A gifted defender as a high schooler entering into the 2017 Draft, the A’s clearly thought Allen would be enough of a complete player to be an everyday shortstop, giving him a $2 million bonus, well above slot in the third round. He was a glove-first player over his first year plus as a pro, but took a step forward offensively in 2019 until his season ended in late June with a high ankle sprain suffered on a slide into home. He did make up for some lost reps in the Arizona Fall League.
No matter how much Allen improves at the plate, there’s no question he’ll always be a defensive-minded player. He makes every play at shortstop, with plus range, hands, footwork and a plus arm that allows him to make throws from every angle and on the run. All of it plays up even more because of his outstanding instincts that give him Gold Glove potential. He also showed he can handle second base easily, sharing time at both spots with fellow prospect Jeremy Eierman, though there is no question which of the two is a full-time shortstop long term.
Before the injury, Allen was executing his offensive game plan better than he had previously, showing an advanced approach at the plate and using his line-drive swing well, though he never got his timing back when he returned from injury in the AFL. He can get caught buying into the launch angle game a bit too much and that’s never going to be part of his game. At the very least, Allen looks like a No. 8 or 9 hitter as a big league regular. If his offensive gains before he got hurt are real, that plus his defensive profile point to a much larger impact.
Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 30 | Run: 60 | Arm: 60 | Field: 65 | Overall: 50
For however long Allen plays baseball, he's going to have to answer questions about his size. Perhaps the best defensive player in the 2017 Draft, the A's put aside concerns about Allen's strength at the plate and gave him a well-above-slot $2 million bonus in the third round of the Draft. His lack of offensive production has added to the worries about his profile, though he did show improvement in the second half of his first full year.
Allen certainly did struggle in the first half of 2018, hitting just .198 with a. .513 OPS in the Midwest League before the All-Star break. Some of that is because of the aforementioned lack of strength, though the A's think he can add some to help him stay durable, but much of it can be attributed to Allen having to deal with the loss of a family member in early May. In the second half, Allen corrected a little drift in his swing and started impacting the baseball more, posting a .274 average and .679 OPS after the break. His walk rate went up and his strikeout rate dropped as his pitch recognition improved. He also stopped worrying about trying to lift or drive the ball, understanding that consistent contact and on-base skills, combined with his plus speed, are his ticket.
There's never been any question that Allen's glove will carry him to the big leagues. His arm is strong and accurate and he can throw from any angle to go along with his plus range and outstanding hands. A greater understanding of who he is offensively could help him become a defensive-oriented regular.
Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 30 | Run: 60 | Arm: 60 | Field: 65 | Overall: 45
After dazzling at shortstop during his prep career, Allen was widely revered by scouts as one of the 2017 Draft's premier defensive players. But with his slight build and perceived signability concerns, Allen remained somewhat of a wild card when the Draft finally arrived. The A's, undeterred in spite of those concerns, selected the California prep in the third round and then lured him away from his USC commitment with a $2 million bonus, more than double slot value ($697,500) for the No. 81 overall pick. Assigned to the Rookie-level Arizona League for his pro debut, Allen continued to draw raves for his defense but also raised questions about his offensive upside.
There is no doubt among scouts that Allen can stick at shortstop. He's already a plus defender there as a teenager, with outstanding range that leads to many highlight-reel plays, and plus arm strength that allows him to make throws from all over the diamond. On the other side of the ball, the jury is still out regarding Allen's upside with the bat. While he shows good feel to hit and bat-to-ball skills, Allen desperately needs to add strength to his undersized frame in order to consistently impact the baseball. He's a plus runner with outstanding instincts, knows how to play small ball and is aggressive on the basepaths.
Allen endears himself to scouts even more with his outstanding makeup and baseball IQ. His supporters see a Jose Altuve-type profile, albeit one with at least two full grades less power who relies more on his glove than bat to impact games.
Scouting grades: Hit: 55 | Power: 30 | Run: 60 | Arm: 60 | Field: 65 | Overall: 50
There might not have been a player in the 2017 Draft class more universally liked by area scouts than Allen. But as a 5-foot-9 shortstop with a strong commitment to Southern Cal, Allen's signability posed as a deterrent for many teams. The A's, however, weren't one of them, as they drafted the California prep in the third round and then lured him away from his USC commitment with a $2 million bonus, more than double slot value ($697,500) for the No. 81 overall pick.
The one thing no one questions is Allen's ability to stick at shortstop. He is a plus defender with outstanding range and more than enough arm to make throws from all over the diamond, making highlight reel plays with regularity, even on big stages like the Perfect Game All-American Classic. While Allen will never hit for power, he has added some strength in his lower half and should be able to continue to do so as he matures, allowing him to shoot the ball to the gaps. He's a plus runner with outstanding instincts, so he can stretch singles to doubles and doubles to triples. Allen does play his home games on turf, so some of his times might be a bit inflated, but no one doubts his skills play on any surface.
Allen endears himself to scouts even more with his outstanding makeup and baseball IQ. His supporters see a Jose Altuve type profile, albeit one with less power, but who can stay at short and impact games in a variety of ways.