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Photo: Regina Rickert

Photo: Regina Rickert

Herald-Leader Tabs AJ Reed Kentucky Sportsman of the Year

LEXINGTON, Ky. — After sweeping every national player of the year award, winning Southeastern Conference Male Athlete of the Year and starting his professional career with an all-star season, Kentucky two-way star AJ Reed has been named Kentucky Sportsman of the Year, it was announced by the Lexington Herald-Leader at the Bluegrass Sports Awards on Wednesday night at the Lexington Convention Center’s Bluegrass Ballroom.

The first college baseball player to win the award, Reed did so in historic fashion, with the largest margin of victory, 647 points, in the 34-year history of the award. Of the 150 ballots submitted by media members in the state, Reed was named on 130 and received 81 first-place votes, both marking new Kentucky Sportsman of the Year records.

Reed is the second Kentucky baseball star to earn Kentucky Sportsman of the Year, as Brandon Webb was honored in 2006 after winning the National League Cy Young Award. Reed joined UK athletics finalists for the award, including men’s basketball coach John Calipari, UK guard Aaron Harrison, former UK great Anthony Davis and softball coach Rachel Lawson.

A native of Terre Haute, Ind., Reed’s sweep all of the 2014 national player of the year awards includes the Dick Howser Trophy, presented by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, Baseball America College Player of the Year, Collegiate Baseball’s National Player of the Year and the American Baseball Coaches Association National Player of the Year awards. In addition, Reed was named the SEC Male Athlete of the Year, SEC Player of the Year, and the winner of the John Olerud Two-Way Player of the Year Award.

A 6-foot-4, 240-pound left-handed pitcher/first baseman, Reed charted one of the top seasons in the history of college baseball in 2014, finishing the year as the NCAA leader in homers (23), slugging (.735) and OPS (1.211). He became the first player in SEC history to lead the conference in homers and pitching wins, while going 12-2 with a 2.09 ERA on the mound and was the first player in league history to hit over 20 homers in the BBCOR era.

Reed finished the year with a .336 average – narrowly missing the second triple-crown in SEC history – with a conference best 23 homers and 73 RBI. He also led the league in on-base percentage (.476), total bases (164) and walks (49), while adding 60 runs, 18 doubles and one triple. On the mound, Reed was UK’s Friday-night ace for a second straight campaign, posting the second-most wins in Kentucky history, while starting 16 games. He hurled 112 innings, walking just 29 and striking out 71.

A consensus first-team All-America selection in 2014, Reed finished his record-setting UK career with a .306 average in 172 games, slugging 35 doubles, three triples, 40 homers and 168 RBI. On the mound, Reed finished with a 19-13 record and a 2.83 ERA in his 46-game UK career, tossing 248 innings.

Reed was the 42nd pick in the 2014 MLB Draft by the Houston Astros, beginning his professional career in the New York-Penn League, before earning a promotion to the low class A Midwest League.

Kentucky Sportsman of the Year Award Winners
2014 — AJ Reed
2013 — Rick Pitino
2012 — Anthony Davis
2011 — Kenneth Faried
2010 — John Wall
2009 — John Calipari
2008 — Kenny Perry
2007 — Tyson Gay
2006 — Brandon Webb
2005 — Shaun Alexander
2004 — Stefan LeFors
2003 — Kenny Perry
2002 — Valley Sports
2001 — Eddie Eviston
2000 — John L. Smith
1999 — James Whalen Jr.
1998 — Tubby Smith
1997 — Tim Couch
1996 — Rick Pitino
1995 — Tim Couch
1994 — Jenny Hansen
1993 — Jamal Mashburn
1992 — The Unforgettables
1991 — Cawood Ledford
1990 — Rick Pitino
1989 — David Roselle
1988 — Richie Farmer
1987 — Phil Simms
1986 — Denny Crumon
1985 — Kenny Walker
1984 — Mary T. Meagher
1983 — Jerry Claiborne
1982 — Roy Kidd
1981 — Roy Kidd



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