He struggled in his first month for the short-season Tri-City Dust Devils hitting .167 in his first ten games before rebounding to hit .261/.307/.362 in August.
As with Nick Torres last year, it’s difficult to get an accurate gauge on a player’s ability at this level with the college and short-seasons combined which feature a long layoff then a highly compressed schedule of games.
This off-season Allen’s goals were to not only put up better numbers but convince the organization that his future lay behind the plate.
In the past few games that I’ve been able to watch you it’s apparent that you really enjoy catching.
Austin Allen: It’s a blast being back there because you get to control so much. I always think its a chess game because when you are calling pitches you have to combine the game situations, with what the pitcher wants to throw and what the hitter is expecting.
It’s a lot of fun and responsibility and being surrounded by a good group of guys makes it even more enjoyable.
You have a very positive vocal leadership style. You can see throughout the game you are out there encouraging everyone.
Austin Allen: I want to give off a positive vibe to everyone. I like people being positive around me. I just try to help the pitchers out as much as possible.
We spoke with Sam Geaney, the Padres’ Director of Player Development, and he was impressed how much you improved defensively during the off-season. What were some of the things you did to improve?
Austin Allen: I really tried to just work hard. I got an opportunity to work with Francisco Lindor, Derek Dietrich and Mikey White from the Oakland Athletics. It was just a great opportunity to see how they work and make me want to work even harder.
I thought why can’t I go about my business that way too?
Off of the field for your weight training, what were your goals?
Austin Allen: The weight training program that I was on in the off-season with Justin Smith in Orlando Florida we got after it right away with the conditioning. The goal was to get leaner, faster and stronger - especially with core strength.
How big are you?
Austin Allen: I am 6’3” and 235 pounds.
You came from a smaller schools and got thrown into the mix of the short-season. What adjustments do you want to make at the plate as compared to last year?
Austin Allen: Just to take quality at-bats and taking my best swing every time. That was one of the things that i noticed in working with the guys in Orlando is that they do not get cheated. They don’t slow their bat down to just make contact. They are going to take their best swing every single time.
That has been one of my goals coming into this year, if I swing, make it my best swing.
How about the adjustment to hitting with wood?
Austin Allen: I have always liked hitting with wood. Ever since I was in seventh grade and I was playing with the St. Louis Pirates, we just started to swing with wood and we used them for everything.
How did you get to be a left-handed hitter?
Austin Allen: [laughs] I don’t know. My dad gave me a bat and I started swinging it and it worked.
It would be nice to switch-hit, but I’m pretty happy it worked out.