Reed highlights Prospect Team of the Week
Astros prospect hit four homers, drove in 11 runs
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 was a two-way star at college in Kentucky, hitting and pitching his way to the John Olerud Award in 2014. When the Houston Astros took him in the second round of last June's Draft, it was for his power from the left side of the plate.
Reed certainly hasn't disappointed. During his pro debut last summer, he slugged .522, with 20 doubles and 12 homers in 249 at-bats. Reed started out slowly during his first full season, hitting just .208 in April with a .417 SLG. May has been a different story, however, as the first baseman has a .378/.455/.892 line over 10 games this month. He did much of that damage this past week, May 4-10, to make him the most impressive among our Prospect Team of the Week honorees.
C: Tommy Murphy, Rockies (No. 8 prospect)
5 G, .400/.455/.900, 5 R, 1 2B, 3 HR, 9 RBIs, 2 BB, 3 SO, 1 SB
After a big first full season in 2013, Murphy had a 2014 campaign he'd rather forget, missing all but 27 games with a shoulder injury and hitting just .213 in the process. He's doing a good job putting it in the rearview mirror, hitting .330/.411/.606 in 27 games so far in 2015. Murphy hit in all five games he played in last week and went off on Tuesday with a 4-for-5 performance that included a double, two homers and 6 RBIs.
1B: A.J. Reed, Astros (No. 12 prospect)
7 G, .385/.500/1.000, 9 R, 4 2B, 4 HR, 11 RBIs, 6 BB, 6 SO
Reed's power combined with the launching pad he calls home in Lancaster seems like a perfect recipe for ridiculous numbers. Yet Reed has done more of his damage on the road than at home, though it should be noted the California League as a whole is a very nice place to hit. Reed clearly enjoyed playing in Stockton on Wednesday, with a three-homer game, scoring five runs and driving in nine. A homer to start that series gave him all four of his homers for the week in Stockton.
2B: Tyler Smith, Mariners (No. 28 prospect)
6 G, .455/.571/.733, 6 R, 4 2B, 1 HR, 5 RBIs, 5 BB, 4 SO
The Mariners love their middle infielders to have positional flexibility as they work their way up the ladder, and Smith sees time at second and at short. He played four games at second and two at short this past week. Oh, and he really swung the bat well. Smith has a seven-game hitting streak going and had three multihit games this past week, including his first home run of the season on May 9. He continues to show impressive on-base skills and has more walks than strikeouts to date. Smith's 3-for-3 (with two doubles) performance on May 4 was all the more impressive because it was first game back since April 21 following a stint on the disable list.
3B: Joey Gallo, Rangers (No. 1 prospect)
6 G, .368/.520/.895, 4 R, 1 2B, 3 HR, 5 RBIs, 6 BB, 8 SO
After missing the first few weeks of the season recovering from minor heel surgery, the slugger who finished second in the Minor Leagues in home runs in 2014 has quickly made up for lost time. Gallo hit his first three home runs of the season this past week. While he continues to have a considerable amount of swing-and-miss to his game, his ability to draw walks more consistently also makes him a better overall hitter than many expected. Gallo's 1.106 OPS for the year would place him second in the Texas League, behind only Carlos Correa, if he had enough at-bats to qualify.
SS: Carlos Correa, Astros (No. 1 prospect)
7 G, .429/.484/.821, 3 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 10 RBIs, 3 BB, 1 SO, 5 SB
Correa continues to set the Texas League on fire, and it has to be only a matter of time before he gets the bump up to Triple-A. He now joins Kyle Schwarber as the only two-time Prospect Team of the Week honoree after four multihit games. Correa drove in three runs in three contests, and his 10 RBIs for the week give him 32, tying him with organization-mate Preston Tucker for the Minor League lead. He's also in the top five in the Minors in average (.385), OBP (.459) and SLG (.726). Correa has also gone 15-for-15 in stolen-base attempts after swiping five last week.
OF: Billy McKinney, Cubs (No. 8 prospect)
9 G, .433/.550/.800, 9 R, 4 2B, 2 3B, 1 HR, 12 RBIs, 8 BB, 2 SO
He might be known as "the other guy" in the Jeff Samardzija trade, but McKinney is certainly hitting enough to separate him from Addison Russell. He had a busy week, with two doubleheaders, and had hits in seven of the nine games, including four multihit contests. McKinney's most interesting line may have come on Thursday, when he went 1-for-1 with a home run and four walks. He's drawn more free passes than he's struck out to date and leads the Class A Advanced Carolina League in batting average (.333), OBP (.433) and SLG (.545).
OF: Bubba Starling, Royals (No. 13 prospect)
6 G, .389/.476/.944, 5 R, 1 2B, 3 HR, 7 RBIs, 2 BB, 3 SO
Is the former first-round pick finally starting to figure things out? After scuffling for much of his first three-plus seasons of pro ball, it does seem like it's clicking a bit for the athletic outfielder. After ripping up the Carolina League for 12 games, the Royals whisked Starling up to Double-A. A quick adjustment period led to this past week, when Starling homered in his first three games. He's gotten on base in seven straight games and upped his Texas League numbers to .255/.356/.490 in 15 games. For the year, Starling has a robust .316/.409/.547 line.
OF: Austin Dean, Marlins (No. 10 prospect)
6 G, .478/.480/.739, 6 R, 4 2B, 1 3B, 8 RBIs, 1 BB, 4 SO
After his game on May 2, Dean was hitting .250. He's since raised his average 55 points thanks to four multihit games over this past week. Dean kicked it off with a 3-for-4 performance, then added another three-hit game -- one that included a double and a triple -- on Saturday. Dean broke out in 2014 by hitting .308, good four fourth in the organization. He's now sixth in the system in average and is tied for second with his 17 RBIs.
LHP: Blake Snell, Rays (No. 10 prospect)
1 G, 0-0, 6 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 2 BB, 8 SO
There were a few left-handers who had impressive weeks, but Snell deserves the tip of the cap not just for this past week's effort, but the fact that it's all he's done so far this season. Snell has tossed 33 scoreless innings to start the 2015 season, having allowed just 14 hits (.127 batting average against). He's now had three straight six-inning shutout starts and leads the Minors in batting average against, while also being tied for fourth in strikeouts (43).
RHP: Jose De Leon, Dodgers (No. 7 prospect)
2 G, 2-0, 14 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 24 SO
De Leon, a 24th-round pick in 2013, has picked up right where he left off following a breakout 2014 season. The right-hander was lights out last week with a pair of seven-inning, 12-strikeout performances, giving him three starts where he's racked up double-digit K's. De Leon's first start, at home on Tuesday, saw him yield just one hit and a walk over seven shutout frames. On Sunday, he did give up a run on five hits, but didn't walk anyone and it was in the hitting haven of High Desert. De Leon's 50 Ks now lead all Minor League pitchers.