Image: TCP Photography/Courtesy Lake County Captains Everyone this year is looking at Shohei Ohtani doing things that haven’t been done in centuries by putting out brilliant performances on both sides […]
Image: TCP Photography/Courtesy Lake County Captains
Everyone this year is looking at Shohei Ohtani doing things that haven’t been done in centuries by putting out brilliant performances on both sides of the ball. That includes 2020 Cleveland Indians 2nd round pick Logan T. Allen, who was a standout pitcher at Florida International University, but also a pretty good hitter for the Panthers himself.
“He’s something different,” Allen said about Ohtani. “I’m more worried about getting to the big leagues as a pitcher. It was time to put the bat away. He’s just something incredible.”
For the record, Allen had a .786 OPS in 14 at bats in 2020 before the COVID-19 shutdown and a .772 OPS in 229 at bats in his three year career at FIU, but his time at the dish as a first basemen and a DH was only overshadowed by his numbers on the mound and his fast rise becoming more than just a strike throwing lefty.
In three seasons at FIU, Allen struck out 246 hitters with just 47 walks in 183.2 innings pitched.
So far, that success has carried over right into his pro debut with an assignment he was more than ready for at High-A Lake County. In 21.2 innings in 2021, Allen has allowed just two runs in four starts, with 27 strikeouts and four walks.
But, all that success on the mound so far doesn’t mean Allen watches players like Ohtani and his teammates and not get the urge to grab a bat occasionally.
“Being in the dugout (last road trip) makes me kind of want to hit,” Allen said.”It’s tough sitting during games. There’s something about hitting that will always have a piece of my heart.”
The decision for Allen to become just a pitcher in the pro’s instead of playing two ways might have been made based on his success as a starter in college and might have been made by the club that drafted him, but that doesn’t mean Allen doesn’t know what is and isn’t a good decision baseball wise and for himself. He’s been effective on the mound so far because of his plus changeup, command, pitchability and ability to stay a step ahead of hitters.
His first baseball decision also turned out to be a good one as well.
The Orioles called Allen’s number in the 16th round of the 2017 draft out of high school after he won Gatorade Florida Player of the Year, but he turned it down and ended up in college at FIU.
“At that point, I had a dollar amount in mind,” Allen said of the decision making process. “I made a decision how much my college education was worth and stuck to my guns. I was the toughest decision I’ve ever made. But I look back on it and it was the best decision I ever made.”
The decision paid off for Allen, who went in the second round to Cleveland despite his pandemic shortened junior season and the shortened 2020 draft.
“I’m very fortunate I made it,” he added. “I’m very fortunate to make the decision I did. It was tough.”
Cleveland’s decision to not only draft him, but drop him right into High-A is paying off already as well. He has the fifth best K%-BB% rate in the High-A Central at 28%. He started his career out with five scoreless innings and now has had back to back scoreless starts (10 innings). Cleveland saw his ability to throw strikes and his plus changeup, and despite his shorter frame, thought he would improve once they got him into their season.
Allen wasn’t a hard thrower up until late in his high school career and mostly threw 89-92 in college and is now throwing his fastball in a 90-94 velocity band. It’s not an extreme step up, but given his command and ability to use his other two pitches, it’s a significant enough development and it’s not a shock given Cleveland’s reputation for developing pitches like Allen and with his ability to focus on just pitching.
“I think it’s a step in the right direction,” Allen said about helping his development by just focusing on pitching. “It will help me get better and grow and get better as the levels do. I think it’s helping me to focus on pitching solely.”
When Cleveland called Allen’s number in 2020, he didn’t know the franchise had interest or it’s recent success developing college pitchers and getting them up the ladder, but he learned quickly.
“What I heard from every coach who knew a little told me I was in a great spot and that they’d ‘develop the crap out of me,’” Allen said. “I’m excited to get to work. I’ve already seen my game grow and I know I’m in good hands and a good spot.”
When it comes to pitching and development, Allen is in the middle of old school and embracing the new school.
“It’s definitely useful,” Allen said about the data and tools used to help with his development. “I’m still a believer in baseball is what it is – 60 feet away and getting outs. Utilizing technology allows you to fine tune your craft, know your strengths and utilize them.”
