Alex Bregman sat on a couch Monday in Alex Box Stadium surrounded by friends, family, coaches and teammates.
He watched MLB commissioner Rob Manfred step to the podium to announce the second pick of the MLB Draft. Bregman knew what was coming, but that didn’t stop the anticipation.
He let it explode once he heard the words — “The Houston Astros select Alex Bregman.”
First, a hug for his dad. Then one for his mom, sister and brother. Then one for his coach, Paul Mainieri, the man that has spoken more highly of the LSU shortstop than anyone.
Mainieri couldn’t hide his glee knowing that Bregman just became the second highest LSU player ever selected in the MLB Draft.
“I try to put it into words what he’s meant to us, but it’s impossible for me to do it justice,” Mainieri said. “We try to help these players fulfill their dreams. And when you see this happen, and if you’ve played a small part in it, it gives you a great sense of pride.”
Bregman became the fourth first-round draft pick from LSU in the last five years, the fifth in seven. He joins the company of guys like Aaron Nola, Kevin Gausman, Mikie Mahtook and Jared Mitchell. The only LSU player ever taken higher than him was Ben McDonald in 1989.
Bregman has been a Freshman of the Year, an All-American, an award-winning shortstop and is a finalist for the Golden Spikes given to the best player in amateur baseball.
None of that compares to what happened Monday.
“You grow up as a little kid playing baseball, and you dream about playing in the professional level one day,” Bregman said. “It’s a dream come true to hear your name called.”
There is something that can top it though. Bregman will lead his team to the College World Series this weekend hoping to bring back the seventh national championship in program history.
That’s been his No. 1 objective since the moment he stepped foot on campus. He came up short in 2013 — the last time LSU went to Omaha — but he won’t let that happen again.
“I hope it gives us some good luck and we go out there and let it rip, have fun and play the game like we can,” Bregman said. “If we do that we’ll be very successful in Omaha. That’s all I’m focused on.”
It can wait one more night though. Monday was all about the celebration.
“It really hasn’t hit me yet,” Bregman said. “I’m just happy I could spend this with my family and close friends.”
Bregman stands to make millions as the No. 2 overall draft pick. The slot bonus for his selection is more than $7.4 million. That’s the furthest thing from his mind though.
“The money doesn’t matter to him,” Mainieri said. “The prestige doesn’t matter to him. He just wants to play baseball at the highest level for as long as he can, and he’s destined to get there.”
That fated destination is Minute Maid Park, home of the Houston Astros. Bregman took the field there earlier this season when LSU participated in the Houston College Classic. He didn’t know then that his future may one day bring him back there wearing the Navy blue and orange of an Astros uniform.
And he won’t be lacking in motivation to make that happen.
“I just want to work as hard as possible to be the best player I can be,” Bregman said. “I love the game. I love working at the game, maybe even more than I love playing it. It’s so much fun. That’s my biggest motivation.”
He’s also plenty motivated by the possibility of raising a national championship trophy. It’ll take at least five more wins to do it. LSU enters the CWS as the highest-seeded team after sweeping its last five NCAA Tournament games.
And while major league baseball games are in his future, those don’t matter to him right now.
“Let’s go win some more games,” he said. “We’re not done yet.”
Astros draft Alex Bregman No. 2 overall
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