KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- In his first big league spring camp, Astros first baseman A.J. Reed certainly made a positive impression on manager A.J. Hinch and the rest of the coaching staff, setting the stage for him possibly making his Major League debut later this year.
Reed, a second-round Draft pick in 2014, had a bang-up first full season in professional ball last year, hitting .340 with 30 doubles, five triples, 34 HRs and 127 RBIs between Class A Lancaster and Double-A Corpus Christi. He's ranked No. 2 in the organization and No. 1 at first base by MLBPipeline.com.
"He swung the bat very well," Hinch said. "I've been happy with his at-bats. He's very calm in the batter's box. You wouldn't know this is his first big league camp. Obviously, he's very confident at the plate and is coming off a great season in the Minors. He's looked as comfortable as we could have imagined in the batter's box against some good pitchers. It continues to be a good learning curve for him."
There's no reason to believe Reed won't flourish in Triple-A this year, but he will have to prove he can hit left-handed pitching, as well as making the transition to the next level. Defensively, he was better than expected.
"His at-bats were what they are, and we expected that, and he came off this huge season," Hinch said. "His work around first base was very good. And as I told Reed before, he was softly in this competition at the beginning of the camp and he made a nice little run. And the more we saw the emergence of Tyler White, the more it became evident that Reed could go to Triple-A and taste that level a little bit, but he made a great showing."
Reed hit .311 with a .333 on-base percentage, three home runs and nine RBIs this spring. As camp progressed, he appeared to be more comfortable and his production increased.
"I needed to slow it down," Reed said. "I felt quick at the plate. Just trying to get some timing, and I had to slow down a little bit and start a little earlier and be a little smoother."
If White struggles in his Major League debut to start the season, the Astros could call up Reed sooner than later. And if Reed mashes at Fresno like he's done at every level of the Minor Leagues, the Astros will have to find a place for him in Houston.