Astros' Reed rolls in Fall League victory
Houston's No. 5 prospect hits two doubles, RBIs in Glendale win
After getting off to a slow start in this year's Arizona Fall League, slugger A.J. Reed is starting to settle in at the plate.
"Today I felt a lot better," said Reed after the game. "I hit some balls hard and put together some good at-bats."
Glendale took an early lead courtesy of an RBI single by second baseman Brandon Dixon in the top of the third inning. However, Surprise's offense responded with five runs in the bottom half of the frame -- all coming with two outs.
Rangers No. 4 prospect (No. 65 overall) Lewis Brinson started the rally with an RBI triple to center field, and he scored on a double by former No. 1 overall prospect Jurickson Profar. Royals No. 5 prospect Bubba Starling followed with an RBI single, and Yankees outfielder Tyler Austin capped the big inning with a two-run double.
But the Saguaros didn't hold the lead for long, as Glendale rallied for four runs in the top of the fifth inning to tie the game, 5-5.
Glendale shortstop Adam Frazier plated a run with a triple to right field, forcing Surprise to make a pitching change with outfielder Austin Meadows coming to the plate. The Pirates' No. 2 prospect (No. 22 overall) greeted right-handed reliever Adam Parks with his first Fall League homer, a two-run home run to right field. The next batter, Dixon, picked up another knock and scored the tying run on Reed's double.
Brewers No. 18 prospect Yadiel Rivera helped Surprise reclaim the lead with an inside-the-park home run in the bottom of the sixth inning, although it would be the Saguaros' last run of the game.
The seventh saw Glendale snatch the lead back with three runs. Reed evened the score with his second RBI double before scoring the go-ahead run on a wild pitch. White Sox No. 17 prospect Adam Engel provided Glendale with an insurance run on a pinch-hit RBI double, while Dodgers No. 24 prospect Kyle Farmer continued his strong AFL campaign with a run-scoring double in the ninth.
Reed, a second-round Draft pick in 2014, paced all Minor League hitters with 34 home runs and 127 RBIs during the regular season in his first full professional campaign. However, the 6-foot-4, 240-pound left-handed hitter also proved to be more than just a one-dimensional slugger, batting a robust .340/.432/.612 with 30 doubles, 113 runs scored and 86 walks.
Reed went 0-for-3 in each of his first three contests for the Desert Dogs, but, since then, he's collected hits in three straight contests. The 22-year-old first baseman has a .200 batting average and 1.200 OPS through six games.
"After taking a couple weeks off, you have to get your timing back and see some pitches," he said. "It took a couple games, but I feel a lot better at the plate now."
As his bat has picked up, the Kentucky product has been able to focus on improving his defense at first base.
"I'm working on my range, laterally, trying to get to more balls in the hole," he said. "I'm working on my hands, too, making sure that I make all the plays I need to."
However, Reed is making sure not to get too far ahead of himself at this point in his promising career.
"I just want to put myself in position to keep getting these opportunities," Reed said. "I'm just going out there trying to play well and show [the Astros] that I'm good enough to play in the big leagues."