A.J. Reed is expected to make his MLB debut tonight. In the past, we have discussed reasons to be excited and reasons to be cautious about prospects as they make their debuts. As the top prospect, Reed obviously gives plenty of reasons for optimism. So, is there really a need to be cautious with him?
Pumping the Gas
Much has already been said of Reed's talent. The strongest recognition of his talent may be the simple fact that he is the #1 prospect in the Astros' highly-ranked farm system. His power at all levels has excited many fans and led to much optimism around the budding slugger, so I'd rather spend more time on why we should be cautious about him.
Pumping the Brakes
A.J. Reed is the next big prospect to come up for the Astros. After seeing the success that Correa and McCullers had last year upon arriving in the Show, and the contributions others made (Vincent Velasquez andPreston Tucker), it's easy to assume that any top prospect is going to have an impact. Let's remember Jon Singleton... and Brett Wallace. Not every top prospect pans out (not that I've totally given up on Singleton just yet). Is Reed's hype partly due to the fact that the Astros' prospects have had so much immediate success recently?
It also seemed odd that Reed was getting so much hype this off-season after only playing 53 games above A ball. That's right. He played 53 games at Corpus last year. So far in Fresno this year, he has put up solid numbers, but I wouldn't call it raking (.266/.345/.509).
I'm typically an optimist, but those numbers and the limited experience in the upper levels of the minors just don't give me confidence that Reed will stick in the majors. I'm definitely rooting for the guy, and just want him to at least put up the same production that we have received from the 1B spot so far this season (which has been far from stellar). Anything better than that would be gravy in my opinion.
Lastly, I will say that I really like the timing of his promotion. The team is on a winning streak that has seen them get on the right side of .500 for the first time since Game 1 of the season. It's not like they're asking Reed to come up and be a breath of fresh air like they did with Correa last year. I think that puts way less pressure on him and is great.
It will be interesting to see where he bats in the lineup. I don't expect him to be a threat in the middle of the order right away, but hopefully Reed can be a productive member of the 2017 World Series Champs.