The first position player highlighted in our Rangers On The Rise series has made people around the baseball world take note in 2018. Tyreque Reed is a former eighth round pick of the Rangers out of Itawamba Community College in his home state of Mississippi. The powerful 6’2, 260 pound right handed hitter was set to continue his college career at Mississippi State until the Rangers gave him the opportunity of a lifetime to take his game to the pro level.
After a standout career at ICC, Reed didn’t miss a beat after he was sent to finish out 2017 with the organization’s Rookie affiliate in the Arizona League. Through 120 at bats, Reed slashed .350/.455/.617 with five homers and just 26 strikeouts to 22 walks. A small sample size, sure, but the Rangers liked what they saw from the first baseman and sent him straight to full season ball with Single-A Hickory to start 2018.
It was tough sledding for Reed during the first month or so of the season. While he was still knocking the cover off of the ball, he wasn’t making as much contact as you would like. Somewhere in the middle of June, Reed returned to form and has been on a tear ever since. The 21 year old now has a .272/.345/.508 slash line. That .853 OPS has him tied for fourth in the entire South Atlantic League. His 142 wRC+ also ranks in the top five of the league. What is more encouraging is that even with all of the power, he has posted a swinging strike rate of just 13% this season. Usually with guys putting up these kinds of power numbers at this level, we are talking about feast or famine, that is not the case with Reed. In other words, he is a really good hitter.
There isn’t a whole bunch of moving parts when Reed steps in the box. The hands are moving a little bit, but he doesn’t have a big load up. He does take a pretty good step forward during the pitcher’s release and gets his hands through the zone extremely quickly. The power comes from the exceptional bat speed and his sheer strength.
Defensively Reed has been impressive in the traditional stats as well. He did get a couple of starts in the outfield during his time in rookie ball, but has served exclusively as a first baseman when he has been in the field with Hickory.
While Reed wasn’t getting a ton of attention coming into 2018, he has proved that he is deserving of it. He is a natural power hitter that to me, seems to have the potential to hit well against some higher level pitchers. With the amount of power that first basemen posses in this day and age, it is clearly a bat first position. Reed has what it takes in the box to move up through the ranks and when you factor in he mans first base well too, he could rise quicker than most expected.
Featured Image Courtesy of: Lee Adams / Itawamba Community College