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2014 Texas Rangers Draft Preview: A.J. Reed

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Taking a look at Kentucky first baseman A.J. Reed

A.J. Reed attends the University of Kentucky.  Robbie Ross would have gone to Kentucky, if he hadn't signed with Texas.
A.J. Reed attends the University of Kentucky. Robbie Ross would have gone to Kentucky, if he hadn't signed with Texas.
Jamie Squire

Beginning in 2011, I started doing capsule reports on possible Texas Ranger draft picks.  No one I profiled in 2011 was actually taken by the Rangers that year, but I each of the last two years one of the players I profiled actually was picked (Nick Williams and Travis Demeritte).

This year, the Rangers don't have their own first round pick, having lost that for signing Shin-Soo Choo, but they have a supplemental first rounder (#30 overall) for losing Nelson Cruz.  While just one high pick makes the draft a little less exciting, I think its still worth taking a look at some guys who may be options for Texas at #30.  So in the next few weeks, I'll do little write-ups on some players who could end up being drafted by the Rangers.

This afternoon, I'm highlighting University of Kentucky first baseman A.J. Reed

A.J. Reed is a 6'4", 245 lb. first baseman/pitcher at the University of Kentucky.  The most recent mock draft by Baseball America has the Rangers taking Reed, who is leading the collegiate ranks in home runs this season, at #30.  BA has Reed ranked #33 overall, and ESPN has Reed ranked at #37 overall in their pre-draft rankings.

While the Rangers have tended to emphasize tools, athleticism and middle-of-the-diamond defense with their premium picks in recent years, Reed profiles as a pure hitter, a guy who, defensively, is going to be limited to first baseman (although BA says he has "baseball athleticism"), but whose ticket to the big leagues is his hitting ability and, in particular, his power.  Reed gets praise for being selective at the plate, and willing to work the count.  However, there are questions about whether his swing is too long to have success against major league pitchers.

Reed also pitches, and so he offers the possibility of being tried out on the mound if the bat doesn't progress.  However, that's a fallback plan...he'll be drafted for the bat.

Here's some video: