The former Kentucky Wildcat arrived in the Astros system with a lot of hype, and impressive minor league numbers.
However, A.J. Reed struggled to put it all together in the Major Leagues for the Astros in 2016.
Andrew Joseph Reed was an All-American slugger at the University of Kentucky, where he won the 2014 Golden Spikes Award. This is essentially the baseball equivalent of the Heisman trophy. He had such an illustrious career for the Wildcats that it takes two scrolls of the mouse wheel to read all his awards.
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Reed was drafted by the Astros in the second round of the 2014 MLB Draft. Although he pitched and played in the field for the Wildcats, the Astros were more interested in his bat. The team took him because they saw a guy with rare power from the left side of the plate. His time in the minors indicated that they had made the right choice.
Then the young slugger established himself as a top prospect, slamming 61 home runs in 273 minor league games.
His power from the left side of the plate proved to be rare. He also showed consistency, hitting .316 throughout the minors, and brought in 231 RBI’s. Reed seemed poised to be an Adam Dunn type hitter and had the chance to win the starting first base job for a playoff caliber team coming into 2016.
Reed struggled then in spring training and lost the job to Tyler White, another rookie who showed more consistency and also had great minor league numbers. Reed went to Triple-A Fresno and after starting a bit slow, went on to hit .291 with 15 home runs and 50 RBI’s. After White dropped off and the Astros suffered some injury problems, Reed was brought to Houston.
Then on June 5th Reed made his major league debut against the Kansas City Royals, going 0-2 with two walks. He would then go on to struggle in “The Bigs”. His approach faltered and opposing pitchers learned quickly how to pitch him. It seemed he would either strike out chasing, or ground the ball to the right side of the infield. When Reed did make solid contact, he showed great potential. The slugger played in 45 games, finishing with a slash line of .164/.270/.262 and hit 3 home runs.
Despite struggling, Reed is still young. The potential to be a premier power hitter in this league is there, and 45 games is not a big enough sample of games to make a determination. 2017 is a big year for the red-headed slugger, and it should be exciting to see what he does with it.