Reed tops Prospect Team of the Week
Astros prospect homers thrice, on list for record-tying fourth time in 2015
MLBPipeline.com's Prospect Team of the Week honors the best performances from the previous seven days. Any player currently on an organization Top 30 Prospects list on our Prospect Watch is eligible, including big leaguers.
A.J. Reed is at it again. The Astros first-base prospect homered three more times and drove in seven more runs last week at Double-A Corpus Christi, earning Prospect Team of the Week honors for the fourth time in 2015. That ties Reed with Kyle Schwarber for the most recognition this year.
The 2014 Draft class already has sent college position players Schwarber, Michael Conforto and Trea Turner to the big leagues, and Reed could be next in line -- though probably not until next season. Fourteen months ago, he was a second-round pick out of Kentucky after winning most major college player-of-the-year awards. Reed topped NCAA Division I with 23 homers and a .735 slugging percentage, and he also won 12 games (one shy of the national lead) as the Wildcats' No. 1 starter.
Focusing solely on hitting as a pro, Reed has put together a .349/.440/.627 line in his first full pro season. Spending the first three months at Class A Advanced Lancaster -- perhaps the most favorable hitting environment in the Minors -- certainly helped his numbers, but he also has batted .355/.422/.605 in 45 games since his promotion to Double-A Corpus Christi.
Our complete Prospect Team of the Week for Aug. 24-30 includes two more Astros infield prospects:
C: Willson Contreras, Cubs (No. 10 prospect)
7 G, .409/.552/.636, 5 R, 2 2B, HR, 4 RBI, 6 BB, 4 SO, 2 SB
As if the Cubs needed more position prospects, Contreras has emerged as one of the Minors' best catchers in 2015. He had four multihit games last week to boost his season totals to .326/.409/.475 in 120 games at Double-A Tennessee, and he ranks second in the Southern League in hitting, on-base percentage and RBI (72) and third in slugging, hits (139) and doubles (32). Contreras also has a better chance than Schwarber does of staying behind the plate.
1B: A.J. Reed, Astros (No. 5 prospect)
6 G, .500/.519/.958, 8 R, 2 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 2 BB, 2 SO
Reed unquestionably has posted the best season among Minor League hitters in 2015. He leads the field in slugging (.627), OPS (1.064), runs (108), homers (33), RBIs (119), hits (171) and total bases (307), while also ranking third in batting (.349) and fourth in on-base percentage (.440) and extra-base hits (65).
2B: Max Schrock, Nationals (No. 30 prospect)
6 G, .423/.444/.654, 6 R, 1 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 2 SO
Schrock's bat earned him a $500,000 bonus as a 13th-round pick in June, and so far that investment looks like a wise one. He has hit safely in his past eight games (including six multihit efforts) and 19 of his past 20, and he's batting .322/.363/.450 in 40 contests at Class A short-season Auburn.
3B: J.D. Davis, Astros (No. 12 prospect)
7 G, .483/.571/1.000, 15 R, 3 2B, 4 HR, 12 RBI, 6 BB, 6 SO, 1 SB
The Astros have five infielders who have earned multiple PTOW mentions in 2015: Reed (four), Carlos Correa (three), Alex Bregman (two, and more on him in a moment), Davis (two) and Tony Kemp (two). Davis, who homered in six straight games earlier this month, has gone deep in his past three contests, including a two-homer, six-RBI outburst Sunday. He's hitting .291/.371/.531 with 26 homers and a Class A Advanced California League-best 100 RBI in 114 games.
SS: Alex Bregman, Astros (No. 1 prospect)
.414/.455/.724, 4 R, 2 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 6 RBI, 3 BB, 1 SO
The No. 2 overall pick in the 2015 Draft, Bregman went just 2-for-23 in his first six games at Lancaster, but has batted .391/.440/.573 since. He's riding a 15-game hitting streak and has .302/.377/.420 combined numbers in 60 games with two Class A clubs.
OF: Harrison Bader, Cardinals (No. 17 prospect)
7 G, .448/.448/.828, 6 R, 1 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 6 RBI, 6 SO
One of the best college athletes in the 2015 Draft, Bader combines solid power and speed, yet somehow he lasted 100 picks in June. That already looks like a mistake as he has had no problems adjusting to pro ball, batting .314/.376/.512 with nine homers and 16 steals in 54 games, mostly in low Class A.
OF: Tyler Goeddel, Rays (No. 26 prospect)
7 G, .448/.500/.759, 7 R, 2 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 8 RBI, 3 BB, 2 SO, 2 SB
Goeddel has made slow but steady progress since signing for $1.5 million as a supplemental first-rounder in 2011. He had five multihit games last week to increase his season totals to .279/.351/.436 with 12 homers and 71 RBIs, all career highs, in 117 games at Double-A Montgomery.
OF: Alex Jackson, Mariners (No. 1 prospect)
6 G, .389/.542/.944, 6 R, 1 2B, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 5 BB, 6 SO, 1 SB
The No. 6 overall choice in the 2014 Draft has faced far more adversity in his first full pro season than expected, including shoulder and hand injuries and a dismal .453 OPS in low Class A. Jackson has looked better since joining short-season Everett in mid-June and has homered six times this month, including two on Saturday. He's hitting .260/.370/.514 with eight homers in 43 games with the AquaSox.
LHP: Jordan Montgomery, Yankees (No. 27 prospect)
1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 GS, 6 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 8 SO, 0.000 WHIP
Montgomery made his PTOW debut two weeks ago and returns after working six perfect innings with eight strikeouts on Friday. The polished lefty has given up more than three earned runs just once in 23 starts between two Class A stops in his first full pro season, and he is a combined 11-9 with a 3.03 ERA and a 128/35 K/BB ratio in 129 1/3 innings.
RHP: Oscar De La Cruz, Cubs (No. 23 prospect)
1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 GS, 7 IP, 1 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 13 SO, 0.286 WHIP
No Cubs pitching prospect's stock is rising as rapidly as De La Cruz's, and he showed why on Wednesday with the best game of his career, throwing seven innings of one-hit ball with 13 strikeouts. Making his U.S. debut this summer, the former shortstop is now 6-3 with a 2.96 ERA in 12 starts at Class A short-season Eugene, also sporting a 69/17 K/BB ratio and a .217 opponent average in 67 innings.