The JetHawks are no strangers to big performances, and neither is A.J. Reed.
The reigning California League champions lead the Minor Leagues in hits, homers, runs scored and RBIs, and they rank first in the circuit in walks and batting average. You can make the case that Reed is part of the Minors' most exciting offensive-minded team.
On Tuesday night, the Astros' No. 12 prospect became the second JetHawk to hit for the cycle this season, going 4-for-4 in an 11-3 romp over playoff-bound Visalia.
"It was pretty cool, I've never done that before," Reed said. "It's something we get to joke about with the team because I'm not the fastest guy on the team, so I don't get many triples. Never, ever in my life. I'm sure I've had the homer, double and single before, but I don't think about hitting the triple. Normally, when I hit the ball in the gap, I'm stopping at second."
The 2014 second-round pick clubbed his league-leading 16th homer on a 2-1 changeup with two outs in the first inning and walked in the second. He doubled in another run in the fifth and legged out an RBI triple in the seventh when the ball took an odd bounce off an angled section of the center field wall. He needed at least three batters to reach to get a shot at the cycle and Brett Phillips obliged by smacking his third homer in three days, a three-run blast in the eighth.
Reed came up with two outs and the bases empty in the eighth and singled to center to complete the third cycle in the California League this year and the eighth in the Minors.
"I knew I needed the single, but I wasn't sure I was going to get another at-bat," said Reed, a University of Kentucky product who's recorded 22 multi-hit games this year and tied a season high with four hits. "Just one of those things where everybody is saying, 'You only need the single.' Give credit to my teammates for getting me the chance to get up and hit the single. I hit it and the whole dugout was going crazy. Everybody was cheering and was happy for me.
"In my pro career, I would put this one at the top because it's not often you get to hit for the cycle. It's something that's going to be special for me and my teammates and everybody that was here tonight. The way I play, I'm supposed to hit a lot of home runs. Three home runs doesn't happen too often, either, but to hit for the cycle is less of a chance for me than hitting three home runs."
Reed's was the latest in a string of standout performances for Lancaster, which has benefited from his three-homer, nine-RBI game on May 6 in Stockton, Derek Fisher's 12-RBI Cal League debut on May 30 in High Desert and Marc Wik's cycle on June 2 against the Mavericks.
The JetHawks also had teammates hit for the cycle one day apart 2010 when Freddy Parejo (June 8) and Brandon Barnes (June 9) performed the feat in consecutive games against Visalia.
"It just goes to the talent on this team, a lot of guys who can hit," said Reed, who's fifth in the league with a .323 batting average. "The league is very hitter-friendly, but at the same time, you still have to hit the ball and drive the ball. And it shows the talent in this system and on this team."
Lancaster starter Adrian Houser (2-2) picked up the win, allowing two runs -- one earned -- on five hits with five strikeouts in five innings. Troy Scribner gave up one run over the final four frames to earn his first Cal League save.
Phillips -- the Astros' sixth-ranked prospect -- finished 3-for-5 with a homer, two doubles and three runs scored out of the leadoff spot, while Jack Mayfield and James Ramsey also contributed three hits apiece. Tuesday marked the 17th time this season the JetHawks have scored in double figures.
"Brett is a great player and the top of the list for our system and he will be a really good player for a really long time. Not just what he does on the field, but off the field he's a really good guy and I enjoy being around him and sharing this year with him," Reed said. "He's a really good kid to play with and he has all the talent in the world. It's incredible to play with him."
Visalia's John Omahen (6-2) surrendered six runs on eight hits over six innings, walking two and fanning two.
Ashley Marshall is a contributor to MiLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AshMarshallMLB.