SleepersJanuary 24, 2004

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Sleeper Watch

By Arlo Vander

Jeremy Reed can flat-out hit.

What else is there to say about a player who has frustrated pitchers at every level? .366 for Team USA in 2001, .339 at Long Beach State and .319 at A-level Kannapolis in 2002, .333 at Carolina League Winston-Salem and a stellar .409 in 66 games at AA Birmingham last year … Jeremy Reed can certainly hit the ball, and he’s still improving.

Reed may not have the natural tools of many other top prospects. He isn’t a huge power threat yet, with only 15 round-trippers in his minor league career, but his 17 doubles and career-best .591 slugging at Winston-Salem are encouraging. He also isn’t a speed demon, but his baserunning smarts allowed him to swipe 45 bags last year. Above all, however, the twenty-two-year-old outfielder might just be the best pure hitter in the minors today.

As with most prospects, especially those of his age, don’t expect Reed to make a substantial fantasy contribution this season, although a call-up to the White Sox doesn’t seem unlikely. But if you’re looking for a solid addition to your minor league roster, Jeremy Reed might be just what the doctor ordered.

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