Welcome to the Houston Astros A.J. Reed.
The Houston Astros start a series with the Kansas City Royals, which should be big news anyway with the rematch of the 2015 ALDS, which is all I am going to say about that. Reports before the game tonight started coming out that slugging first base prospect A.J. Reed was set to be called up by the Astros. Astros Twitter exploded with excitement, but we were waiting for the Astros to confirm the Tweet below. The team has yet to confirm this move.
1250 AM is a local Kentucky sports radio where Reed played college ball at the University of Kentucky. This report comes out about five days after GM Jeff Luhnow said that Reed was ready, but they didn’t need him at the time with Luis Valbuena and Marwin Gonzalez playing well. He also mentioned that they wanted to give Danny Worth and extended look in the majors. You can read the rest here: Have Plans Changed With A.J. Reed?
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Reed hasn’t stopped hitting this week, hitting his 11th homer yesterday to give Joseph Musgrove the run support needed to win his third game. Hopefully, Reed finishes his 2016 Triple-A season with a slash line of .266/ .345/ .509/ .854 with 36 runs batted in with the 11 homers. I’m sure the Astros would be thrilled to get that type of production in the big leagues, but questions remain on how well he can hit left-handed pitchers.
Reed will either be the everyday first baseman for the Astros, or he will come up and platoon with Gonzalez, sitting versus left-handed pitching. I think it will be the former first; they want to give him the opportunity to be the everyday guy so that they will put him in the lineup versus lefties as well. However, versus tough LHP like Clayton Kershaw or Cole Hamels, you might see Gonzalez get the start.
As excited as we are with Reed, there will likely be two corresponding moves to get Reed on the 40-man and 25-man roster. It’s always bittersweet to see someone to have to go, and the Astros lost a possible good player in Juan Minaya who was claimed by the Chicago White Sox. There are a few people who I think could be removed from the 40-man roster. They are Kevin Chapman, Brad Peacock, or a surprise player protected in the Rule V draft such as Andrew Aplin or Nolan Fontana.
My best guess would be Chapman because he has never really shown too much in his brief time with the Astros.
The big one, which player would be sent back to Triple-A to open the spot on the 25-man roster? Do we send down a pitcher or a hitter, decisions, decisions? There is a school of thought that the Astros would send Chris Devenski down to get possibly stretched back out. I disagree with that idea because Devenski leads to AL in ERA out of the bullpen with 0.61 according to Steve Grande. They don’t want to hurt their position of strength for the team.
If that is the case, it will be between Tony Kemp and Danny Worth. I would prefer Jake Marisnick to go down, but the Astros feel like they need his elite defense on the team. Worth has got some playing time but has not performed yet how he did down in Fresno. Kemp has shown some flashes with the big club, but he hasn’t received much playing time.
My best guess would be that Kemp goes down, especially with the uncertainty of Valbuena, who left tonight’s game with an injury, the Astros could need Worth to play third. If Valbuena goes on the DL, would they go all in and bring up Alex Bregman? Why not make the announcement then earlier, because of the other players involved?
While Reed will probably be the fifth hitter eventually, but expect him to bat at the bottom of the batting order when he debuts tomorrow. I could see him hitting seventh or eighth, in front of Jason Castro. Let’s temper our expectations and just let the kid play, and I officially decree tomorrow to be “A.J. Reed Day” in Houston. I remember Carlos Correa and George Springer days, ain’t it exciting?
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***