(Photo: Denny Medley, USA TODAY Sports)
2020 season age: 27 – Throws: Right – Bats: Switch – Contract: – $583,500 (Pre-Arb)
2019 in review: Allen once again split time between Triple-A and Cleveland filling in for injuries and below average performance. He hit .229/.290/.346 with four homers, nine doubles, three triples and 27 RBI and eight steals in 10 chances. In Triple-A he hit .268/.358/.419 with five homers, nine doubles, three triples and 10 steals in 15 tries.
Beyond the stats: In over 500 plate appearances Allen has now shown a strikeout rate around 20% and a 4% walk rate. Based on his minor league walk rates (consistently in the 8-10%+ range), there should be better numbers for him at the major league level, assuming more playing time, but not much. The strikeout rate probably looks about accurate. It’s not unplayable, but for a hitter without much power and who needs to make more contact and get on base more to use his best tool, his legs, it could be lower. But effectively the sample size of Allen’s rates look pretty consistent with what his skill set is going to look like the majors in that area.
Offensive impact: It’s well known by now that Allen is a plus runner who could be a leadoff hitter if he made better contact and more consistently. He’s more of a bottom of the order hitter who if he can get on base, makes his speed valuable hitting in front of the top of the Indians order and their best hitters. However, that would probably get in the way of how often he would use his speed to steal, which potentially takes the bat out of the likes of Fransico Lindor and Jose Ramirez’s hands. He has no real game power and so far his hit tool hasn’t really emerged consistently at the major league level, aside from a few hot streaks. Even then, his hit tool is average at best.
Defensive impact: StatCast’s Outs Above Average has Allen at +3, +2 in RF, +2 in LF and 0 in CF. Fangraphs’ DRS had him at +7 in left, +1 in RF and -2 in CF, so overall there’s not a ton of discrepancy. He also has a good arm and is capable of playing in the corners best defensively, but won’t hurt teams too much playing centerfield as we’ve seen. He’s a very capable fourth outfielder.
2020 role: Delino DeShields’ presence really puts a damper on Allen’s 2020 role. They essentially do the same thing (play good defense, don’t hit much and run well). Allen has an option left, although Allen has more time in the corner outfield spots than DeShields does, but that probably won’t matter much in the scheme of the Indians roster construction. It’s possible the 26 man roster helps Allen a little more, but the OF seems to be comprised of Oscar Mercado, Franmil Reyes, Jordan Luplow, Delino Deshields, and possibly Domingo Santana. Maybe they could carry a sixth OF, but that could come down to Jake Bauers or Allen. It does Bauers no good to sit on the bench at the MLB level, so that gives Allen some edge. But he and DeShields are kind of carbon copies other than Allen being a switch hitter, and this team is devoid of OF who hit from the left side. It’s probably more likely Allen ends up in Triple-A, though it wouldn’t be a complete surprise to see him DFA with the addition of Santana if the Indians are really set on keeping all the relievers they have on the 40 currently.
Fantasy impact: Allen is most likely either going to be in Triple-A, or in Triple-A off the 40 man roster or another organization all together. From fantasy perspectives, another organization might benefit Allen. If some team decided to just stick him in the OF and give him playing time, he could rack up 20-25 steals easily and maybe more consistent playing time helps his bat. Overall his bat is just average with no power, so you’re paying for a non-zero batting average and steals if he’s on your roster. But that’s only if he has regular playing time, which right now there seems to be no path to. Check spring training to see his role and possible organization. At best though, he fills out the end of your roster thanks to the steals upside if you see a path to regular playing time but you could also easily just check the waiver wire if you need someone in the OF to fill in and give you steals.