OMAHA, Neb. — Kentucky two-way star A.J. Reed won the Dick Howser Trophy as the top player in college baseball.
Reed was honored Saturday during a ceremony at the College World Series in Omaha, Neb. The Houston Astros' second-round draft pick hit a nation-leading 23 home runs and had a 12-2 record as a pitcher.
Reed, who played first base in addition to pitching, batted .336 with 73 RBI and a .476 on-base percentage. He made 16 starts on the mound for Kentucky and had a 2.09 ERA.
The Howser Trophy is presented by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and Easton Foundations. It's named in memory of the former Florida State All-America shortstop and major league player and manager who died of brain cancer in 1987.
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Past winners of the award include Robin Ventura, Jason Varitek, Todd Helton, J.D. Drew, Mark Teixeira, Buster Posey and Stephen Strasburg.
"First off, just would like to thank the coaches and staff at Kentucky, and my mom and my family to give me the opportunity to play baseball growing up, the coaches to give me the opportunity to play at Kentucky and in the SEC," Reed said during the award presentation. "I couldn't have done it without anybody at UK, the coaches, the staff, and my teammates especially. They are the ones that push me and the coaches pushed me to get better every day."
Reed's postseason award haul keeps growing. He was named the Baseball America College Player of the Year, Collegiate Baseball Newspaper National Player of the Year and Southeastern Conference Player of the Year. He was named a first-team All-American by Collegiate Baseball, the NCBWA and Baseball America. He's also one of three finalists for the Golden Spikes Award.
"I'll give you a little bit of an idea of who A.J. is," UK Coach Gary Henderson said. "The numbers, everyone is aware of the numbers, they are spectacular. A.J. is a guy that is at the center of your club. He has a good time every day he is at the field. He likes to laugh, he has a good sense of humor. He can poke fun at himself. He is fun to be around, consistently, even when it didn't go well and he had a rough weekend, you knew that A.J. was going to show up and bring energy and a smile."
Reed was the first pick of the second round in the MLB Draft, going No. 42 overall to the Houston Astros, as a first baseman.
Reed signed his first professional contract on Wednesday in Houston and was assigned to the Astros' short-season Class A affiliate, the Tri-City ValleyCats. Their season started on Friday.