugout banter and there are dugout celebrations, which have become must-see TV after Bregman hits a homer.

“Just things that add to a culture of playing 162 games you can’t fake, you can’t pretend,” Hinch said. “It’s part of your DNA or not. He’s as authentic as a baseball player as I’ve ever been around and as likable as anybody on our team. The other side probably feels a little differently. He plays with a little chip on his shoulder that irritates some people. I love that about him, and he owns it and doesn’t run from it.”

What makes October so special for Bregman is everything is so magnified.

“It’s a style of baseball that you play to win,” Bregman said. “You do that during the season, of course. But it’s just magnified, the winning aspect. All that matters is winning. Nothing else. Win at all cost. That’s why I love playing the game.”

Bregman’s not shy about his goal to become the best player in baseball. In many ways, he was born to play the game. His grandfather was the general counsel for the Washington Senators, and he says his dad grew up on Ted Williams' lap. The family name is attached to history, but Alex is cool with the kids, too.

From his YouTube videos to his charity work -- he has a foundation for autism, “AB for Autism” -- to his infamous dugout stares, Bregman is always center stage. He loves bringing his personality to the fans and being a part of the baseball culture nationwide.

“He’s definitely not shy to say how much he enjoys it,” pitcher said. “If there’s anything you can count on from Bregman, the enthusiasm and mentality is going to be as consistent [in the playoffs] as it’s been all year. He’s always the guy to go to for a laugh in a tough bind.”

Cole says he has had numerous texts from friends and other players asking if Bregman is as good of a dude as he is a ballplayer. That’s affirmative.

“They’re like, ‘Man, that’s so cool,’” Cole said. “It doesn’t often sync up like that, so it’s really been a blessing to be around.”

Hinch says no one should be surprised Bregman is the way he is because he’s a baseball rat through and through. He can do anything he puts his mind to.

“When the season started, he had kind of outlandish goals, and he’s essentially completed all of them,” Hinch said. “He wanted to hit 50 homers instead of 40 homers. He doesn’t think anybody can get him out. He doesn’t think there’s any goal that’s not attainable. He puts in the work, studying the day-to-day grind. It’s exactly what he gets out of it. I’m not surprised because I know what kind of makeup he has and what kind of preparation he has to be the best in baseball.”

Despite his persona, Bregman’s priorities are where they need to be: getting the Astros back to the World Series. Whatever they achieve this fall, you know Bregman will be in the middle of it and having the time of his life.

“His brand, or his sort of popularity, is great, but it’s even greater when you play at his level,” Hinch said. “He knows what he needs to do in order to be a great player first and then utilize that outreach, whether it’s autism, whether it’s YouTube followers, whether it’s the Instagram posts, the motivation stuff. All of that is important to him, but nothing is more important than winning.”