The Astros have announced the promotion of highly touted infield/outfield prospect Alex Bregman and the designation for assignment of infielder Danny Worth. Bregman will join the surging Astros on Monday for the start of their home series against the Yankees.
[RELATED: Updated Astros Depth Chart]
Bregman, whom Keith Law of ESPN (Insider required and recommended) ranks as the best prospect in baseball, has torn through minor league pitching since the Astros selected him second overall in last year’s draft. The 22-year-old ex-LSU standout has been especially impressive this season, having posted a .297/.415/.559 batting line with 14 home runs in 285 plate appearances in Double-A. The Astros’ decision to promote Bregman to Triple-A in late June didn’t slow down the right-handed hitter, who slashed an astounding .356/.397/.685 with six homers in 78 trips to the plate with Fresno. Between the two levels this season, Bregman has recorded more unintentional walks (47) than strikeouts (37), further demonstrating his offensive prowess. Law likens Bregman’s upside at the dish to that of Red Sox star second baseman Dustin Pedroia.
Baseball America rates Bregman as the game’s eighth-best prospect, meanwhile, and praised his “simple, level swing,” bat speed and patience after last season (subscription required and recommended). Moreover, BA lauded his base-running and defensive skills, though there are questions as to where he’ll line up with the Astros. Over the long haul, BA, Law and MLB.com (which has Bregman as the No. 18 overall prospect in the game) see him faring well at short. That would require Houston to move Carlos Correa elsewhere, however (likely third base); notably, MVP candidate Jose Altuve mans second base.
In the near term, the Astros could send Bregman to left field, where they’ve had him spend time in the minors, or third. However, big-money free agent signing Yulieski Gurriel’s forthcoming debut will only complicate things further. That isn’t a negative for the red-hot Astros, though, who have climbed to a season-best 10 games over .500 since a dismal start and are within 2 1/2 games of AL West-leading Texas and a half-game of the second Wild Card spot.
Wherever the Astros play Bregman, it’s fair to assume he’s in the majors for good. With that being the case, he’ll come up short of Super Two status in the likely event he remains with the Astros through the end of the season. Bregman can accrue up to 70 days of service time in the majors this year, meaning he won’t be eligible for arbitration until after 2019 and will stay under club control through the 2022 campaign.
Worth, 30, joined the Astros on a minor league deal over the winter and went on to collect 40 plate appearances with them this year, hitting a meager .179/.200/.231. The longtime member of the Tigers organization owns a .224/.282/.288 line in 332 career PAs.