8. Greg Allen – Outfielder
Born: 03/15/1993 – Height: 6’0” – Weight: 175 – Bats: Switch – Throws: Right
Facts & Info: Allen was selected by the Indians in the 6th round of the 2014 Draft out of San Diego State University and signed for $200,000. At San Diego State University he led the Aztecs in steals in 2012 (12), 2013 (25), and 2014 (25) and led the Mountain West Conference in steals in 2013 and 2014. In 2015 he finished 2nd in the Midwest League in stolen bases (43) and was 1st in the organization as well. Even though he spent the last six weeks of the season with Double-A Akron last season, he still finished 4th in the Carolina League in batting average (.298), 1st in runs (93), 8th in walks (58), 1st in hit by pitches (19), 2nd in stolen bases (38), 1st in on-bases percentage (.424), 6th in OPS (.825) and 2nd in lowest total plate appearances per strikeout ratio (8.47). He also finished 8th in the organization in batting average (.295) and 1st in stolen bases (45).
Offense: Allen is a table-setting bat that is a prototypical leadoff hitter who possesses a wide range of offensive skills and is dynamic player who can impact a game in many different ways. One of the more interesting things about him is his exceptional eye at the plate and his ability to manage the strike zone which has allowed him to be an on-base machine his entire career racking up a .386 on-base percentage over three seasons. He is a very patient hitter who is very disciplined in his approach where he will work deep into counts and wait for a pitch he can put a good swing on. He shows some good strike zone awareness and some good pitch recognition skills which makes him a tough out and has allowed him to have an exceptional strikeout to walk ratio in his career where he walks just as much as he strikes out and does a good job of making consistent contact. He has a nice line drive swing from both sides of the plate where he shows some very good bat-to-ball ability and uses a whole field approach. As a switch-hitter he is amazingly consistent as his career numbers to date are rather similar from both sides, and is just a very smart hitter who knows his swing, analyzes opposing pitchers well and develops a mature plan of attack on a daily basis. While he is thin and has a wiry frame, he has some deceiving strength and some good fast twitch athleticism that allows him to surprise a little with his power. While his power only grades out as below average, he has the ability to rip balls into the gaps when he squares them up and can hit the occasional home run.
Defense: Defensively, Allen is becoming one of the better defensive center fielders in baseball and has a chance to be an elite Gold Glove caliber Major League center fielder. He played second base early in college before moving to center field, so is still learning to play the position and has really come on well as it is now considered his best tool. He shows exceptional range with clean, accurate route running, plus instincts, lots of athleticism and great first step quickness. He is a vacuum as he rarely lets a ball drop by showing unique range coming in on balls and making highlight reel diving plays and shows off his elite speed and range with the way he tracks balls down in the gaps and goes back on them toward the wall. He has a calmness to the way he plays defense as he glides to balls into the gaps with ease and keeps everything in control. The arm is solid average and he has the versatility to play all three outfield spots. For his outstanding defensive efforts last season, he was the recipient of the 2016 Rawlings Gold Glove Award, an award handed out to just nine players in all the minors (one for each position) to recognize them for defensive excellence.
Speed & Intangibles: Allen has plus speed which allows him to impact a game both defensively and offensively. He makes pitchers uneasy with the amount of pressure he puts on them when he gets on base because he is such a big threat to steal, and he also puts pressure on the defense to get rid of the ball quickly with how well he gets down the line and is always looking for the extra base. One of the big things going for him outside of the plus eye, speed and defense is his exceptional makeup and advanced maturity as he is as professional as they come, truly cares about his teammates and has a very good presence in the clubhouse. The Indians love the way he prepares for games, approaches each at bat, his commitment to the finer points of the game and how coachable he is as a player. He listens well, takes instruction, is open-minded and is honest with his coaches which creates a very good environment for him to develop and improve. The strides he has made to date over his pro career are a testament to his outstanding work ethic, desire and trust in his coaches. He is a great teammate, shows good leadership skills and is someone other players gravitate to and like to be around.
Focus: Allen is very advanced in nearly all phases of the game as his defense, approach and bat are all very good. At this point, it is about developing the finer points of the game with him and just working to make him a little better in each of those areas. While he already shows such great ability in the outfield, there is still some upside to be even better considering he is still picking up some of the nuances for the position with positioning, reading swings and learning opposing hitter’s tendencies. The Indians have really challenged him to be more aggressive on the basepaths because they believe he can be an elite base-stealer at the Major League level and really impact the game even more in that area. He is still learning when to run and get better jumps, and is also working to use that speed in the short game by being a better bunter and learning how to bunt for more hits to add another dimension to his game and add even more pressure to the defense. The Indians have worked to open up his approach to use the whole field which has made him a more complete hitter and give him a chance to impact with the bat a little more by pulling some balls for power. The Indians believe there is some untapped power in his swing and with a little more intent, looking to drive balls more often and being a little more on time that he could really spray a lot more line drives down the lines and into the gaps.
Future: When the Indians dealt highly touted outfield prospect Clint Frazier to the Yankees in the Andrew Miller deal last July, all eyes immediately turned to Bradley Zimmer as the next big outfield prospect on the horizon in the minors. While that may be the case, Allen jumped onto the scene as someone who the organization is very excited about and has just as much of a chance to get to Cleveland at some point this season and be an impact player for them right out of the gates with his ability to get on base, his great speed and his outstanding defense. He put up his best minor league season to date last season with an outstanding 78-77 strikeout to walk ratio which helped him post an exceptional .416 on-base percentage for the season, was a fire starter on the basepaths swiping 45 bases and scoring 119 runs, and he even chipped in with some power ripping 37 extra base hits for a career best .118 isolated power percentage. With his offensive game taking a big step forward he has massive potential as an everyday Major League center fielder because of his ability to steal a lot of bases, play excellent defense, and hit from both sides of the plate - and looks like a prototypical leadoff hitter in the making who has the potential to be a future fan favorite and core player who can man center field for a long time in Cleveland. He will open the season with a return to Double-A Akron, but is on the fast track and should move up to Triple-A Columbus rather quickly and get a meaningful amount of games there and could be a late season roster addition in Cleveland if the right opportunity presents itself.
Ranking History: #24 (2016), #40 (2015)