Once upon a time, the Houston Astros were unable to reach an agreement on the first overall draft pick Brady Aiken. At the time, this was very depressing to Astros fans because that puts them possibly behind a year. A little less than a year later, the failure turns to success as the Astros were able to draft Alex Bregman and Kyle Tucker with two picks in the 2015 MLB Draft. Even though the Astros missed on the number one overall pick in 2014, they did not mess up with their second round pick in 2014.
The Astros selected a pitcher/first baseman A.J. Reed out of the University of Kentucky with the 42nd overall pick. Reed was the highest Kentuck player drafted since 2011 via UK website. Many scouts considered Reed as the Babe Ruth of college baseball, but thankfully he doesn’t have the weight issues the Babe did. He was a dual way player who was just as good on the mound, but the Astros announced him as a first baseman at the draft, letting people know his days on the mound are done. I don’t want this to be all about my admiration for the guy, but you can read that here: After further review, the Houston Astros’ first baseman A.J. Reed is pretty good.
Astros fans know how good Reed is, but it’s nice to see him get some love from outside of Houston. Reed had a monster season between Single-A Lancaster and Double-A Corpus Christi hitting .340/ 113 runs/ 34 homers/ 127 RBI from Baseball-Reference. While most of the damage was done in the hitters friendly California League (23 homers and 81 RBI), he wasn’t chopped liver at Corpus Christi either (11 homers and 46 RBI).
The Houston Astros minor league teams had a successful 2015 season, despite only two of the seven teams to make the playoffs winning the championship (Greeneville and Fresno). The Astros farm system may not have as many top prospects as they used to, but they have the deepest talent that was evident in all the minor league teams winning. It is not surprising that not only one player getting the top offensive player as voted by the MiLB staff, but another Astros prospect received the fan vote.
The MiLBy awards started this past week that are the MiLB Awards for all teams. They began with the top offensive players, and will continue with other awards throughout this week, and you can follow along here. Reed was named the MiLB.com staff offensive player of the year and finished second in the vote for the fan’s choice. Who did he finish second to?
The fan’s choice for top offensive player of the year is Brian Tyler White, who started off in Double-A Corpus Christi, finished being a big factor of the Triple-A Frenso Grizzles championship season. He was also an All-Star and Texas League Home Run Derby champ before being promoted to Fresno. He might have elevated to a top Astros prospect in 2015, but he started with humble beginning as he was drafted in the 33rd round of the 2013 draft by the Astros. He finished the season hitting .325/ 70 runs/ 14 homers/ 99 RBI.
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The last Astros prospect to win the offensive player of the year was George Springer in 2013. Congrats to both White and Reed for the awards and excellent seasons. I interviewed both players during the season below.
As to the future for both players with the Houston Astros, Reed should be a fixture for many years at first base, possibly as soon as May or June in 2016. White may be given an opportunity to play third base, but could see time at designated hitter. However, there may be a wrinkle in the plan for White; he was listed on the Instructional League roster as a catcher.
Maybe the Astros are looking to find a place for White on the roster by converting him back to his natural position. Jason Castro is under team control for a few more seasons, and the Astros traded top catching prospect Jacob Nottingham in the Scott Kazmir trade. The Astros also have J.D. Davis coming up soon to play third base, so White could find his home behind the plate.
Look for another Astros’ prospect to win an award this week. Derek Fisher had a game to remember in his debut with the Lancaster JetHawks and could potentially take win the best performance.