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Cleveland Indians prospect Greg Allen: Speed Demon

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Indians outfield prospect Greg Allen can run. Will he hit enough for the speed to matter?

Minor League Baseball: Arizona Fall League-Scottsdale Scorpions at Mesa Solar Sox Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Fantasy baseball owners are usually on the lookout for speed contributors. As a potential source of stolen bases, Cleveland Indians outfield prospect Greg Allen stands out among the the group of September promotions. Here’s a quick look.

Greg Allen was a regular for three seasons at San Diego State University, hitting .304/.389/.377 over three seasons with 85 walks, 112 strikeouts, and 61 steals over 70 at-bats. Despite a lack of power, his speed attracted major league scouts and he was drafted in the sixth round in 2014.

He swiped 43 bases alongside a .273/.368/.382 line in Low-A in 2015. His production picked up a bit in ‘16 at .295/.416/.413 with 45 steals, followed by a .269/.352/.449 run with 12 steals in 22 games in the 2016 Arizona Fall League.

Allen ranked as the Number Seven prospect on the Cleveland Indians Top 20 prospects for 2017 list, with the following comment:

7) Greg Allen, OF, Grade B: Age 23, sixth round pick in 2014 from San Diego State, hit .295/.416/.413 with 45 steals, 77 walks, 78 strikeouts in 491 at-bats between High-A and Double-A; speedy switch-hitter, 60-65 runner and uses it well, excellent defensive outfielder with deceptively strong and accurate arm; draws walks and makes contact easily; there may be some Michael Brantley-esque sneaky power in this bat at some point. ETA: 2018.

Allen opened 2017 with Double-A Akron but missed almost half the season with a broken hamate bone. Over 71 games he hit .264/.344/.357 with 22 walks and 55 strikeouts in 258 at-bats, stealing 21 bases in 23 attempts. It wasn’t a terrific season, but the Indians saw enough to give him a trial in the majors this September.

Listed at 6-1, 175, Allen is a switch-hitter born March 15, 1993. Speed is undoubtedly his best tool, at least a 60 with some 70 grades. He uses that speed very well on the bases and has developed into an excellent percentage stealer. The legs also give him superior range in the outfield. He profiles as a leadoff guy if he gets on base enough and while his walk rate was down this year, overall he shows a good feel for the strike zone.

The main question as before is power. He showed some surprising pop in ‘16; this was absent in ‘17, although the hamate injury could have something to do with that. No one expects him to be a big home run hitter but showing consistent pop to the gaps would make him a doubles/triples threat.

Right now Allen projects as a fourth outfielder with his game oriented around speed and defense. That said, Allen reminds me of Michael Brantley at the same stage of his career. Brantley was a speed/contact/walks hitter with little power in the minors, but eventually developed more power and became much more than a fourth outfielder. It is a long shot for Allen to do the same thing, but it isn’t impossible.