Legends On Deck

Prospects on Deck: 1B A.J. Reed – Astros

During the infancy stages of this site, while talking about the different features we wanted to bring to the table, we landed on the “Prospects on Deck” feature.  So far this season several of us have brought up players that have caught our attention in one capacity or another.  It could have been just someone we’ve heard about, someone we have a personal connection with, or a number of other reasons.

In the end one thing stands true.  We enjoy focusing on the minor leagues and keeping track of a players progress as they attempt to fulfill their dreams of one day making it to the major leagues.

For this particular “Prospects on Deck”, I have selected a player that I was fortunate enough to see while playing for my local minor league team the Tri-City ValleyCats.

A.J. Reed was originally drafted by the New York Mets out of high school in 2011.  Deciding not to sign, Reed attended the University of Kentucky, and would play for the WildCats as both a pitcher and an infielder.

After a couple of decent seasons on the mound and in the field, Reed skyrocketed his draft status in 2014 with a breakout season.  On the mound Reed finished the season 12-2 with an ERA of 2.09 in 16 starts leading the team in wins.  If that wasn’t enough, Reed belted 23 home runs which led the nation and propelled him to numerous accolades in the process.  If winning the Golden Spikes Award for best amateur baseball player in the United States wasn’t enough, he added the Dick Howser Trophy for best college player, and topped it off with many others.

Reed’s Collegiate career would come to an end after being selected by the Houston Astros in the second round of the 2014 draft and signing with them.  He would begin his professional career playing for both the Tr-City ValleyCats of the New York-Penn League, and the Quad Cities River Bandits of the Midwest League.

In all, Reed collectively batted .289 in 68 games, recording 12 home runs and 54 RBI playing in both levels in 2014.  He finished with a .375 OBP, .522 SLG, and an OPS of .898.  He would give the Astros something to think about in his first professional season.

2015 has been a different story.  Starting the season in Single-A Advanced Lancaster, Reed has been on a tear since the season started and really doesn’t appear to be slowing down.  He has earned several honors so far including an All-Star nod for the California League, player of the week, and player of the month honors.

In 80 games this season, Reed’s astonishing hitting line is .339/.443/.619/1.062 and has 22 home runs and 77 RBI.  He is currently in the running for the triple crown in Single-A Advanced leading all hitting categories, and if that isn’t enough he is leading the level in runs scored with 70.

Having a deep farm system could be seen as an advantage or a disadvantage if you have several players vying for the same position.  If Reed wants to stay on pace to reach MLB in another year or so, the Astros are going to need to see more of the same out of him and force their hand.  He does have a tendency to strikeout, but he also draws his share of walks.

Reed is currently listed as the Astros #11 prospect, and is blocked on the depth chart by the power-hitting Jon Singleton.


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