Wahoos Win in 9th

With space on minor league rosters teams can afford to go off the beaten path for talent and last year Cincinnati plucked Tim Adleman from the list of top independent league prospects. While bouncing around with his career in the ICU the right-hander added velocity to his fastball and now has started 2015 off with two impressive starts at AA Pensacola.

A sacrifice fly by Kyle Waldrop in the ninth inning plated Pensacola’s go-ahead run in their second win of the season by a score of 4-1 at Southern League leader Tennessee. The Blue Wahoos took an early lead in the second inning when Waldrop led off with his second homer of the season. That’s the way the score stood until the Smokies tied it in the seventh. Jesse Winker started off the game-winning rally with a double and advanced to set up the sac fly when Beau Amaral reached via an error. Zach Vincej then added an insurance run when he reached on Tennesee’s fourth error of the game and later scored on a double by Juan Perez. Sean Buckley led the Wahoos with two hits to improve his early-season batting average to .364.

On the mound Tim Adleman has his second strong outing in as many starts when he shut out the Smokies on two hits over five innings including five strikeouts without a walk. He handed a one-run lead to Carlos Gonzalez who threw a scoreless sixth before Bennett Klimesh was touched up for the tying run the next frame. Kyle McMyne closed the game with two scoreless innings for the win.

It’s early in the season, but Adleman is pitching like he’s ready to come from way off the radar to make a name for himself among pitching prospects in the Cincinnati system. He’s paid his dues including a couple of seasons in independent leagues. Originally he worked a couple of years in the Baltimore system after they selected him with a late round pick out of Georgetown. He resurfaced with Cincinnati last season and after a handful of games at Bakersfield he posted a sub-three ERA at Pensacola over seventy innings, mostly in relief. He did start six times and after two games this year he’s sitting on a sub-one ernie after tossing eleven innings.

Adleman won’t show up on any top prospect lists, probably because at his age (27) he’s now more of a suspect. However the right-hander has a nice build for a pitcher at 6’5”/200# and since turning professional he’s added more than a few ticks to his velocity which now reaches the mid-90’s. That helped him put up a 1.46 ERA in 40 appearances for New Jersey in the Canadian-American Association in 2013 which earned him a spot close to the top of independent league prospects before last season. He also offers a curve with a sharp drop for a second pitch which should be enough to gain him attention for bullpen duty at higher levels in the organization.

Adleman left Georgetown as their all-time leader in strikeouts before waiting until the 21st round to hear his name called in the 2010 draft. He had a decent debut in the New York-Penn League that year but poor mechanics and struggles in the South Atlantic League the next year led to a released that sent him bouncing around the indy leagues. He never gave up, but instead redefined himself on the mound which paid off with another chance in affiliated baseball.

Who knows, early season struggles in the Reds bullpen may open an unexpected door of opportunity and they could do worse than giving a shot to a journeyman with a major league heater with enough command to keep a K/BB ratio of almost 3.5 at the AA level. Last year Jumbo Diaz made a major league debut at the age of 30 and worked himself into some high leverage situations by the end of the season. There’s a lot of people ahead of Adleman right now and they’d have to really reach deep before he gets a call, but continued success could move him up that list later this season.

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