Why Bregman may be better than ever in '23

January 18th, 2023

This story was excerpted from Brian McTaggart’s Astros Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

Astros third baseman  might very well be coming off the best year of his life, having gotten back on track with a second-half surge that helped Houston win its second World Series while his wife, Reagan, gave birth to the couple’s first child -- the aptly named Knox, whose father had quite a few (knocks) himself last year.

With momentum on his side on the field and in his personal life, Bregman is feeling the anticipation of the 2023 season with Spring Training around the corner. Bregman, you might remember, broke his left index finger in the Game 6 World Series win over the Phillies on Nov. 5, but he started swinging the bat around the beginning of January with no issues.

“Just excited to get to Spring Training,” Bregman said. “My finger’s feeling great.”

Bregman, who will turn 29 on Opening Day, slashed .259/.366/.454 with 23 homers, 87 walks, 93 runs scored and 93 RBIs in 155 games last year -- his first healthy season since his monster 2019 campaign in which he finished second in the American League Most Valuable Player voting.

Bregman posted a .907 OPS in his final 56 games of the regular season -- which coincided with the Aug. 1 birth of Knox -- and reached base safely in all 13 of the Astros' games in the postseason, hitting .294 (15-for-51) with five doubles, three homers and 11 RBIs with a .379 on-base percentage and a .948 OPS.

“I felt the best swinging the bat this offseason as I have in a long time,” Bregman said. “This has felt like the shortest offseason of my career, to be honest with you. It’s great. I never complain about a short offseason. It means you played for a long time.”

The Astros have advanced to the ALCS in each of Bregman’s six Major League seasons, winning four pennants and two World Series in that time. Winning in the big leagues is all he’s known. So it should be no surprise the anticipation level for the 2023 season -- one in which Houston is favored to win another pennant -- is high.

“I feel good going into the season; I’m excited,” Bregman said. “I can’t wait to get there and get started. To finish the year the way we did and to win it, it adds to the excitement.”

But first things first. Bregman will be among the Astros’ contingent traveling to Uvalde, Texas, as part of the team’s Caravan on Thursday and will be making an appearance at FanFest on Saturday at Minute Maid Park. He’s hosting the sixth annual Houston Sports Awards on Jan. 25 in Houston.