Since the MiLB season came to a close, I have been trying to share with you the prospects I am excited to see take the field in 2016. I guess we can call this my seventh installment. Living in Atlanta, I am definitely excited to see how Kolby Allard’s 2016 campaign goes.
Allard, of course, was the Atlanta Braves first round pick in the 2015 MLB Draft. He went 14th overall to the Braves, which on paper, may have looked like a steal. Allard was widely considered the best lefty prep school arm in the nation.
The reason the Braves were able to snag Allard a bit later than expected was due to the fact that he missed nearly his entire senior season with a stress injury in his back. Injuries to young pitchers, however, don’t seem to phase John Hart, and they went along as planned, drafting the 17-year old hopeful future star.
The southpaw is not big, standing at 6 foot 1 and weighing in at 175 pounds. Now just 18 years of age, it is possible he gains a bit more weight, but he doesn’t seem like he is going to get that much bigger. What he lacks in size, he will make up with an impressive pitch arsenal.
His fastball — which has reportedly hit as high as 96 and is deemed well above average — seems to settle in around 92 to 94 miles per hour according to most reports. Scouts gush over his curve ball as well, as it has nice dip and cruises in at a cool 80 mph. His change up, which tends to come across in the mid-80s, is a work in progress, but it projects to be an average pitch by the time Allard matures.
Here's some High School Perfect Game footage (courtesy of MLB.com):
Allard has a seemingly effortless delivery with smooth action in his arm. It helps him to harness his command and pound the strike zone. Allard’s small stature is going to require him to be a control artist, and thus far the results have shown that.
The sample size was so small you needed a microscope to see it, but once Allard put on a Braves uniform the future instantly became exciting. He was the last draftee to sign for the Braves — giving them a quick scare that he may fulfill his commitment to UCLA — but he inked his mega-deal on July 9th.
By August he was in the Gulf Coast League. He would makes three starts, adding an inning to his performance with each outing. Allard struck out the side in his one inning debut August 10th, would strike out five in his next two inning start on August 15th, and struck out four while allowing his first and only hit in his final three inning start of the season. Six innings pitched, 12 strikeouts, no walks. What’s not to get excited about right there?
I truly hope it works out that I get to see the one-two-three punch of Touki Toussaint, Allard and fellow 2015 first rounder Mike Soroka in person this season anchoring the Rome rotation. Allard is certainly a prospect to watch in 2016.