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Astros first base prospect A.J. Reed hot in spring training

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The first baseman seeks to overcome his difficult 2016 MLB debut

MLB: Houston Astros at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Houston Astros first base prospect A.J. Reed has one of the hottest bats in 2017 spring training, going 9-for-25 (.360) with four homers, four walks, and six strikeouts thus far. He’s drawn praise from Astros manager A.J. Hinch for his ability to make adjustments.

"Reed's at-bats have been better in the last couple of games," Hinch said. "The base hits to left against the shift, the pull homer in the air was very impressive."

The next large-scale project around here is an end-of-spring training update for the Top 200 MLB prospects list. Reed was a notable omission from the February version of the list, as he came in around the 200-210 range. He hit just .164/.270/.262 in 122 at-bats for Houston last summer, which was the first time in his career he’s had any sort of extended struggle to hit. In retrospect I likely over-corrected due to his major league problems last year.

One name that comes to mind is Anthony Rizzo, who hit just .141/.281/.242 in 128 at-bats for the San Diego Padres back in 2011. He made adjustments and unlocked his ability in 2012 after a trade to the Cubs; Reed could follow the same path, trade or not.

Caveats abound of course: small sample, and it is spring training. That said, the improvements in approach are good to see, and other reports indicate that he’s corrected mechanical flaws that impacted his swing last summer.