Reds take right-hander Harmon in 13th round

Johnathan Harmon grew up hearing about the Cincinnati Reds’ Nasty Boys bullpen from his father.

Now Northwestern State’s first-team All-Southland Conference pitcher will have a chance to be a part of that same franchise after the Reds selected Harmon with their 13th-round selection of the 2022 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft on Wednesday.

“Growing up in the 90s, my dad was a big fan of the Nasty Boys,” Harmon said. “I think I’m going to fit in with them. They have that gritty mentality, and I’ve been like that my whole life. I’ve been the underdog. I’m ready for the next step.”

A third-year sophomore right-hander from Hornbeck, Harmon earned first-team All-Southland honors this spring after leading the Demons in ERA (3.52) and complete games (two) and sharing the team lead with five wins while ranking second on the team in innings pitched (79.1).

Harmon becomes the sixth Demon drafted by the Reds, and the first chosen by Cincinnati since OJ King in 2002.

“I want to thank my parents for the sacrifices they made,” said Harmon, who watched the draft with 25 to 30 people in Hornbeck. “They took me to all the tournaments, supported me through the ups and downs. To have them with me was special. Those were the first people I wanted to thank.”

Harmon’s selection extended Northwestern State’s streak of years with a player drafted to five, the longest in school history. It also marked the third time in the past four drafts that the Demons had the Southland Conference’s first player selected.

A Freshman All-American in the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season, Harmon has won 12 games through three seasons while pitching 169 2-3 innings in his three seasons as a Demon. He is the seventh NSU draftee since 2018.

“(The NSU coaches) gave me every tool I needed – development, confidence,” said Harmon, who was the No. 393 pick overall. “They made it easy on me. I could make a couple of mistakes – I made plenty in my career – and they supported me and told me it was OK. They gave me the confidence and support I needed it, which allowed me to do the best job I can do.”

Photo: Chris Reich/NSU Photographic Services