Oct. 20, 2014
WASHINGTON - Back in March, Georgetown baseball alum Tim Adleman ('10) was working hard at spring training, trying to earn a job in the Cincinnati Reds organization as a relief pitcher. A roster spot was not guaranteed, but Adleman not only won himself a uniform, he excelled in the second chance that he was given.
Adleman had been out of affiliated baseball for two years after being released by the Baltimore Orioles before the 2012 season. However, after two years of reinventing himself in independent leagues, Adleman found himself on the roster of the Bakersfield Blaze, the Reds' High-A affiliate, to begin the regular season.
Adleman spent the 2014 season pitching for Bakersfield and Double-A Pensacola. In 38 overall appearances, 32 of which came out of the bullpen, Adleman went 3-9 with a 3.72 ERA over 87 innings, striking out 77 while only walking 27.
"I was fortunate to get this opportunity with the Reds and, for the most part, was able to take advantage of it. Overall, it felt like I progressed as the season went along and I think that is about as much as I can ask for.
"I got some opportunities to start which I enjoyed and thought I performed well in. I was just glad to get the opportunity and felt pretty good that I kept my team in the games and came out with some pretty solid numbers."
Things did not start well, however, as, after his first three relief appearances to start the season, Adleman had a 13.48 ERA in 2.2 innings. However, despite the numbers, Adleman was promoted to Double-A Pensacola on April 12.
"I started off a bit slow in High-A. It's a tough league to pitch in. I got out of there after about 10 games, having not thrown the ball up to my capabilities. Fortunately for me, the Reds saw enough to move me to Double-A the first time, then keep me there the second time for the remainder of the season. I made some adjustments with Jeff Fassero, the pitching coach at Pensacola, and I thought I got on a pretty good role there."
He put up good numbers in the bullpen for the Blue Wahoos, not allowing a run in five of his first seven outings and only allowing two runs in his first 10 innings. He had a 3.37 ERA through 14 relief appearances, covering 26.2 innings. However, due to roster numbers, Adleman was sent back to Bakersfield.
"It was simply a roster thing. They had some guys who needed to get innings at Double-A that were higher up on the totem pole than me and had more experience in the organization. It was just a situation where I needed to get the innings wherever they gave them to me. Unfortunately for me, for a two-week stretch, those innings were in High-A. I just tried to do my best, just like I did the whole year and not worry about where I was or who I was throwing against."
The demotion did not last long however, as Adleman found himself back in Pensacola in less than three weeks. This time, he was there to say as he finished out the season with the Blue Wahoos, throwing 52.1 innings with a 2.41 ERA
Adleman got the opportunity to join the starting rotation in July, making three-consecutive starts. He performed well, going 0-1 with a 2.81 ERA in 16 innings, but was sent back to the bullpen.
"[Starting] was just what the team needed at the time. There were some starters that were hurt and some guys that got bumped to Triple-A. It was just a situation where I happened to pick up three starts on two different occasions due to injuries and call-ups. I just tried to pitch as long as I could in those opportunities and keep the team in the game."
Adleman returned to the bullpen for six appearances, allowing just three earned runs in 11.1 innings of work. He was put back into the starting rotation, ending the season with three-consecutive starts. While he did not pick up a win as a starter, taking a couple of hard luck losses, Adleman put up good numbers. He pitched 18 innings over those final three starts, registering a 2.00 ERA. His best outing of the season came in his final start as he went seven innings while giving up just four hits and one run with five strikeouts.
Ending the year on such a strong note not only gave Adleman added confidence going into the offseason, it gave the Reds something to think about.
"From what I have gathered, I have a fair shot at making the Triple-A roster next season. The Reds haven't said too much to me in regards to whether I will be starting or in the bullpen next year. I'm just hoping to contribute at a high level, whether it's one or two innings in the seventh or eighth or it's a start where they want me to give five. I feel like I am capable of doing that and hopefully I showed the Reds that it doesn't matter where I get the innings, just that I get them and try to develop and get to the big leagues.
"I just want to work hard this offseason and prepare myself to just get innings wherever they are available. You never know what will happen with injuries or free agency or trades. I just have to work hard and hope that there is an opportunity in spring training. That is really all I can do at this point."
* * *
Adleman graduated from Georgetown as the all-time leader in career strikeouts with 224. His strikeout totals, plus his low walk numbers (83 in 293.2 career innings) led to Adleman becoming the Baltimore Orioles' 24th round draft pick in 2010.
He enjoyed success to start his professional career earning a selection to the New York-Penn League All-Star Game in 2010. However, s truggles came in 2011 for Adleman at Class-A Delmarva. The Orioles moved him to the bullpen to work on his mechanics. Unfortunately, the Orioles were not impressed with his progress and he was released before the end of spring training in 2012.
After being released by the Orioles, Adleman played for a couple of independent league teams in 2012, posting an impressive 38-12 strikeout-to-walk ratio. He took part in an off-season throwing program that saw his velocity jump from 88-92 to sitting consistently 93-95 and touching 96 MPH. With the new velocity, Adleman pitched for the New Jersey Jackals of the Canadian- American Association in 2013, recording a stingy 1.46 ERA with 10 saves and 62 strikeouts in 49.1 innings, causing the Reds to take notice and give him a second chance.