By Julian Mininsohn @jmininsohn
Organization: Houston Astros
Current Team: Fresno Grizzlies
Drafted: 2011; 2nd Round No.42 Overall
Regarded as one of the best two-way players while in college, A.J. Reed of the Fresno Grizzlies (Houston Astros AAA affiliate) is one of the prospects on close-watch to make noise in the big leagues. The first baseman was ranked the No. 11 prospect heading into the 2016 season. In 48 games with Fresno this season Reed is batting .240 with eight home runs and 29 RBI’s.
Strengths: Reed’s .240 average isn’t indicative of his presence behind the plate. This season, the former Kentucky Wildcat has registered a .343 OBP and .806 OPS. Not to mention he has tallied 25 runs and a .463 slugging percentage. In 2015 Reed won the 2015 Jon Bauman Home Run Award as part of the Corpus Christi Hooks of the Class AA Texas League. Hitting isn’t an issue with Reed. Being a south-paw increases his worth as well. However, Reed’s ability to field increases his value and potential. In today’s game, two-way players are the here-and-now. In three minor league seasons, Reed has posted a fielding percentage of no less than .976. The Astros young team is full of Swiss-army-type players. With Reed’s two-way ability it is the perfect environment for him to thrive.
Comparisons: Reed’s hitting presence and batting ability is similar to Bran McCann. With the power and ability to field at first base it could be an enticing option for the Astros, especially if Houston were to drop further in the standings. According to CBS Sports, Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said Reed is “getting closer” to a big league promotion.