HOUSTON—Shortstop Alex Bregman was supposed to be facing the best pitchers he had ever seen as he opened the season at Double-A Corpus Christi.
Yet, early in the season, the 22-year-old was mashing home runs at a rate he didn’t in his three years at Louisiana State or last summer at two Class A stops.
Bregman, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 draft, introduced himself to the Texas League with five homers in a six-game span from April 11-16, surpassing in just 40 at-bats his total of four from last season.
He attributed his early-season power surge to his preparation during the offseason.
While focusing on mobility, stability and flexibility and improving his diet, Bregman said he added over the winter about 20 pounds of muscle to his 6-foot, now-195-pound frame. The righthanded-hitting Albuquerque native worked on hitting line drives, doubling to the opposite field and lifting in the air pitches on the inside portion of the plate.
“I think it’s been a good start (to the season), but there’s still room for improvement,” Bregman said. “I can only control what I can control, which is my attitude, effort and preparation.”
The results weren’t there in spring training—he managed just two hits in 23 Grapefruit League at-bats—but have shown since he joined the Hooks. His offseason flexibility work also has him feeling “the best I’ve felt” at shortstop, he said.
“He does some special things out there,” Corpus Christi manager Rodney Linares said. “He’s got really good bat speed and can create really good power.”
Bregman isn’t known as a slugger. He’s more of an all-around hitter, and in college his highest single-season home run total was nine, set over 260 at-bats as an LSU junior.
Through 13 games this season he had hit .340/.431/.660 with six extra-base hits and six walks. If Bregman continues on that trajectory, the Astros may have a decision to make sooner rather than later, because Carlos Correa’s presence in Houston makes a position change for Bregman seem inevitable.
• Righthander Michael Feliz, who made the Astros’ Opening Day roster as a long reliever but was optioned on April 7, was working as a starter at Triple-A Fresno. He is available to the Astros in either capacity as needed.