Reds.com has this piece on Brad Salmon, who is turning a few heads and is earning a look for one of the bullpen slots:
Reliever Brad Salmon has no problem being tagged as a late bloomer.
“It was a long learning process for me,” Salmon said. “Things are starting to fall into place now.”
The 27-year-old Salmon, a 21st round draft pick in 1999, has pitched himself into a good position for a bullpen role on the Reds staff. He has yet to allow an earned run through four innings over four games, although he has surrendered two unearned runs and three hits with two walks and two strikeouts.
On Friday, Salmon worked a perfect inning of relief. While setup man Gary Majewski has yet to throw in a game because of a problematic shoulder, a late-inning spot seems up for grabs.
Salmon is a hard-throwing right-hander with a fastball in the low-to-mid 90-mph range. Manager Jerry Narron has said previously that having Salmon could give Cincinnati a different look from the bullpen because the only other right-handed reliever on the staff that throws consistently hard is Todd Coffey.
Well, he’s 27 years old and has spent most of the last few years in Chattanooga, so color me skeptical. And I can’t get very excited over four spring innings.
However, he does throw hard and he does have the profile of the kind of player that could blossom at this age and earn himself three or four years in the majors before he flames out. I’m always willing to give someone a shot if there’s a chance they could help stabilize this rotten bullpen.
On Salmon, Baseball Prospectus says:
He’s big and he throws hard, but his command comes and goes. Without a working second pitch, he ends up walking lefties who won’t go fishing. That said, he doesn’t rattle, and there’s always the possibility that he could stick as a rare situational righty.
I’m not sure what to make of that, but Salmon has the best opportunity right now to make the majors that he is likely ever to have. If he doesn’t grab it now, his chances of a major league career are slim.