Former University of Kentucky star AJ Reed hit a home run for the second straight game Friday, a game-winning solo shot in Triple-A Fresno’s 2-1 win against Las Vegas in the team’s home opener.
Reed, the Astros’ No. 2 prospect according to MLB.com, led the minor leagues in home runs (34) and RBI (127) last season.
Through seven games this season, he’s batting .310 with four doubles, two home runs, five walks and eight RBI.
“The first few games, I felt like I was in between pitches,” Reed told MiLB.com after Friday’s game. “I was late on fastballs, so I tweaked my stance, which helped get my timing back and put me in position to hit the ball hard. That’s what I’ve done the last two games.”
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Reed, a 22-year-old first baseman making his first stop at Triple-A, is 5-for-9 since opening the season just 4-for-20.
He played well for Houston during spring training — .311 with three home runs and nine RBI — and was one of the last players cut.
“I think anyone in my position has it in their head that they’re just one step away,” Reed said. “I need to prove myself here in Triple-A and just take things day by day, at-bat by at-bat and hit the ball hard. I have no control over when they decide to call me up, so when it’s time, it’s time.”
Reed is concentrating on more than hitting at Fresno.
“I felt like I took a big step forward defensively this spring, but I need more quality reps during the actual game, so I’m working hard to get comfortable out there and then hopefully succeed in the majors,” Reed told MiLB.com.
Meyer hits 99 mph
Minnesota Twins prospect Alex Meyer, a 6-foot-9 pitcher out of Kentucky, was back on the mound as a starter for the first time in nearly a year Friday.
He responded well by pitching 6 1/3 scoreless innings in Triple-A Rochester’s 2-1 win at Buffalo. Meyer’s fastball hit 99 mph, and he had eight strikeouts.
“I was efficient, throwing strikes, getting ahead,” Meyer, the Twins’ No. 11 prospect, told MiLB.com. “I was feeling good, I was feeling like the ball was coming out pretty good.”
Meyer gave up three hits in his first start since May 19. He was 2-3 with a 7.09 ERA in eight starts last season before he was moved to the bullpen.
“It was fun. It was fun to get back out there in the pregame routine and everything and get that stuff put back together,” Meyer said.
Still, Meyer said his thought his future might be as a reliever.
“I was thought I was better suited for the bullpen,” he said. “It’s just a case where we have some starters coming up who are really good and guys in the big leagues under contract for a while. … But they thought differently, and that’s fine. I’ll do whatever they want me to do.”
Fast start for Shepherd
Chandler Shepherd, a Boston Red Sox prospect who starred at Lawrence County and UK, has only allowed a hit and a walk in seven scoreless relief innings this season for Double-A Portland. He retired the first 19 batters he faced.
Shepherd had five strikeouts in three innings Friday night.