Alex Bregman is right at the center of the Houston Astros cheating scandal. While 2017 was his first full season in the big leagues, he was actually already a seasoned sign stealer well before Houston developed its Codebreaker system. At 12-years old, Bregman went on the road with the New Mexico Lobos baseball team as a bat boy and quickly showed a knack for figuring out what pitch was coming. This comes from a Bleacher Report profile from almost exactly a year ago:
"'I was a little cocky piece of shit as a kid who'd tell them I'm gonna be in the big leagues, and they're like, ‘Yeah, all right, kid,'' Bregman says. It gave him a taste of college baseball. He loved riding the busses. Within the first few games of being the team's bat boy, Alex began to pick up the signals of other teams.
'Hey, I got their signs,' Alex said to the Lobos coaching staff.
The next pitch, Alex said, would be a fastball.
The next pitch was gonna be off-speed, he said.
Here comes the changeup, he said.
Alex explained his secrets, and the coaches observed. 'You're right,' they said. 'You got ‘em.' The Lobos ended up sweeping all the games they played that weekend in Arizona. 'They never found out,' Alex says today. 'Who thinks the bat boy has the signs?' The stories circled the Albuquerque baseball scene before Alex started high school."
That story was much cuter when it was published. Now it's just an anecdote used to show that Bregman is actually a savant when it comes to stealing signs.
Of course, most baseball people have no problem with this story. As long as Bregman was only using his eyes from the field to figure out what the opposing pitchers were throwing, that's well within the parameters of the unwritten rules.