Kentucky Wildcats star A.J. Reed was named as the winner of the Howser Trophy, given to the top player in college baseball, on Saturday in a ceremony at the College World Series. A second-round pick by the Houston Astros in the MLB Draft earlier this month, Reed was dominant as a two-way player in the SEC this season.
A first baseman in addition to starting at pitcher, Reed batted .336 with a NCAA-leading 23 home runs while posted a 12-2 record on the mound. At the event celebrating Reed’s award, UK coach Gary Henderson gushed about his star player:
“I’ll give you a little bit of an idea of who AJ is. The numbers, everyone is aware of the numbers, they are spectacular. AJ is a guy that is at the center of your club. He has a good time every day he is at the field. He likes to laugh, he has a good sense of humor. He can poke fun at himself. He is fun to be around, consistently, even when it didn’t go well and he had a rough weekend, you knew that AJ was going to show up and bring energy and a smile. Those are all things that we look forward to on a daily basis with AJ.”
Reed also posted a .476 on-base percentage with 73 RBI while leading the Wildcats to a NCAA Tournament berth. His effort on the mound, with a 2.09 ERA, was similarly spectacular.
We don’t see too many brilliant two-way players anymore as prospects try to maximize their professional opportunities by focusing on specific skills, but Reed still went pretty high in the 2014 draft. The Astros announced Reed as a first baseman, so it’s likely he gets a shot at that position first before the team considers anything on the mound.
Past winners of the Howser Trophy, which is presented by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association and Easton Foundations, include Buster Posey, Mark Teixeira, Todd Helton, Stephen Strasburg and J.D. Drew.