Astros' Alex Bregman looking for good pitches instead of chasing hits

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(SportsRadio 610) - Alex Bregman is not hitting the ball well so far this season.

Finally healthy after injuries plagued him over the past two years, Bregman is still looking for his American League MVP-worthy performance in 2019, when he finished second to Mike Trout for the award.

It just hasn't happened yet.

In 2019, Bregman posted at 1.015 OPS and completed back-to-back seasons with a slugging percentage over .500. He then played 42 games of the pandemic shortened 2020, posting a .801 OPS. It dropped to .777 last season, and is currently at .758 through 41 games and 140 at-bats.

Nothing he's doing at the plate is remarkable, but his at-bats are still quality. Bregman's 26 walks lead the AL, and he has the highest walk percentage among AL third basemen (15.2 percent).

"I should've walked about six or seven more times this last week, but I was chasing hits instead of chasing good pitches to hit," Bregman said of his swing and approach. "I swung at one out of the zone yesterday that I was pretty pissed about, but overall, swing decisions have been good this year."

Bregman's RBI-double in the third inning of Sunday's 5-2 win against the Texas Rangers scored Jose Altuve to give Houston a 2-0 lead. Bregman walked in his next two at-bats.

So even when he's working through mechanical issues with his swing and not necessarily hitting the ball well, he's at least seeing it. But Bregman would still like to see more of what he did in that third inning against Texas.

"I need to hit the ball on a line, and I can't do that when I'm flying all over the place," Bregman added. "I need to be simple. I'm not the guy who tries to hit the ball 110 MPH, it's more of a precise, precision, A-to-B, make good clean contact and backspin the baseball."

Astros manager Dusty Baker said he doesn't know if Bregman's issues are as much mechanical as simply transferring from his eyes to his swing.

"Your eyes are the key," Baker said Monday afternoon before their series-opener against the Cleveland Guardians. "That's what allows you to either speed up your swing or slow down for the breaking ball.

"He'll be fine. He's stressing a little big but the good thing for us is we're winning. If you win, you can kind of wait on it without putting any pressure, but you know Breggy. He puts pressure on himself."

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