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Cody Allen solidified himself as one of the top closers in the AL in 2015

Cody Allen had a rough first month, but still ended up with a dominating season in 2015.

David Maxwell/Getty Images

Back in 2011, the Cleveland Indians selected highly touted Francisco Lindor with their first pick in the June 2011 draft. But in 23rd round, they also selected a redshirt junior out of High Point University in North Carolina by the name of Cody Allen. He has become one of the high points of that draft.

By the time the Tribe had selected him, Allen had bounced around quite a bit already. After his freshman year at Central Florida, he redshirted the 2009 season. He pitched at St. Petersburg College the following season before landing at High Point. His stats at High Point were alright but nothing spectacular. Shortly after he was drafted in 2011, he signed with the Tribe.

His debut season in 2011 was an active one where he pitched at Mahoning Valley (A-), Lake County (A) mostly, with one appearance each with Kinston (A+) and Akron (AA) in September. He started 2012 at Carolina, stayed for 2 games and then went to Akron for 5 games allowing just 2 hits in 7.2 innings and 10 strikeouts. His dominance continued in Columbus and he went from draft pick to the majors in just over a season when he debuted in Cleveland against the Orioles on July 20, 2012.

He made 27 appearances with most of them high leverage. He made 77 more in 2013 as a setup man for Chris Perez. Although Perez was dealt that summer, Allen didn't assume the closer duties until May 0f 2014. After a superb season, he kept the job this spring. This April though, he was tattooed by the Tigers and White Sox for 4 runs each in two of his first five outings. At the end of April, his ERA was an unsightly 11.57, but his FIP was just 3.42 and his K% was still decent at 26.2%.

From that point forward, he was back to the Allen of 2014. Not counting April, these are his stats in 2015: 62 appearances, 62.1 IP, 2.02 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, 12.7 K/9 and a .272 slugging %. Not too shabby. And Terry Francona didn't hesitate to use him for more than 3 outs as he made 11 such appearances. And that is one tactic of Francona's I do agree with.

It is doubtful Allen gets much offseason press as he notched just 34 saves this year. And since his April over inflated his numbers for the entire season, he flew under the radar quite a bit. He will definitely open 2016 as the incumbent closer. And as he is in just his first year of arbitration, he is slated to make around $3.5M per most projections. Allen will definitely get expensive in 2017, but if he pitches to his ability, he will still be worth the dough in 2016.