The Cincinnati Reds promoted right-handed pitcher Tim Adleman to the big league roster over the weekend and he pitched great in his first major league start on Sunday, allowing two runs on three hits and two walks and fanning six against the Pittsburgh Pirates. It is fair to say that Adelman received virtually no notice outside of deep Reds circles until his debut, so let's correct that.
Adleman was originally drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the 24th round in 2010 from Georgetown University. He had a decent debut in the New York-Penn League (3.44 ERA, 62/25 K/BB in 68 innings) but was hit hard after moving up to Delmarva in the Low-A South Atlantic League in 2011, giving up a 6.01 ERA with 123 hits in 88 innings. Not surprisingly, he was released.
Not willing to give up, he pitched in the independent American Association in 2012, then in the independent Can Am League in 2013. He pitched very well at the later stop, posting a 1.40 ERA in 49 innings for New Jersey with a 62/13 K/BB. This drew the notice of pro scouts and the Reds picked him up as a minor league free agent.
Adleman has been effective since joining the Cincinnati organization, posting a 2.64 ERA with a 113/49 K/BB in 150 innings in Double-A last year, then a 4.24 ERA with a 13/4 ERA in 17 innings for Triple-A Louisville this year. Sunday was his day to pitch, the Reds needed a starter, Adleman got the call, and he certainly performed well enough against the Pirates to merit more opportunities.
Age 28, Adleman is listed at 6-5, 225, a right-handed hitter and thrower. His age and background make him a non-traditional prospect but results are what matters and he's gotten those. His fastball is in the 90-94 range, basically average, but he uses both two-seam and four-seam options to give hitters different looks. He also has a curveball in the 74-78 range and a change-up in the mid-80s. Most reports rate the curve as his best pitch.
Adleman doesn't have blistering stuff but when his command is working, he's effective. At this point he profiles as a long reliever or fifth starter, but that's a great thing to find in the independent leagues and he represents a nice bit of scouting by the Reds.