Reed drafted by Houston Astros

A.J. Reed is headed to the Houston Astros organization.

Kentucky's junior first baseman/pitcher was selected with the No. 42 pick Thursday night in the second round of Major League Baseball's June amateur draft.

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Reed was somewhat surprised that Houston selected him because there had been limited talks between the two parties, but he was pleased with how it unfolded.

"Getting drafted by the Astros is something I'm very happy about," Reed said. "Great organization, a team that I feel is a good fit for myself. I'll be able to add a little bit of power to the organization, and I feel it's a benefit for both of us.

"They're excited to have a power bat, and I'm excited to be that guy."

Reed batted .336 with an NCAA-leading 23 home runs and an SEC-high 73 RBI this season in helping the Wildcats reach the NCAA Tournament. He also posted the best slugging percentage (.735) and OPS (1.211) in the nation, prompting the MLB Network broadcast crew to introduce him as "the Babe Ruth of college baseball" as he was selected on Thursday night.

The Collegiate Baseball national player of the year and USA Baseball Golden Spikes finalist also posted a 12-2 record and a 2.09 ERA on the mound this season, but is reportedly being projected as a first baseman/designated hitter by Houston. Some scouts think the 6-foot-4, 240-pound lefty may still pitch in the future if he has any issues transitioning to the pro level.

According to Reed, the Astros have yet to discuss plans where where he'll begin his professional career. He said club executives wanted him to enjoy his draft night with family, and that they would discuss his first assignment in the days to come.

Asked if he patterns his career after anyone currently in MLB, Reed said he thinks he compares favorably to the style of Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, who has long hit for both average and power.

In his three-year career with the Wildcats, Reed posted a .306 average in 172 games, with 35 doubles, three triples, 40 homers and 168 RBI, with a .559 slugging and a .415 on-base percentage. On the mound, he had a 19-13 record with a 2.83 ERA in 248 innings, allowing just 53 walks and striking out 174.

A native of Terre Haute, Ind., Reed is the eighth player in Kentucky history to be selected in the first or second rounds of the MLB Draft. He is the 34th player under UK coach Gary Henderson to be selected in the MLB Draft or sign a free-agent contract.

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