Keeping Up With the Houston Astros Prospects: A.J. Reed


A.J. Reed is a first baseman in the Houston Astros organization who was drafted out of the University of Kentucky in 2014. He has risen quickly through the short time that he has been in the Astros organization. Currently, he is playing for the Lancaster Jethawks, which is the Astros High Class-A team in the California League. You might have heard the name A.J. Reed recently, on May 6, 2015, Reed had the game of his young career.

The Jet Hawks won the game 18-4, and Reed was a big factor in the score by going 3-4 with three home runs and nine runs-batted-in. He also had two walks in the game and scored five runs. That type of play in the majors would get you a contract extension. Pretty good power from a player that was more highly viewed by many prior to the 2014 draft as a pitcher!

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At the University of Kentucky, Reed played both pitcher and first base. When the Astros drafted him, Jeff Luhnow and company saw in impact left-handed power bat and made him a first baseman. So far he has not disappointed, this season he is hitting .293/ 9 doubles/ 2 triples/ 11 home runs/ 35 RBI. In this interview, we will hear the thoughts of the 12th ranked Astros prospect.

CTH: What did you do in your first professional offseason to get ready for the 2015 season?

Reed: The first offseason was a learning process for me. I’ve never had one before, so I didn’t really know what I needed to do. I worked out and hit, but that wasn’t enough for me to come back to spring training the way I wanted to. So now I know what I need to do this year and years to come.

CTH: I know you were a two-way baseball player in college, what caused you to focus on hitting instead of pitching? 

Reed: The Astros actually decided I was going to be a hitter for me. I kind of figured during the college season that I would be a hitter just by the numbers, but they made that decision.

CTH: Do you ever miss pitching?

Reed: I miss the competitiveness of pitching.

AJ Reed (Photo Credit: Richard Guill)

CTH: What inspired you as a kid to play baseball?

Reed: I’ve played since I was four, and it was really the only sport I was ever any good at so I stuck with it. When I got to high school is when I really started to appreciate and understand my potential and the game.

CTH: This season, you hit 30% (three) of your home runs in one game. What does that feel like and walk us through what you were thinking?

Reed: That game was crazy for sure. After I had hit the first one, I was thinking just keep hitting it hard and give us a chance to win. After I had hit the second one I was thinking every at bat, I’m going to try to hit another one and then in my last at-bat I did so it was exciting.

CTH: What is it like to play with a jokester like Brett Phillips?

Reed: Playing with Brett is great. He’s the type of guy that off the field and in the clubhouse is going to make you laugh. He’s always dancing and having fun keeping everyone loose. But then on the field when it’s game time, he plays hard and knows it’s time to be serious and those are the types of guys you need on your team. And he’s just a really good player.

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CTH: Do you have an internal timeline on when you would like to reach Houston?

Reed: I don’t really have a timeline for myself. All I can do is go out and play hard every day. When they think I’m ready, then I’ll be ready. We have a lot of talent in this organization, so I have to be patient and wait for my opportunity.

CTH: You are ranked the 5th best 1st baseman prospect in baseball and 12th best Astros prospect overall. Do you keep up with rankings?

I don’t go out searching for rankings, but obviously as people talk and with social media we all see those kinds of things.

CTH: What can you offer once you reach Houston as a player?

Reed: What I can offer Houston is a powerful bat that’s going to hit for a good average as well. And I’ve been working on my defense so by the time I get there hopefully a reliable first basemen that will make all the plays needed.

CTH: What has been the biggest difference for you in playing in the minors versus at Kentucky?

Reed: Obviously the wood bats are different. I’m used to them now but other than that a big difference is pitchers aren’t afraid to throw inside in pro ball. The college they didn’t because of the bats.

CTH: What baseball player do you model your game after or that you admire?

Reed: Through high school and college, I liked watching Adrian Gonzalez because he had power. He also knew how to hit the ball the other way and that’s what I want to do is be a complete hitter.

CTH: Do you ever see yourself going from first base to the mound in an MLB game? (Extra innings or out of pitchers)

Reed: I’ve joked with the managers about getting me some innings but if there is ever a time they need someone to throw and inning I’ll be there. I think it would be fun to get that chance one day.

Thanks, A.J. Reed for the interview, you can follow the Astros prospect on Twitter at @ajreed18UK. The UK in his Twitter handle is for the University of Kentucky, not the United Kingdom.

Previous Keeping Up with the Astros Prospects

Part 1: Keeping up with the Prospects: Preston Tucker

Part 2: Keeping up with the Prospects: Lance McCullers

Part 3: Keeping up with the Prospects: Brady Rodgers

Part 4: Keeping up with the Prospects: Carlos Correa

Part 5: Keeping up with the Prospects: Vincent Velasquez

Part 6: Keeping up with the Prospects: Brett Phillips

Here are links to my prior interviews:

Astros Prospect: Tony Kemp

Astros Prospect: Conrad Gregor

Astros Prospect: Brett Phillips (He wants to go by Maverick)

Astros Prospect: Preston Tucker

Dan Straily Interview

Astros Prospects: Joe Sclafani

Next: Astros Draft Target: Kyle Tucker

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