E.P. Reese, a former star at North Davidson and Winston-Salem State, has signed a minor-league contract with the Houston Astros organization.
Reese, who was drafted in the 25th round after playing one year at WSSU, signed last week and is awaiting approval of the contract from Major League Baseball.
In the meantime, Reese has been traveling with Tri-City Valley Cats, the Class A short season affiliate of the Astros.
“He’s just waiting on approval from MLB and then he’ll get to play in games, but he’s been with them for the last few days,” said Reese’s father, Ed. “He can’t wait to start getting out there on the field and playing.”
The Tri-City ValleyCats play in Troy, N.Y., and are part of the New York-Penn League.
Because Reese, an outfielder, was selected so late in the Major League Draft in June, he signed a one-year contract, according to Ed Reese.
“He will be making around $1,200 a week or so but the bottom line is he’ll be getting an opportunity,” said Ed Reese, who played football at East Carolina and is a sergeant on the police force for the city of Winston-Salem.
Ed Reese said that Major League Baseball has to approve every contract that is signed, which is why it has taken so long for E.P. to get into games with the ValleyCats. Outfielder Matthew Barefoot, who was the Astros’ sixth-round pick, signed last week, and finally got into his first game on Wednesday night.
“There is a lot that has to be completed before the contract is approved so that’s why it takes a few days,” Ed said.
Reese, 21, was taken by the Astros with the 767th overall pick, and was the second straight WSSU player drafted.
Randy Norris was taken in the 19th round in last year’s draft by the San Francisco Giants.
Because WSSU eliminated its baseball program for financial reasons, Reese was set to transfer to Mount Olive. But after his name was called by the Astros, he elected to follow his dream of playing professional baseball.
After graduating from North Davidson in 2016 he signed with N.C. State but never played for the Wolfpack. He later transferred to Liberty and was there for a year before transferring to WSSU.
Last season he led the Rams with a .408 batting average and 26 stolen bases, and he finished the season on the team with 54 runs scored and 35 RBIs.
“It was in the back of mind that I was hoping to get drafted if I had a good season, but I really just wanted to help us win games,” Reese said soon after he was drafted. “We did win some games, and now I’ve been drafted, so it worked out for me.”
The ValleyCats play a shortened season which ends on Sept. 2.
“He’s been taking some batting practice and staying ready so once he gets the word he’ll be out there,” Ed Reese said.