Jeffrey Dewan Salazar
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6' 0", Weight 190 lb.
- School Oklahoma State University, Connors State Junior College
- High School Putnam City West High School
- Debut September 7, 2006
- Final Game August 14, 2009
- Born November 24, 1980 in Oklahoma City, OK USA
Jeff Salazar is a defensively-gifted outfielder. He twice has been an All-Star in the minors.
He won the Jim Thorpe/McDonald's All-State Outstanding Player Award as a high school senior in 1999. Undrafted, he went on to junior college, then was taken by the Baltimore Orioles in the 35th round of the 2000 amateur draft. Jeff did not sign. Jeff transferred to Oklahoma State and batted .329/.435/.537 for them in 2002. His 7 triples were one behind the Big 12 Conference lead and he stole 23 bases. The Colorado Rockies selected him in the 8th round of the 2002 amateur draft. He was signed by scout Dar Cox and made his pro debut that summer.
Minor league career
Salazar began his professional career with the 2002 Tri-City Dust Devils, producing at a .235/.351/.328 clip. He was the only error-free outfielder in the Northwest League and tied for the NWL lead with three double plays.
Jeff had a huge improvement in 2003, smacking the ball to produce a .284/.387/.527 line for the Asheville Tourists. The defensive star had 21 outfield assists, stole 28 bases in 42 tries, cranked out 29 homers (thanks to a 300' distance to right field in McCormick Field), scored 109 and drove in 98. He was named Colorado's Minor League Player of the Year by Baseball America and led the club's minor leaguers in homers, RBI, walks (77) and runs. Baseball America also named him the best defensive outfielder in the South Atlantic League. He tied Frank Diaz for the SAL lead in outfield assists and also tied for the lead in double plays (4). He also paced the league in home runs, RBI, runs, total bases (256) and intentional walks (8); he was an easy choice for the league All-Star team, joining Jorge Cortes, Jeff Francoeur and Rajai Davis as the outfielders picked. He also went 0 for 5 for the Visalia Oaks that year.
The center fielder started 2004 on a promising note with Visalia, as he hit .347/.419/.586 in the first 75 games with 79 runs, 13 home runs, 18 doubles, 9 triples and 17 stolen bases in 19 tries while making just one error and throwing out nine baserunners. Promoted to the Tulsa Drillers, the 23-year-old struggled, hitting only .223/.331/.313. He added two more triples to lead the Rockies chain that year and his 118 runs were second in the minor leagues behind only Joe Dillon. Baseball America rated him as being the best defensive outfielder, best baserunner, having the best strike-zone discipline and being the #10 prospet in the California League. He made the Cal League All-Star team along with Brian Stavisky and Paul McAnulty.
In 2005, Jeff hit .278/.381/.410 with Tulsa and .263/.349/.436 for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox. Salazar batted .265/.357/.433 for Colorado Springs in 2006 and then was called up to the Rockies in September.
In the majors
Playing regularly, Salazar batted .283/.409/.415 for the Rockies in his September 2006 trial. He was with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2007 and 2008 after having been claimed off [[waivers from Colorado at the end of spring training in 2007. He saw his only postseason action that year, going 0 for 3 in the NLDS and 1 for 7 in the NLCS against his former team, the Rockies. He played in a career-high 90 games in 2008, but only had 128 at-bats and hit .211. He completed his major league career with 21 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2009, during which he went just 1 for 23.
On December 16, 2010, Salazar was involved in an on-field fight with veteran Mexican infielder Oswaldo Morejon during a Mexican Pacific League game. The two began exchanging words after Salazar was hit in the leg on a pick-off attempt, and Morejon knocked out Salazar with one punch in the ensuing brawl, which then degenerated into a bench-clearing brouhaha that led to a number of ejections and suspensions.