Jessica Bregman asked aloud, “What are the Astros’ colors?”
Someone told her: orange and blue.
Alex Bregman’s sister glanced down at her orange dress, smiled and said, “I knew I wore this for a reason.”
The Houston Astros picked the Tigers star shortstop with the second selection in the MLB draft Monday night, making Bregman the second-highest LSU player drafted in the program’s history.
“It’s a dream come true,” Bregman said shortly after the announcement sent about 200 family, friends and LSU teammates celebrating from the Champions Lounge at Alex Box Stadium.
The junior is expected to forgo his senior season at LSU and sign a pro deal. The signing bonus value for the No. 2 pick: $7.4 million.
Bregman is LSU’s fifth first-round pick in the past five seasons, and he’s the first LSU player to be picked second. Just one player has been picked higher in school history. Pitcher Ben McDonald was the No. 1 selection in 1989.
“Surreal,” said Sam Bregman, Alex’s father.
The Arizona Diamondbacks picked Vanderbilt shortstop Dansby Swanson with the first pick in the draft about 6:10 p.m. Monday. Five minutes later, Bregman’s name was announced on the 10 TVs in the Champions Lounge, and the room exploded in cheers for another celebration a night after Bregman’s big hit.
The New Mexico native ended an 0-for-18 hitting skid with a two-run, two-out single in the eighth inning of LSU’s 6-3 win over Louisiana-Lafayette on Sunday night.
Bregman’s hit gave the Tigers a 3-0 lead — part of a four-run, two-out inning that sealed the program’s 17th trip to the College World Series.
That’s what’s on Bregman’s mind.
“I’m so excited, but first, I’m excited to go to Omaha and play for a national championship,” he said.
“We’re not done yet.”
The NCAA tournament No. 2 national seed, LSU (53-10) meets No. 7 national seed TCU (49-13), who played Monday night, at 2 p.m. Sunday at TD Ameritrade Park as the Tigers begin their journey for a seventh national crown.
Bregman is looking for his first.
“He wants a ring,” said Jackie Bregman, Alex’s mother.
A national title is part of the reason Bregman came to college in the first place.
He turned down about $1 million in the summer of 2012 to come to school. His draft stock plummeted that year after he broke his finger in the fifth game of his senior year of high school — something he calls the best thing to happen to him.
After a memorable three-year run in Baton Rouge, Bregman’s stock has well surpassed what it would have been even before that finger injury.
A two-time All-American and the SEC Freshman of the Year in 2013, Bregman has been a mainstay as the Tigers’ No. 3 hitter and playmaking shortstop. He’s batting .312 with 49 RBIs, including a team-leading 22 doubles, and is fielding .974 this season.
“I’ve tried to put into words what he’s meant to us, but it’s almost impossible for me to really do it justice,” coach Paul Mainieri said. “To be the second pick of the draft … just warms your heart.”
Bregman is described by some as a polarizing figure. Many believe he projects as a second baseman at the major league level. That group includes former big league second baseman Harold Reynolds, now a TV analyst who worked the draft Monday for MLB Network.
After the Astros’ pick, Reynolds made his feelings known on the broadcast — something greeted with boos by the watch party crowd. Bregman insists that he can play shortstop in the major leagues, and he said every team that’s contacted him this year said the same.
“Everybody can say whatever they want,” Bregman said. “I’m just going to have fun playing the game. If I play second, that’s fine. If I play short, that’s fine. I just want to help my team win. I definitely think I could play shortstop.”
If he does advance to the big leagues soon, it’ll take place just four hours away from Baton Rouge. In fact, Houston is home to the largest non-Louisiana LSU alumni base in the nation, and the Tigers played three games at Minute Maid Park earlier this season.
That’s not the focus now, and neither is the money.
Bregman’s mind is on something else.
“Here’s the deal,” Sam Bregman said. “Alex for three years has been wanting one thing, and that is to win a national championship.”
Follow Ross Dellenger on Twitter @DellengerAdv.