Time to shine a light on Astros’ Triple-A affiliate Fresno Grizzlies first baseman A.J. Reed.
A.J. Reed is no stranger to most Astros fans. The soon-to-be 25-year-old is a former top prospect, at one time viewed as the team’s long term answer at first base. Now his star has faded, but he’s still trying to prove himself. A strong week for Fresno makes him the subject of this week’s spotlight.
Reed was the Astros’ second-round draft pick in 2014. He promptly hit .289/.375/.522 across two Single-A stops that year. Then in 2015, he broke out in a big way. Between Class-A advanced and Double-A, Reed hit .340/.432/.612 with 34 homers and 127 RBIs. At that point, he looked like a surefire big league slugger.
He started 2016 in Triple-A and hit .291/.368/.556 with 15 homers in 70 games before being called up to Houston. He struggled in the bigs, however, to the tune of a .164/.270/.262 line. Reed saw only six at-bats in the majors in 2017, failing to record a hit.
His Triple-A numbers are also declining. He did pop 34 bombs in 2017 for Fresno, but his slash line dropped to .261/.358/.525. So far in 2018, it’s dipped even further, to .245/.336/.436. The former can’t-miss prospect has just a .509 OPS and three homers in the major leagues.
Reed still has a chance to make a nice career for himself, but he’s got some work to do. His numbers have been trending in the wrong direction, and there’s no place for him on the big league roster at this point.
Still, with Yuli Gurriel getting older, the opportunity is there for Reed to re-establish himself as the team’s future at first base. If he can tweak his approach and pump some life into that declining OPS, there may be a bright future for him yet.
***Statistics courtesy of MiLB.com***