Former UK star AJ Reed closing in on Triple-A Fresno’s homer record

Ex-Cat AJ Reed slugs 28th homer at Fresno

AJ Reed approaches Triple-A franchise season home-run record.
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AJ Reed approaches Triple-A franchise season home-run record.

AJ Reed, the former University of Kentucky baseball college player of the year and current major-league prospect for the Houston Astros, is approaching Triple-A Fresno’s single-season home run record.

Reed hit his 27th and 28th home runs of the season Monday, putting him five away from the franchise record as the Grizzlies try to stay in the race for the Pacific Coast League’s Pacific Northern Division title.

“My goal is 30, so if I get to (the Grizzlies’ record), I get to it,” Reed said in a story on MiLB.com. “If not, I don’t. I’ll be happy as long as I get to 30.”

The Grizzlies are one game behind first-place Reno with 13 games left to play.

“The second half, I wanted to really focus on fine-tuning to get back to where I was a couple years ago. Our hitting coach here is the same hitting coach I had at Lancaster (in 2015), Darryl Robinson,” Reed said. “That’s been great for me, because he’s taken the same approach, to let me do my thing until I came to him for help. It was the same thing this year, and I think that’s a good way to coach, to make the players make the decision and not force anything. I’m grateful, because without him, I don’t know if I would have (found my form again).”

Reed went 3-for-5 with six RBI in a 16-2 rout of Reno Monday. Their four-game series concludes Tuesday.

“We’re trying to play the best we can. We’re in a playoff race and we’re trying to win every day,” Reed said. “Obviously, I’m a power hitter, so I need to be driving the ball and driving in runs. When I do that and have a day like today, that boosts the confidence, so hopefully I can keep it rolling.”

Reed was drafted in the second round of the 2014 MLB draft by the Astros. He made his Major League debut on June 25, 2016, but was optioned back to Triple-A Fresno at the beginning of this season. He’s played in 47 games as a major leaguer with three homers.

Reed has batted .254 with 20 doubles and 89 RBI in 114 games for Fresno this season.

He has played in two games for the Astros this season, and was hitless in six at-bats.