It's never easy to sweep all the College Baseball National Player of the Year awards, but Kentucky two-way star AJ Reed was the exception to that common rule this year.
Reed had a magical junior campaign that included a good season on the mound as Kentucky's Friday night pitcher, but more notable were his incredible offensive performances throughout the season, slugging an NCAA-best 23 homers on the way to Midseason Player of the Year and overall National Player of the Year honors by Perfect Game, as well as a host of others, including most recently, the Golden Spikes Award, annually handed out by the USA Baseball organization to the nation's most dynamic player.
Reed, a second-round pick to the Houston Astros, who has already signed for $1.35 million with the Major League Baseball draft signing deadline today, had it all in his junior season for the Wildcats. In the most rigorous conference in America, the Southeastern Conference, he smashed 15 of his 23 homers. Meanwhile, though some critical observers commonly attributed Reed's powerful numbers to his playing at offensive-friendly Cliff Hagan Stadium in Lexington, Ky., the facts don't exactly backup that notion as Reed hit over half of his homers away from home.
Kentucky's AJ Reed was one of the great success stories in college baseball during his career. (UK Athletics)
"I think the big thing for AJ this season was he just had a much more mature approach. He's always been really bright and a hard worker," Kentucky head coach Gary Henderson said. "He has very good player instincts, and I think more often than not, that was established by the fact he was a two-way player for us.
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