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Astros draftee Reed wins Howser Trophy

OMAHA, Neb. -- University of Kentucky left-hander and first baseman A.J. Reed, the Astros' second-round pick in the 2014 First-Year Player Draft, was presented with the Dick Howser Trophy on Saturday.

The award, in its 28th year of being presented by the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce, is voted on by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and given to the player who best represents courage, character, leadership and performance.

"It is of utmost importance for the Dick Howser Trophy Committee to identify the top college baseball player in the country -- not only based on ability," committee executive director David Feaster said. "However, equally important, if not more, are the qualities that make up the spirit of the Trophy's namesake, Dick Howser -- leadership, character and courage.

"A.J. Reed embodies all of the qualities that we identify when selecting the award winner. His numbers both as a hitter and pitcher were at the top of one of the nation's finest leagues, the Southeastern Conference. His numbers speak for the outstanding season he had -- and he did it with excellent sportsmanship and class."

Other finalists included Oregon State outfielder Michael Conforto (No. 10 overall, Mets), LSU right-hander Aaron Nola (No. 7, Phillies), Kennesaw State catcher Max Pentecost (No. 11, Blue Jays) and Oregon State right-hander Ben Wetzler (ninth round, Marlins).

Howser was a two-time All-American shortstop and longtime coach at Florida State. He also was an eight-year Major League veteran and manager of the 1985 World Series champion Royals.

Recent winners of the trophy include Cubs prospect Kris Bryant ('13), Mariners catcher Mike Zunino ('12), Brewers prospect Taylor Jungmann ('11), Nationals infielder Anthony Rendon ('10), Nationals right-hander Stephen Strasburg ('09), Giants catcher Buster Posey ('08) and Rays left-hander David Price ('07).

Price and Strasburg were first overall picks in the MLB Draft. Posey and past winner Jason Jennings (1999) became Rookie of the Year Award winners after reaching the Major Leagues.

Jered Weaver ('04) pitched a no-hitter in the Majors in 2012 for the Angels and is a three-time All-Star.

Mark Teixeira ('00) is a two-time All-Star and five-time Gold Glove winner with World Series title with the Yankees in 2009.

Reed was also named Collegiate Baseball's National Player of the Year, while the recipients of the Golden Spikes Award and American Baseball Coaches Association award have yet to be announced.

Reed led NCAA Division I in home runs (23), slugging percentage (.735) and OPS (1.211), while ranking second in total bases (164) and third in RBIs (73).

In addition to the power numbers, Reed also hit .336, while going 12-2 with a 2.09 ERA on the mound. The 6-foot-4, 240-pound Terre Haute, Ind., native was drafted as a first baseman by Houston.

Reed has already signed with the Astros for the assigned value of $1.35 million for the No. 42 overall pick, and will begin his Astros career at short-season Tri-City.


Cash Kruth is a reporter for Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth.