ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Good baseball genes? Check. Family baseball tradition? Check. Hard work, hustle, respect for the game? Check, check and check.
Good baseball genes? Check. Family baseball tradition? Check. Hard work, hustle, respect for the game? Check, check and check.
This week, all the above paid off for Alex Bregman in the biggest coup of his young career: a guaranteed spot on the 2010 USA Baseball 16-and-under National Trials Team.
Bregman, 15, was one of eight players selected after last week’s National Team Identification Series in Cary, N.C.
“It’s awesome,” Bregman, an Albuquerque Academy sophomore, said in a phone interview. “I’m just honored to be able to play for the U.S.A.”
The evaluation and selection process will continue until 18 players are chosen to represent the U.S. next summer. Bregman is not guaranteed a spot on the final roster, said 16U National Team Director Jeff Singer, but his performance in North Carolina means he definitely will be one of 40 players invited to next year’s trials.
Singer said via e-mail that Bregman and the other seven players selected in Cary will not have to undergo any further evaluation and will go straight into the trials. The 32 other players will be chosen from tournaments to be held next summer.
The National Team Identification Series consisted of teams from 12 U.S. regions. Bregman, a 5-foot-10, 160-pound middle infielder, played for the Mountain West squad after first representing New Mexico at a regional tournament in Utah.
“I hit the ball well and got on base a lot,” he said. “I just hustled and tried to be a leader out there, be as vocal as possible and try to get some wins for the Mountain West team.”
Bregman was chosen from among 240 players, some 180 of whom were position players (not pitchers). A shortstop for Academy, he played both shortstop and second base in North Carolina.
Bregman’s father, Sam, is a well-known Albuquerque lawyer who also is the owner of the NBA Development League’s Albuquerque Thunderbirds. What’s not as well known is that Sam Bregman and his older brother, Ben, first came to Albuquerque to play baseball for UNM.
But the Bregmans’ baseball roots go back farther than that. As kids, Sam and Ben got to hang out in the Washington Senators’ clubhouse because their father, Stan Bregman, was the Senators’ general counsel in the late 1960s.
Despite his youth, Alex said, baseball has been part of his life for a decade already.
“When I was about 5, my dad starting playing catch with me,” he said. “My grandpa (Stan) would always tell me stories about when he used to play.
“When I was 8, I started going to the Albuquerque Baseball Academy and started hitting with them.”
Has Bregman, a Little League All-Star at age 9, ever experienced burnout?
No. Nor does he expect to do so.
“I just love the game,” he said. “I could play it every day.”
As a freshman, Bregman had a .514 average with a team-high totals of 13 doubles and 54 hits for Academy. He hit three home runs, including a blast that left Isotopes Park during the Chargers’ 7-5 victory over Piedra Vista in the state Class 4A championship game.