LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Kentucky great AJ Reed has earned his first professional promotion, as the Houston Astros have advanced Reed to the low class-A Midwest League for his first taste of full-season minor league action.
Reed will debut with the Quad City River Bandits in a familiar place on Monday, taking on the Bowling Green Hot Rods at the BG Ballpark in Bowling Green at 1 p.m. ET.
A 6-foot-4, 240-pound first baseman, Reed got his first extended experience with wooden bats in his 34 games in the New York-Penn League after signing as the first pick of the second round in the 2014 MLB Draft by the Astros. Reed hit .306 (38-for-124) with 11 doubles, five homers and 30 RBI, owning a 22-22 walk-strikeout ratio and stealing two bases. Reed, despite missing seven days due to the award-show circuit, totaled a .420 on-base percentage and a .516 slugging mark. In his final game with the Tri-City ValleyCats, Reed went 2-for-2 with a grand slam and three walks on Saturday, prompting his promotion.
Reed completed one of the best seasons in the history of college baseball in 2014, winning the Golden Spikes Award, the Dick Howser Trophy, Baseball America College Player of the Year, the American Baseball Coaches Association National Player of the Year, Perfect Game’s National Player of the Year and the Collegiate Baseball National Player of the Year. He was also named the SEC’s Male Athlete of the Year, the SEC Player of the Year, and the winner of the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award.
The third unanimous national player of the year in conference history, Reed finished 2014 as the NCAA leader in homers (23), slugging (.735) and OPS (1.211), while becoming the first player in SEC history to lead the league in wins (12-2) and homers.
Reed finished his junior season with a .336 average - narrowly missing the second triple-crown in SEC history - with a conference best in homers and RBI (73). He also led the league in on-base percentage (.476), total bases (164) and walks (49), while adding 60 runs, 18 doubles and one triple. On the mound, Reed was UK's Friday-night ace for a second straight year, posting the second-most wins in Kentucky history, while starting 16 games. He hurled 112 innings, walking just 29 and striking out 71.
A consensus first-team All-America selection in 2014, Reed finished his record-setting UK career with a .306 average in 172 games, slugging 35 doubles, three triples, 40 homers and 168 RBI. On the mound, Reed finished with a 19-13 record and a 2.83 ERA in his 46-game UK career, tossing 248 innings.