The Southeastern Conference Player of the Year, Kentucky junior lefty/first baseman A.J. Reed has been named the National Player of the Year by Collegiate Baseball, it was announced by the magazine on Thursday afternoon.
Reed becomes the first player in Kentucky history to earn national player of the year honors and the 13th player in the history of the SEC to earn NCAA Player of the Year accolades. Reed, a 6-foot-4, 240-pound two-way star, is seeking to become just the third SEC player to earn consensus national player of the year honors, joining David Price (2007) and Dave Magadan (1983).
There are five major national player of the year awards, including the Golden Spikes Award, presented by USA Baseball. The National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association presents the Dick Howser Trophy each season in Omaha, Neb., during the College World Series, with Baseball America and the American Baseball Coaches Association also crowning a national player of the year. Price won all five of the national honors, with Magadan winning the Baseball America and Golden Spikes Award in 1983.
A native of Terre Haute, Ind., Reed joins SEC legends Magadan, Price, Will Clark (1985), Derick Lilliquist (1987), Ben McDonald (1989), Lloyd Peever (1992), Todd Helton (1995), Tim Hudson (1997), Brad Wilkerson (1998), Eddy Furniss (1998), Kip Bouknight (2000) and Mike Zunino (2012) as national players of the year in the conference.
A consensus freshman All-American in 2012, Reed was also named a first-team All-American by Collegiate Baseball, marking the 17th player in Kentucky history to earn All-America honors, dating back to Dom Fucci in 1949. Reed is the first All-American for the Wildcats since Sawyer Carroll and Collin Cowgill were each honored in 2008.
The college baseball leader in homers (23), slugging (.768) and OPS (1.259), Reed also ranks as the SEC leader in RBI (70), on-base percentage (.491), wins (11), walks (47) and total bases (162). He also ranks third in the SEC in average (.351), second in runs (59), eighth in doubles (17), ninth in hits (74) sixth in ERA (2.10), third in innings pitched (103.0) and ninth in strikeouts (68). Reed is currently .002 points shy of the SEC lead in batting average and is vying for the second triple-crown in SEC history and the first since Rafael Palmeiro in 1984. There has never been an SEC player to led the conference in homers and pitching victories.
Reed has hit .310 in his 168-game UK career, with 34 doubles, three triples, 40 homers and 165 RBI. On the mound, Reed has an 18-13 record and the third-best ERA in UK career history (2.86), working 239 innings with 171 strikeouts.
No. 22 Kentucky (35-23) will open the NCAA Tournament on Friday vs. Kansas at 2 p.m. ET at Louisville’s Jim Patterson Stadium.