A lot was made of the lack of moves by the Indians this off-season, especially in the outfield and bullpen. Perhaps while we were all looking for the front office to be active, they knew what they had, especially in OF Greg Allen. Drafted in the 6th round of the 2014 MLB Draft by the Indians, he was the 3rd outfielder they selected behind Bradley Zimmer and Mike Papi.
Last season, Allen played in 91 games and hit .257 with two home runs and 20 RBI. He also had 21 stolen bases, which was good for a top 10 finish in AL stolen bases. Allen also made some amazing catches, showing his great speed and ability to range over to track the ball. Additionally, as the season went on and he got more opportunities, Allen began to play better, even recording a 14-game hitting streak.
In Spring Training, Allen’s numbers have been impressive. His batting average is at .395, with three doubles, one triple, one home run and five stolen bases. Obviously, it’s important to not put too much stock into Spring Training numbers, but it is a positive sign that he is hitting closer to .400 than .100.
If given the opportunity this season, I expect Greg Allen to have a breakout year. He will never be a 25+ home run guy, but his role, as a speed guy with the occasional home run, is an important one for the Indians. Batting ninth in the lineup will give him many chances to be scored home by top of the order hitters – SS Francisco Lindor and 3B Jose Ramirez.
Greg Allen exemplifies the old adage, “speed kills” and for the Indians to be successful this season, they are going to need players with high levels of speed and quality defense in their lineup. While there are other options in the outfield, Allen could be the difference maker this season for the Indians.