Earlier today we looked at Jeter Downs, a Florida high school shortstop projected to be an early pick in the upcoming 2017 MLB Draft. On the other side of the country is Nick Allen, prep shortstop from San Diego, California, and another projected early pick. Let’s take a look.
Nick Allen attends Francis W. Parker high school in San Diego. He has been a fixture on the showcase circuit for years, his Perfect Game profile showing his presence at key events all the way back to 2012. Scouts are obviously extremely familiar with him and have a comfortable read on both his strengths and weaknesses.
Listed at 5-9, 160, Allen is a right-handed hitter and thrower born October, 8th, 1998. He has a college commitment to the University of Southern California but should be signable if drafted where his talent warrants.
Allen draws constant praise for his speed, arm strength, and defensive skills. While he’s not physically imposing on the field, there’s tremendous athleticism and wiry strength in his body. He draws 60-65 grades for his speed, 55 grades for his arm, and 65-70 grades for his baseball instincts and feel for fielding. There’s no question he can remain at shortstop and many observers see Gold Glove ability.
His offensive game revolves around speed and aggression on the bases combined with line drive hitting. His pure hitting ability is respected and his bat is relatively polished. His makeup and general baseball acumen are superb.
Allen’s power is the weakest tool by far: pessimists give him a 30 for raw power. He doesn’t have to hit homers to be a valuable hitter, of course, but some worry that he won’t be able to handle advanced pitching and could get the bat knocked out of his hands too often.
That said, there are fewer doubters than there were six months ago and the general idea is that he should at least hit for a decent average.
The consensus is that Allen could go anywhere from the back half of the first round to early in the second. Quality defensive shortstops with a chance to hit are rare. That factor, combined with the love that scouts have for his makeup, could result in an earlier selection than most currently project. It is plausible he could sneak into the middle of the round.