HOUSTON — Alex Bregman has only had a week off since wrapping up his career at LSU when the Tigers were eliminated from the College World Series.
That’s enough of a break for Houston’s top draft pick this season. He’s ready to get back to baseball.
“I’m just very excited to get to work,” Bregman said. “I just love playing the game and can’t wait to get back out there.”
He won’t have to wait long to get back on the field.
“He’s anxious to get out. He’ll be assigned to Quad Cities,” general manager Jeff Luhnow said, referring to Houston’s low-Class A affiliate. “He’ll be on his way there (Friday).”
The Astros agreed to a contract with the shortstop, who was the second overall pick in the amateur draft, that includes a $5.9 million signing bonus on Thursday.
The deal is for well under the $7,420,100 slot value.
The Astros already have a young shortstop in 20-year-old rookie Carlos Correa, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 draft, who was called up earlier this month. But Luhnow said they plan to leave Bregman at shortstop.
“There’s no question about it. He’s got the skills,” Luhnow said. “That’s one of the things we watched a lot over the past couple of years is him play shortstop.And I think those fans that got a chance to see the College World Series can attest to the fact that he can make the spectacular play and he routinely makes the everyday play.”
Houston received the No. 2 pick as compensation for not signing pitcher Brady Aiken, last year’s top pick. Aiken was taken by Cleveland at No. 17 this year after Tommy John surgery in March.
“Alex Bregman has been one of college baseball’s elite players for the last three years,” Astros director of scouting Mike Elias said. “He’s a skilled defensive shortstop who also impacts the game on offense, as he possesses the ability to hit for average, steal bases and put up power numbers.”
The 21-year-old Bregman was the offensive leader for LSU. The Golden Spikes Award finalist hit .323 with 22 doubles, nine homers and 49 RBIs this season and added 38 steals.
“I think I have a lot of room to improve in every facet of the game,” Bregman said. “I’m going to be willing to learn from everybody and just take it all in and try and improve any way I can and find ways to help the team win wherever I am.”
He said his experience in big games in college will help him as he begins his professional career.
“Playing Division I baseball in the SEC is great competition,” he said. “Many players in Omaha and in the SEC were drafted in the first round and will have good careers and I think it prepares you very well. I still have a ton to learn and a lot of work to do to get to where I want to go, but it definitely prepares you and I’m thankful I got the opportunity to play there.”
AP baseball writer Ron Blum contributed to this report.