By Scott Barancik, editor

The Houston Astros selected LSU shortstop Alex Bregman No. 2 overall today in the 2015 amateur draft, good enough to earn an expected bonus of $7.4-million.

A 21-year-old junior on the top-ranked Tigers, Bregman was expected to go anywhere from No. 2 through No. 7 in the first round. The Albuquerque native has won a host of awards over the years, including USA Baseball Player of the Year at age 16, Baseball America’s National Freshman of the Year in 2013, and the Brooks Wallace Award for National Shortstop of the Year in 2013. As a high-school junior, he set New Mexico’s single-season home run record.

The Boston Red Sox chose Bregman out of high school in the 29th round of the 2012 draft, but he chose college instead. At LSU, Bregman’s currently hitting .312 with 9 HRs, 49 RBIs, 22 doubles, 37 stolen bases, and more walks (36) than strikeouts (21).

Here’s what top baseball outlets are saying today about Bregman.

Sports Illustrated

Bregman has been the top player in his peer group since he was named the USA Baseball Player of the Year as a 16-year old. He hasn’t stopped performing since, dominating the college ranks at Louisiana State and continuing to stand out for national teams. Scouts find it easy to identify physical faults with Bregman, as his tools do not grade out highly and he has no obvious position as a professional, although more and more are convinced he can stay at shortstop. But if one looks at what he can do—which includes hitting .318 with nine homers, 47 RBIs and 35 steals for the consensus best team in the country along with being their acknowledged leader—it isn’t hard to predict that he will play in the big leagues quickly and for a long time.

Baseball America

Bregman brings the longest track record of success of anyone in this draft class. He led USA Baseball’s 16U team to a gold medal in 2010, led the 18U team to another gold medal in 2011 and set the New Mexico single-season high school home run record as a junior. He’s earned Baseball America Freshman of the Year honors in 2013. If there is anything disappointing about Bregman’s career, it’s been the difficulty of topping his outstanding freshman season. His numbers this year are quite similar to what he produced in his LSU debut. Bregman is one of the safest picks in this year’s draft, as scouts are nearly unanimous that he should at the worst be a productive big league middle infielder. The debate revolves entirely over how much of an impact he will make. Blessed with excellent bat speed, Bregman has a flat bat path and contact-oriented swing that fits well with his excellent hand-eye coordination. This year, he’s walked significantly more than he’s struck out. He’s a tick above-average runner who has gotten more aggressive on the basepaths, leading the Southeastern Conference in stolen bases. He’s proven to be a very reliable shortstop and a number of evaluators believe he will be able to stick at shortstop as a pro with average range, an accurate, average arm and quality hands. Average isn’t enough at short for most teams, and Bregman projects as an above-average defender at second base. Wherever he goes, he’ll make his new team better with his follow-me approach.

The only Jewish player chosen higher since the MLB amateur draft debuted in 1965 was Ron Blomberg, who was selected No. 1 overall by the New York Yankees in 1967. Other 1st-round draft picks in recent years included San Diego Padres prospect Max Fried (7th overall, 2012), Milwaukee’s Ryan Braun (5th overall, 2005), and Cardinals prospect Rob Kaminsky (28th overall, 2013).

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