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Astros: Let The A.J. Reed Watch Begin with His Play in Fresno

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Mar 5, 2016; Kissimmee, FL, USA; New York Mets first baseman Dominic Smith (74) dives back into first base as Houston Astros first baseman A.J. Reed (80) attempts a tag during the second inning of a spring training baseball game at Osceola County Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 5, 2016; Kissimmee, FL, USA; New York Mets first baseman Dominic Smith (74) dives back into first base as Houston Astros first baseman A.J. Reed (80) attempts a tag during the second inning of a spring training baseball game at Osceola County Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports /
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Will the Astros’ bring up their #2 prospect A.J. Reed?

If you read Climbing Tal’s Hill or listen to Talking Stros, you would know that we think a lot of the Houston Astros’ first base prospect A.J. Reed. You would also know that we thought he should have been up earlier in the season if not opening day. We were okay giving Tyler White a chance first, but now that we don’t have a pure first baseman currently on the 25-man roster, Reed’s time should be soon.

We had MLB.com’s Jim Callis on Talking Stros this week, and he said that Reed was not ready, the Astros would wait till Reed got hot. Instead, he continued to beat the Alex Bregman drum and said that he should get the call like I wrote earlier this week: What if the Astros bring up Bregman after AA All-Star game? If you read the post, I bounced back and forth between the two players, but I was pretty confident that Reed will be up soon.

I predicted that White would have been sent down when Luke Gregerson returned, so all that we need is for Reed to get hot at the plate for Fresno. On June 7th, Reed was batting .236, as his struggles versus left-handed pitchers continued. Since that day, Reed has raised his batting average to .252, which would be great in the current Astros lineup.

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Since June 7th, Reed has gone 13 for 41, with a .317 batting average during that stretch. Those 13 hits weren’t just bleeders, nine of them were extra-base hits, including a triple, two homers, and six doubles. This is the player who was one of the best hitters in the minors last year, but as Callis pointed out, it’s hard to duplicate those type seasons.

When will Reed get the call? In my eyes, I would say as soon as Monday versus the Angels at home. I understand that the Astros have Luis Valbuena, Marwin Gonzalez, and possibly Danny Worth, who can play first base, but to have a power hitter like Reed at first would help. Those players are a band-aid at first, not the solution.

Reed set an unrealistic expectation for himself following the incredible season in 2015, but thus far, he is batting .252/ nine homers/ 32 RBI. The Astros weak position is not at first base like it was in 2015, this year catchers have had the most struggles. He’s struggles versus left-handed pitching, with a slash line of .170/ .313/ .340/ .652 versus LHP. He has hit two of his nine homers off lefties, but the slash line has to be improved upon to be an everyday player.

Which is why I think the Astros didn’t call him up before the Reds series because they would be facing three left-handed pitchers. Now that the Reds will be heading out of town, I think they could call Reed up and get him in the lineup right away. If they called him up earlier, he would have ridden the pine during his first games versus lefties.

Next: Astros on the verge of piecing the puzzle together.

Is it reasonable to expect a Carlos Correa type impact? Not this year, but if he can offer .252 with nine homers with the Astros, it would help them get back into the race. Many people see the Astros as buyers this year, but let’s see what we have in Reed before we trade for a Freddie Freeman type of player with Reed involved. It’s past the super-two deadline, why not make the move?

***Stats from Baseball-Reference and MiLB.com***

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