Buddy Reed came into his own last offseason while playing in the Australian Baseball League.The experience -- and perhaps more importantly the improvements he made along the way -- ultimately paved the way for a breakthrough 2018 season that's now continuing for the Padres' No. 13 prospect nearly a full
Buddy Reed came into his own last offseason while playing in the Australian Baseball League.
The experience -- and perhaps more importantly the improvements he made along the way -- ultimately paved the way for a breakthrough 2018 season that's now continuing for the Padres' No. 13 prospect nearly a full year later in the Arizona Fall League.
"I've been playing since November of last year," said Reed, who batted .326 with 10 home runs in 31 games with Canberra Calvary. "But playing for [the Padres] is obviously an honor, and having them tell me to come [to Arizona] is even better."
Arizona Fall League overviews for all 30 teams
After a first full season during which he hit a .234/.290/.396 line in 88 games at Class A Fort Wayne, Reed made some key adjustments at the plate in the ABL and rediscovered his strengths as a hitter.
"I changed my mechanics, got a little lower and more into my legs," said Reed.
Those changes paid immediate dividends for Reed this past season in the Class A Advanced California League, where he produced a .324/.371/.549 line with 12 homers, 40 extra-base hits and 33 steals in 79 games for Lake Elsinore. The performance earned the 23-year-old outfielder a promotion to Double-A in July, and he represented the U.S. in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Nationals Park a few days later.
However, success didn't come as easily for the former 2016 second-rounder in the Texas League. Across 43 games, Reed batted .179/.227/.235 with a 32.3 percent strikeout rate, up from 24.5 percent in the California League.
Altogether, Reed slashed .271/.319/.435 with 13 homers and 51 stolen bases in 122 games between the two levels.
"I thought I had a pretty good year," said Reed, "but when I got to Double-A, I think I lost it a little bit. I don't know if it was physically or mentally, but I just had a little lapse.
"Pitchers are a lot better," noted Reed about the transition to Double-A. "They can make their pitches look like strikes and end up being balls. And when there's the one pitch that you get, if you miss, you sometimes won't get another."
Needless to say, Reed has embraced the chance to face even more quality pitchers this fall -- guys comparable to the ones he'll be facing next year when he presumably returns to the Texas League.
"It's about having a disciplined approach at the plate," he said. "I've been working on that. It wasn't there as much in Double-A, but coming here, I'll get those reps and refine my approach a little bit."
Padres hitters in the Fall League
Austin Allen, C/1B
The Padres' No. 25 prospect made gains on both sides of the ball in 2018 in his first Double-A campaign. Offensively, the left-handed-hitting backstop hit .290/.351/.506 with 22 homers and 31 doubles in 119 games at San Antonio. Behind the dish, meanwhile, the 24-year-old's 36 percent caught-stealing rate was a marked improvement over his 21 percent success rate in 2017.
Hudson Potts, 3B
A 2016 first-rounder and current Padres No. 23 prospect, Potts slashed .260/.335/.455 with 19 homers and 35 doubles while reaching Double-A at age 19. He makes a lot of hard contact, with power that already plays to all fields, and he made considerable gains in his approach this year despite accruing more than 140 strikeouts for a second straight season.
Padres pitchers in the Fall League
Miguel Diaz, RHP
The 23-year-old righty has spent parts of the past two seasons in the big leagues after joining the Padres' system in the 2016 Rule 5 Draft. Throwing strikes consistently -- 5.5 BB/9 in MLB; 3.8 in Minors -- is the only thing holding him back, as Diaz boasts an electric arm that produces a darting 95-97 mph two-seamer.
Travis Radke, LHP
Radke won't crack 90 mph with his fastball but has good feel for three pitches including an average-or-better slider. Pitching for each of the Padres' four full-season affiliates this past season, the 25-year-old lefty saved 16 games while compiling a 1.94 ERA and 0.88 WHIP across 45 appearances. He posted 91 strikeouts against 14 walks in 78 2/3 innings, all while holding hitters to a .196 average.
Blake Rogers, RHP
San Diego's 37th-round pick from the 2015 Draft, Rogers spent the entire year in the California League, where he posted a 4.84 ERA with a 1.49 WHIP but also totaled 70 strikeouts in 57 2/3 innings.
Dauris Valdez, RHP
The 6-foot-8 righty boasts some of the best arm strength in the Fall League in a fastball that sits 97-99 mph. He saved 13 games and racked up 76 strikeouts in 53 1/3 innings (48 appearances) for Lake Elsinore during the regular season.
Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero.