Switch hitting outfielder Greg Allen has worked himself into one of the Cleveland Indians top prospects. The former 6th round pick can now be considered the Indians top centerfield prospect after the 2016 season.
Allen, 23, started the 2016 season at High-A Lynchburg as the starting centerfielder for the Hillcats. In 92 games he hit .298 with 4 homers and 31 RBIs and showed off his speed on the bases swiping 38 bases in 45 attempts. He led the Carolina League in on-base percentage at .424 with his 58 walks and 19 hit by pitches contributing to that impressive number. When Allen got on base he made it count as he scored 93 runs in 92 games, and in addition to his 4 home runs he had 16 doubles and 4 triples racking up a total of 145 hits in 491 at bats with Lynchburg.
Allen was promoted to Double-A Akron in late July and continued his stellar play hitting .290 with 3 homers and 13 RBIs in 37 games with the RubberDucks. He totalled 42 hits in 145 at bats including 7 doubles and 3 triples, and stole another 7 bases in 13 attempts at Akron. His on-base percentage dropped a bit but was still an impressive .399 as he drew 19 walks and was hit by another 9 pitches.
Overall split between Lynchburg and Akron Allen hit .295 with 7 homers and 44 RBIs in 491 at bats. He also led the Indians minor league organization with 45 steals in 58 attempts and led all of minor league baseball with 119 runs scored in 129 games. To give you an example of how impressive those 119 runs scored were, Mike Trout led the majors in runs scored with 123 in 159 games. The bottom line is Allen gets on base often and is very productive on the base paths.
Defensively, Allen is well above average in centerfield. He committed only 2 errors in his 239 defensive chances with 9 outfield assists at Lynchburg, and his great defensive play continued at the Double-A level as he was errorless in 93 defensive chances with 6 outfield assists at Akron. His exceptional performance in the field and at the plate helped propel Akron to the Eastern League Championship, and he won the Rawlings MILB Gold Glove for centerfield which is handed out to the top centerfielder in all of minor league baseball.
After his championship season with Akron, Allen was invited to play in the Arizona Fall League, a league full of the brightest up and coming prospects from MLB. In 22 games with the Mesa Solar Sox he hit .269 with 3 homers and 8 RBI’s, and he led the AFL with 12 stolen bases. His on-base percentage was excellent again at he put up a .380 OBP after totaling 21 hits and 12 walks in 78 at bats. Defensively, he was flawless committing no errors in his 22 games in centerfield. He was named Player of the Week once and was named to the 2016 AFL Top Prospects team along with AFL teammate and fellow Tribe top prospect Bradley Zimmer.
Allen will most likely begin the 2017 in centerfield with Double-A Akron. If he picks up where he left off in 2016 he should get promoted to Triple-A Columbus at some point during the season, and if things work well and he coninues to perform, a quick rise to Cleveland as a September call up or even sooner should not be ruled out.
Allen has drawn some comparisons to former Tribe all star centerfielder Kenny Lofton and could be just what the Indians need in centerfield and setting the table at the top of the lineup. Being a solid switch hitter with speed, Allen has the makeup to be the perfect leadoff hitter. Tribe fans should start getting excited about Allen as he is fast and furiously closing in on an opportunity in Cleveland.