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Another strong outing for Feliz; Reed extends streak

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas -- With Astros slugger George Springer resting after his first rehab start in eight weeks, a pair of the club's top prospects were poised to compete for center stage Sunday at Whataburger Field.

First baseman A.J. Reed and starting pitcher Michael Feliz, ranked as the Astros' No. 5 and No. 6 prospects, respectively, turned in another strong showing. Reed upped his team-high hitting streak to nine games and Feliz threw six innings of two-hit baseball, despite a no-decision in the Hooks' 2-1 victory over San Antonio (Padres) in front of 5,973 fans.

Springer, who went 1-for-4 with a run on Saturday, is scheduled to be in the lineup Monday as the Hooks (83-49) attempt to set a franchise record for wins in a season. He is on assignment after suffering a fractured right wrist July 1 at Minute Maid Park.

The hottest bat in the lineup clearly belongs to Reed, the Astros' second-round pick in 2014, who leads the Minor Leagues with 33 home runs (including 22 hit in High-A Lancaster before his July 12 promotion to Double-A.)

Reed has some experience at the top of the nation. Four years after turning down the New York Mets' offer to draft him as a pitcher out of high school, the Kentucky Wildcat led NCAA Division I with 23 home runs, while maintaining a 12-2 record on the mound, and earning the SEC Player of the Year, Baseball America College Player of the Year and a host of other accolades.

"I just felt like I wasn't ready out of high school," Reed said. "Sometimes I think about it, and maybe I wouldn't be playing baseball anymore if I had done that. I don't think I was emotionally or mentally or physically ready for it, at that time."

Video: Top Prospects: Michael Feliz, RHP, Astros

At 22, Reed (6-4, 252 pounds) is the second-youngest position player on the Corpus Christi roster, and he is hitting a scorching .355 with 10 home runs and 38 RBIs. Reed has a team-high .609 slugging percentage since making the move to Corpus Christi. He has hit safely in all but nine of his 45 games as a Hook.

Reed was 4-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs in Friday's 17-6 rout at Midland (Athletics). He also had two home runs and four RBIs on Saturday against San Antonio.

"It's about basically the same as anything else," Reed said. "I'm just trying to get a good pitch and hit it hard. Trust the power, and trust the hands, you know. See a good pitch up and be aggressive on strikes."

Reed and No. 10 prospect Colin Moran had back-to-back, two-out singles in the fifth inning Sunday, but they were stranded when Texas League batting leader Jon Kemmer lined out to first baseman.

Reed went deep to the left-field corner in the fifth, but a diving catch by Tyson Gillies robbed him of extra bases. Moran later drove in the go-ahead run in the eighth inning, but he was thrown out one pitch later, trying to score on Kemmer's single to left field.

Feliz, signed by Houston in 2010 as a free agent out of the Dominican Republic, allowed one earned run. It was only the third run in his past 38 innings pitched, dating back to July 24. He and Springer are the only active Hooks currently on the Astros' 40-man roster, though Reed's rapid rise through the Minor League ranks can't be ignored.

"I'm just planning on staying here and winning a ring here," Reed said. "That's kind of my focus. I don't want to think about what ifs or what could happen or what their plans could be. I haven't heard anything. I just plan on doing well here the rest of the year and finishing the season strong, making a good push in the playoffs and hopefully winning that." 

Damen Clow is a contributor for
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