PHOENIX -- There was no grand plan that drove Brewers outfield prospect Michael Reed to report to Spring Training looking like a fullback. It just sort of happened."I love working out," said Reed, who has made it to the Majors in each of the last two Septembers. "When I'm mad,
PHOENIX -- There was no grand plan that drove Brewers outfield prospect Michael Reed to report to Spring Training looking like a fullback. It just sort of happened.
"I love working out," said Reed, who has made it to the Majors in each of the last two Septembers. "When I'm mad, when I'm happy, when I'm sad, whatever. I'm always in the gym. I love to feel strong."
Reed's love of the weight room may have come from his father, Benton, a defensive end drafted by the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1986 and who played in three games for the Patriots the following year. Michael also played high school football in Texans before committing to baseball.
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Baseball players tend to walk a fine line in the weight room. Strength helps, but not when it comes at the expense of flexibility.
"For me, it's when I start feeling tight," Reed said. "It has to be usable strength. It has to translate to baseball. I'm very cautious of that, and I stay on top of my stretching routine and tissue quality and stuff like that. As long as I build bulk and get muscle and stay flexible at the same time, I'm fine.
"For me, ever since I started lifting heavy, I've stayed healthier. Before that is when I kept getting injured and going on the DL."
Reed was the Brewers' fifth-round Draft pick in 2011 and remains close with the former Brewers scout who signed him, Jeremy Booth, who now runs the player development outfit Program 15. Reed has spent the past three winters lifting weights under the watch of Scott Lando, who develops baseball-specific strength programs. Among Lando's other clients is Blue Jays utility man Ryan Goins.
"[Reed] was that big last year, too, believe me," Triple-A Colorado Springs manager Rick Sweet said. "He is very dedicated. I've got him on Instagram, so I see everything. But he still has all of his athletic ability. You don't want to get too tied up and locked up that you can't do anything."
It will take more than an impressive bench press for Reed, 24 years old and No. 28 on MLBPipeline.com's list of Brewers prospects, to crack the Brewers' Opening Day roster. Barring injury, the Brewers have Ryan Braun in left field, Domingo Santana in right, Keon Broxton and Kirk Nieuwenhuis in center and utility man Hernan Perez making semi-regular starts in the outfield. Brewers manager Craig Counsell praised Reed as a plus-defender in the corner-outfield spots with a strong arm, but said, "I do think he has things to prove at the Triple-A level. I think we have a couple guys like that."
Reed, who reached Triple-A and the Major Leagues in 2015 in his age-22 season, spent most of last year at Colorado Springs. He continued to reach base at an impressive clip -- .366 -- but saw his slugging percentage slip to .365. Reed also set a career high with 124 strikeouts.
"For me, [Reed needs to] produce at that level and tell me you're better than that league," Counsell said. "It doesn't happen that way for every single guy. There is the defender who probably gets cut a little slack in that, when you're the exceptional defender. But for a lot of guys, you have to prove you're better than that league. That's how you get to the next level."
Adam McCalvy has covered the Brewers for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @AdamMcCalvy, like him on Facebook and listen to his podcast.