Ability to learn
Embracing technology and data to improve isn’t the first instance of Allen being a quick study and adaptable to learning lessons.
That decision to go to college might have paid off in a bigger way than whatever bonus he might have signed for from Baltimore in 2017.
Though he wasn’t a particularly hard thrower in high school, mostly throwing strikes with a fastball and changeup, Allen’s first college start wasn’t the rousing success that the start to his pro career has been.
His first college start didn’t go well but it was a lesson that paid off for him immediately. After that start he was quoted saying that it was one of the best things to happen to him.
“Hitting that roadblock right away, it made me understand what the worst is going to look like, I was fortunate to not face a lot of adversity in games (in high school). I was thrown right into the fire (in college) and I had to re-evaluate and work harder. It pushed me to take it up a notch.”Logan T. Allen
Playing with family and friends, and making new ones
As an amateur, Allen played on teams with a lot of good baseball players and friends that turned into family.
He played for Mervyl Melendez at FIU, having known the Melendez family a long time, including playing with his son MJ, who is a prospect in the Royals system.
“I’ve known them a long time,” Allen said. “They’re pretty much family in my eyes. We’re very close. (Mervyl) is a high level mind and helped me grow and learn fundamentals the right way.”
In addition to getting to know his future college coach early on, Allen also played with current organizational mate Juan Hillman among many good players.
“It was kind of nice to have a familiar face in the system,” Allen said about getting to see Hillman become a teammate once again. “It’s funny, we still talk about playing together to this day. He’s such a great player and with the bat. He’s an elite athlete. To still see him have success is awesome. He’s a great player and dude. We love reminiscing about those times.”
Allen was also able to make a new friend fast after Cleveland drafted him, because he quickly found out about the other left handed arm named Logan Allen the team had just traded for the year prior. It was an easy ice breaker for him into the organization.
“I found out right away, “ he said. “Twitter went crazy when it happened. He reached out to me and we were able to connect through that. It was a funny coincidence. He’s a great player and I hope to get the chance to play with him.”
What might allow the two Logan Allen’s the ability to pitch together in Cleveland is the younger one’s command and ability to sequence and know his game.
Allen knew he was never a hard thrower back as an amatuer, which is what allowed him to focus on developing his good command and his chageup.
“Honestly, I credit to never being a hard thrower,” he said. “From a young age, I learned if you throw (slower) you have to throw strikes. Being able to couple that with a velo increase, with better stuff, I’ve been able to throw strikes. I’ve been fortunate.”
As for his changeup, that is also a part of Allen’s roots as a pitcher and not a thrower.
“It’s been the same since I was a kid,” he said. “I’ve always had a traditional circle changeup and I split it a like out of my hand. That’s always been my standard grip. I wasn’t big into throwing breaking balls. I’ve been fastball-changeup a long time. It’s part of my roots.”
Logan T. Allen Scouting report
Fastball: 90-94 with some late cutting action. Knows he has to work it under hitters hands and spot it on the back door to both right handers and left handers. Commands it well in all quadrants of the strike zone.
Slider: 80-83 with good late sweep. Not a big, impressive pitch movement wise but tunnels well with fastball and also has good command of the pitch.
Changeup: 82-84 circle change that splits out of his hand as he noted. Runs to arm side and gets good vertical break. A legitimate plus-pitch that can dive under bats and miss them with both left and right handers.
The Logan T. Allen File
Drafted: 2nd round, 2020 Draft
College: Florida International University
Hometown: Deltona, Fla
Player growing up: Clayton Kershaw
TV Show: Blacklist
Food/Pre-game meal: Can’t eat before starts
Non-baseball activity: Golf
Current walkup song: Playboi Carti – Shoota (Audio) ft. Lil Uzi Vert
Career if not in baseball: Sports marketing
Other sports played: Basketball (7th grade)
Biggest influence in his life: Older brother, Hunter Allen
Logan credits Hunter with his ability to keep training during the pandemic shutdown in 2020.
“I just went home to Deltona and trained at home. I was training with my brother who was my catcher. That was instrumental in staying ready. I owe a lot of credit to him.”