I Have A Need, A Need for A.J. Reed
As I write this piece I have just been eliminated from the semifinals of my fantasy football dynasty league. It stinks to lose in the playoffs but I’m taking this one in stride. It doesn’t take long for me to turn my eye towards my true love—my 16 team dynasty league. Of course the league I am referring to is a baseball league because really that’s the only fantasy sport that matters.
This past season was a pretty solid one in my fantasy sports life as I was able to pull off the rare three-peat winning all of the baseball leagues I took part in. It took me six-years to accomplish the feat in my aforementioned dynasty league and to stay on top I will need to be diligent.
One the keys to sustaining and building a winner is making your minor league draft count. In my league anyone who is new to the ESPN player pool when the league re-launches after the two week maintenance period is fair game in our pre-season waiver draft. This season my number one target is A.J. Reed.
It can be tricky to decide whom to draft when you already have a good team. With top ten players at every position and a very solid pitching staff there are no glaring needs on my team but yet there are number of directions I could go with my pick. The reasons I have settled on Reed are many but undoubtedly one of the main ones is that power is very hard to find.
The 22-year-old Reed is a left handed power bat drafted by Houston and is coming off a truly monstrous year. Across two levels, A+ and AA, he was able to hit 34 dingers while knocking in 127 RBI. In doing so he was one of only two 30/100/.300 players in the minor leagues. While part of that production came in the hitter friendly Cal league the change to AA did very little to slow him down.
When you watch Reed hit a ball there is now doubt as to why it leaves the park so quickly, he’s a veritable giant at 6’4” and 240 lbs. however there is also a grace to his swing. There are few moving parts as he swings and his path to the ball is smooth and direct. The smooth swing has led to a lifetime average in the minor leagues of .324 helped in large part from his average of .340 last season.
One of the reasons why Reed isn’t just a good power hitter but is in fact just a good hitter is his ability to drive the ball to all fields. As the chart below shows his hits were very equitable to all fields and the spray chart shows the home runs were just as evenly distributed. His ability to hit for power and average is nearly unmatched in the minor leagues and is certainly the best among all first base prospects.
One other quality that sets Reed apart from the competition is the fact that he has yet to have to sell out any of his ability to hit for average in order to maintain his power. In the jump from A+ to AA last season his K rate went from 19% to 20.7%. Think of how impressive that is! He made just a 1.7% increase in K rate despite traversing what is generally accepted as the biggest talent gap in the minors.
When you have a good dynasty league team it is often you have to do what I am doing and pick towards the rear of the player pool for the upcoming season. This means that most of the big name prospects will be off the board but players like Reed, currently ranked 91st at MLB.com, may still be available.
First base prospects generally don’t get much love because of their lack of defensive use but for our fantasy purposes that doesn’t really matter. There are few impact bats in the minor leagues who could legitimately challenge for a 30 HR, 100 RBI season in the big leagues and I believe Reed is one. Many lists will say differently this spring but if you make Reed your target you will be picking a surefire contributor for the future.
[…] TheDynastyGuru.com believes A.J. Reed has the opportunity to be a consistent 30-100 first baseman. […]
It sounds like you’d take Reed over Swanson. What about Benintendi? I have the 5th pick in my upcoming draft and I’m thinking both of those guys will be on the board. Thanks.
I would go Reed over Benintendi because as good as Benintendi has been he is considered by most to be physically maxed out. If he ends up in a corner position his power could play down. Reed can slug with anyone.
All these positives and yet there are more! As I’m sure your aware, he was a good pitcher in college so this was his first full year exclusively as a hitter. On top of that, he posted double digit walk rates in both A+ and AA. Add on playing for a young playoff team and this guy could be fantasy gold.
Great points Bryan and I couldn’t agree more.
What do you see as his timetable? Houston has been struggling to find a fit at 1B…
I think he could be up as soon as mid-year. It wouldn’t surprise me at all to see him start the year at AAA and if the Astros don’t sign a major bat like Chris Davis this off-season he could take over for a struggling Jon Singleton. He is on the cusp.
If they were both on the draft board who would you let fall to the next round….Josh Bell or AJ Reed?
I would prefer to take AJ Reed and let Bell fall to the following round. For me its not even all that close. I think Bell could develop into a decent power hitter but Reed is already there. Reed doesn’t give up much of anything to Bell other than making slightly less contact.
