HOUSTON, TX - USA TODAY announced this morning that Astros third baseman Alex Bregman has been named the 2016 USA TODAY Minor League Player of the Year. Bregman is the first player in Houston franchise history to receive the award, which was created in 1988 and is given annually to the
HOUSTON, TX - USA TODAY announced this morning that Astros third baseman Alex Bregman has been named the 2016 USA TODAY Minor League Player of the Year.
Bregman is the first player in Houston franchise history to receive the award, which was created in 1988 and is given annually to the top performing prospect in the game. Nominees for the award are determined and voted on by a 10-person panel at USA TODAY Sports, in addition to a fan vote component.
This year, Bregman beat out four other finalists, including his current Astros teammate RHP Joe Musgrove. The other finalists were OF Tyler O'Neill of the Seattle Mariners, OF David Dahl of the Colorado Rockies and IF Yoan Moncada of the Boston Red Sox.
In 80 games in the minor leagues this season between Triple A Fresno (18g) and Double A Corpus Christi (62g), Bregman hit .306 (96x314) with 22 doubles, two triples, 20 homers, 61 RBI and a .986 OPS (.406 OBP/.580 SLG) while posting more walks (47) than strikeouts (38). A Double A Texas League Midseason and Postseason All-Star, Bregman also started at third base for the U.S. Team in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, falling a homer shy of the cycle.
The No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 draft became the first position player from his draft class to debut in the Major Leagues when he started at third base on July 25 vs. the New York Yankees. After a slow 10-game start to his Major League career, Bregman has been one of the top players in the American League since August 6, batting .333 (40x120) with 10 doubles, one triple, seven homers, 26 RBI and a .990 OPS (.382 OBP/.608 SLG) in 28 games. During that timeframe, Bregman has ranked among the top 10 AL hitters in doubles (T-2nd), extra-base hits (T-2nd), runs (3rd), RBI (T-5th) and hits (6th), and the top two AL rookies in runs (1st), RBI (1st), hits (1st), doubles (2nd), homers (2nd), on-base percentage (2nd), slugging percentage (2nd), OPS (2nd) and batting average (2nd).
Of the 27 players to win the USA TODAY Minor League Player of the Year award prior to Bregman, 18 went on to become All-Stars in the Major Leagues, including seven of the last 10. The last 10 players to win the award were LHP Blake Snell (2015), IF Kris Bryant (2014), IF Xander Bogaerts (2013), OF Wil Myers (2012), IF Paul Goldschmidt (2011), RHP Jeremy Hellickson (2010), OF Jason Heyward (2009), LHP David Price (2008), OF Justin Upton (2007) and RHP Matt Garza (2006).
Last year, Astros IF A.J. Reed was one of five finalists for the USA TODAY Minor League Player of the Year award.