Though he was an eighth-round pick out of IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) in 2015, Allen secured the third-highest bonus in Boston's crop that year, giving up a commitment to South Carolina to sign for $725,000. The Red Sox sent him to the Padres as part of the Craig Kimbrel trade five months later, and San Diego shipped him to Cleveland in a three-team deal with the Reds last July. The Double-A Texas League pitcher of the year in 2018, he had trouble adjusting to the baseballs in Triple-A and the Majors last year and recorded a 5.93 ERA between four stops.
Allen's best pitch is a Vulcan changeup that grades as plus and tumbles at the plate when it's on, though he had trouble maintaining the feel for it with the smaller seams on the Triple-A and MLB baseballs. He sets it up with a four-seam fastball that sits at 91-94 mph and tops out at 96, standing out more for its command than its life. He lacks natural aptitude for spinning the ball and has found more success by developing an average slider and using his slurvy curveball less often.
Allen had advanced pitchability for a youngster, providing regular strikes while mixing four pitches. He hasn't missed a start since elbow soreness cost him a couple of months during his first full pro season and can be an efficient innings-eater in the middle of a rotation. The Indians could use a left-handed starter, and he and Scott Moss are the only candidates on their 40-man roster.
Scouting grades: Fastball: 55 | Curveball: 45 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 60 | Control: 50 | Overall: 50
Allen pitched for IMG Academy's (Fla.) high school squad as a senior before going to the Red Sox in the eighth round of the 2015 Draft and signing for $725,000. He already has been traded twice, getting dealt to the Padres in a package for Craig Kimbrel in November 2015 and going to the Indians in the three-team swap that sent Trevor Bauer to the Reds this July. The Double-A Texas League Pitcher of the Year in 2018, he made his big league debut this June but has struggled this year in Triple-A and the Majors.
After pitching with a below-average fastball at the outset of his career, Allen now operates more in the 92-94 mph range with late life. He's aggressive with his fastball placement and confidently attacks right-handed hitters on the inner half of the plate. A changeup that receives plus grades and plays nicely off his heater is his best secondary offering, and he also has feel for throwing his curveball and slider for strikes, with the latter grading as the better pitch.
Allen battled elbow issues during his first full pro season but has been healthy since. His four-pitch mix and pitchability give him a higher floor than ceiling, and he has the durability needed to be a workhorse starter in the big leagues.
Scouting grades: Fastball: 55 | Curveball: 50 | Changeup: 60 | Control: 50 | Overall: 55
Allen pitched for IMG Academy's (Fla.) high school squad as a senior before going to the Red Sox in the eighth round of the 2015 Draft and signing for $725,000. After a solid pro debut, he was one of four players shipped to the Padres as part of the Craig Kimbrel trade in November. Allen was bothered by left elbow soreness the following year, limiting his time on the mound, but a healthy campaign allowed him to begin moving through the Minors in 2017, as Allen finished the season as a 20-year-old in the Class A Advanced California League before opening 2018 in Double-A.
After pitching with a below-average fastball at the outset of his career, Allen now operates more in the 92-94 mph range with late life, though his velocity can fluctuate at times. He's aggressive with his fastball location, too, with a willingness to attack right-handed hitters on the inner half of the plate. A changeup and a curveball comprise Allen's secondary arsenal. The former is well ahead of the latter, at times flashing plus, though his breaking ball stands to improve once he learns to better repeat his release point.
Allen's pitchability and knack for pounding the zone with his three-pitch mix should aid him as he continues his trek through the Padres' system. Health and durability are still concerns with the physically mature left-hander, but he did his part to assuage them in 2017 by tossing a career-high 125 innings, more than double his workload from the previous year.