On Monday, The Chicago White Sox claimed former Houston Astros first base prospect A.J. Reed off of waivers. The move became even more questionable as Reed himself confirmed on Tuesday that he would be joining the team and not Triple-A Charlotte. The move subtracts at-bats for a current White Sox player on the roster and comes at the wrong time for the team.
Reed was drafted by the Astros back in the second round of the 2014 MLB Draft. He was regarded as a power-hitting prospect as he has hit 34 home runs twice in his six-year minor league career. The left-handed slugger was one of the Astros most highly touted prospects ranking as high as 11th on Baseball America’s Top 100 Prospects list. Reed was projected as a 30+ home runs and 100 RBI type bat.
He has major league experience playing in 48 games over three seasons with the Astros. Reed’s numbers are not impressive as he has hit just three home runs, drove in eight RBIs, and walked 18 times. His career batting average is below .200 and his on-base percentage is below .300.
With the White Sox, he will split time at DH and at first base with Jose Abreu. More importantly, Reed will take much-needed at-bats from White Sox rookie Zack Collins.
Collins made his MLB debut back on June 19th and has struggled with just one hit in 27 plate appearances. Collins does have five walks which is his best offensive attribute but is still lacking playing time to help his development at the major league level.
The other concerning aspect to the White Sox bringing on Reed is the team that gave up on him. The Astros have been one of the best organizations in all of baseball over the past few seasons. They won the World Series in 2017 and did it through player development. Their farm system for the last five season has been one of the best in baseball producing All-Star caliber players such as Alex Bregman, George Springer, Carlos Correa, and Jose Altuve.
For the Astros to give up on him, it speaks to how large his struggles are.
This also isn’t the first time the White Sox have given a second chance to a prospect that a team had given up on. In 2014, the team signed third-baseman Mike Olt who was once one of the Cubs most-highly rated prospects during their rebuild. Olt was supposed to be a high batting average and high power slugger but never developed. In 24 games with the White Sox, he hit just three home runs while batting .208.
If the team gave Reed a chance the previous two season, the move would make more sense, but at this point doesn’t. The White Sox have several young players blossoming and they need as much playing time as possible, including Collins. The team is expected to compete next season and taking development time away from their own rookies to give to a player on his second chance is the wrong decision.