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Saturday, May 7, 2016

FANTASY BASEBALL PROSPECT WATCH: A.J. REED 1B HOUSTON ASTROS

One of the bigger stories in fantasy baseball the first two weeks of the 2016 season was the unbelievable hitting display put forth by Houston Astros first baseman Tyler White.  White was a power-hitting/average dynamo right out of the gate as he slammed five home runs and put up a sizzling .340 average.  White's big start immediately quieted talk of the Astros calling up top power-hitting first base prospect A.J. Reed early in the season and instead the latter would now likely be pushed back to July at the earliest.  Well as often happens when previously unknown guys come out of the gates on fire with the bat, opposing pitchers adjusted as White soon went into a hellacious slump that saw his average plummet all the way to a horrid .221 going into Thursday's games.  Things have gotten so bad that White was first moved down to the number six spot in the Astros order and then soon started finding himself on the bench for some games.  The slump shows no signs of ebbing and so now the A.J. Reed watch is on again for prospect hounds.  And the former number 2 pick in the second round of the 2014 draft is starting to show that he should be hearing a call from the big league club soon enough. 

When it comes to the outlook on Reed, the scouting report screams out "classic power-hitting slugger."  Reed has immense natural strength in a Jim Thome  kind of sense and he already has six home runs in only 102 at-bats at Triple-A.  Alas Reed is still only 22 and has some decent development still to go with his overall hitting approach.  For one thing, Reed is striking out way to much as his 20.6 mark shows.  While at the major league level a 20.6 K rate is not terrible, at the minor league level it is high.  Once in the majors, that number will only go up which could make Reed a batting average liability right away to go with the power.  So far Reed is hitting just .244 at Triple-A which is why the Astros have not made a move just yet.  Now in Reed defense, a very unlucky .250 BABIP is part of the problem when it comes to his batting average and in turn he is more of a .265 guy with neutral numbers in that category.  What is really nice to see if the fact Reed draws a ton of walks at 14.7 percent and he reminds me of Jason Giambi in that respect.  Again a high walk rate will only help Reed's batting average and is a bright spot for his overall outlook. 

The more Tyler White puts up 0-for-ers, the more likely a call-up of Reed is in the immediate cards.  This is an actionable move in all leagues as Reed could be Lucas Duda right away with a mediocre average but a high number of home runs.  Pick him up now as a matter of fact if Reed is still somehow still available.  He is worth the wait. 

 

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