Have the 1-1 for a dynasty league in a yahoo and the following players SHOULD be available: AJ Reed, Swanson, Brendan Rodgers, Nomar Mazara, Alex Bregman, Rafael Devers
I’ve been going back and forth if all are available… I won the league last year and am probably one of 4-5 contenders but long-term value is important…. Was originally thinking Rodgers/Devers… But would I be crazy to take AJ Reed? Mazara is enticing but my OF is pretty stacked… Any thoughts? I’ll probably only able to draft 1, 2 at most
Without seeing your roster its a bit difficult to be 100% on which way to go here but it is really hard for me not to recommend Mazara on talent alone. If your outfield truly is insanely stacked and you feel like you could forgo taking Mazara I would probably still take him and look to trade him later.
The argument can certainly be made to take Reed over the other players you mentioned. Firstly Devers, Swanson, Rodgers, and Bregman are all in the low-minors and will take much longer to reach the show. The second observation here is that three of those players are shortstops so you may be able to snag one with your second pick. Rodgers has the highest ceiling but will likely be the last to reach the bigs. out of Swanson and Bregman I like Swanson’s ceiling and opportunity a bit more.
Devers could end up being more valuable than Reed if he stays at third base but I find that to be very unlikely at this point. When he shifts across the diamond to first I prefer Reed.
I would view this as a perfect draft if you could take Mazara 1-1 and then take Reed with your second pick. This would enable you to down the road trade Mazara for a shortstop of your choice. The best player is never a bad idea.
Thanks Jake! I Really appreciate the reply…
My OF is Harper, Heyward, Puig, Gregory Polanco, and can possibly keep Alex Gordon and Manny Margot.
I think Devers/ Rodgers would be great with their high ceilings… but I agree are at least 3-4 years away. If I take Mazara 1-1… I’m probably down to Bregman.. maybe Reed… if I’m lucky for my next pick… I’d imagine Rodgers, Swanson, Devers would be gone… but that’s just my best guess
My SS for what it’s worth are Addison Russell, Tulowitzky and Corey Seager but I’m playing Russell at 2b, Tulo at SS, and C Seager at MI.
I’m relatively sure I’ll go Mazara and I think my plan will be trade Puig if he can re-establish his trade value, and slot Mazara in his spot… but I can’t help thinking of a SS/ CI as well… Would slightly fit better for my team
Of note, I have to pick 2 of these 7 guys for my final 2 keepers, and was just wondering your thoughts.
In addition to the typical 5×5 categories, our league also counts 2b, BB, K, OBP, and SLG; so walks/ obp is a big part of it… I don’t have any other closers so I think I may have to go with Britton; despite my distaste for keeping relievers… Then I’m down to 1.. I’ll probably go with Ortiz or Gordon (because I’m contending)… although very tempted to take Margo, especially with him projecting to have a good bb/k ratio, and HR being less of a factor.
Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated; but the commentary on the draft helps definitely.
For whatever reason it will not let me reply to your second post so I will be answering your questions here. Out of those players that you mentioned I would choose to keep David Ortiz and Alex Gordon. You mentioned you might need to keep Britton since he is your only closer but have you thought about just punting saves? Its a fairly easy thing to do away with.
Bregman or Reed would be fine picks with your second choice and I would certainly prefer Reed. You seem to be in fairly good shape with your middle infielders. Adding Mazara wil be huge for your outfield. I agree there is an immense amount of talent out there but also a lot of history of inconsistency. Gordon and Mazara should go a long way to solidifying that core and freeing up the ability to trade Puig. I think waiting till mid year for him to recover some value and then dumping him is a stellar idea. He would be my clear cut player to try and trade.
As far as Margot goes, I can see how he would be enticing but he is still a bit of a project and his bat lacks the huge impact potential. He can be a solid add but likely will never be a difference maker.
Jake, great article. I agree with you’re strategy 100% (actually do the same thing myself). But you’re getting your hopes up for nothing when it comes to Reed. I’m surprised you don’t realize he’s not going be in the back half of anybody’s lists come Feb. MLB.com doesn’t update their list consistently after the AS break – and they revamp it completely (like everyone else) in Feb.
Prospectors aren’t going to overlook his 78% contact rate combined with that kind of size/power. The first top 100 list I saw this Jan. has Reed #10 overall. If you have a need for Reed, you better get steppin’ to trade for a high rookie pick.
[…] Dynasty Guru’s love of A.J. Reed is very well documented, so I won’t rehash Jake’s excellent analysis. The only thing I’ll add is this: we all had the friend in high school that excelled at any […]