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Greg Allen had a solid enough 2017 season, with a bright future ahead

Chicago White Sox v Cleveland Indians Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images

Let’s get this out of the way . . . Greg Allen’s stats were not amazing this year. In fact, at first glance his numbers look downright pedestrian.

In 303 plate appearances at Double-A Akron, Allen slashed .264/.344/.357 with just two home runs. Hmmmm. After his September call-up to the big Tribe, Allen went .229/.282/.343 with one home run in 39 plate appearances. Well then.

So what’s the deal?

Let’s not forget that Allen is still pretty young. He’s just 24 and was a bit young when compared to his Double-A peers.

More importantly though, Allen had to work through a fractured hamate bone that sent him to disabled list in early May. The outfielder said the injury came about from actually swinging too much, not an actual hit-by-pitch or other game injury.

The hamate bone is located in the wrist and it’s well recognized that it’s a bad injury for a hitter. It typically takes awhile to fully recover from and can sap power and limit reps for the player. In Allen’s case, he had surgery in Cleveland and then rehabbed in Goodyear, Arizona, at the Tribe’s training facility. He didn’t return to action with Akron until July 14th.

So long story short, patience is important for this valuable prospect. Allen is a plus-runner and projects as a legit stolen base threat. Following up on 45 steals in 2016, Allen stole 25 bases in 2017 while being caught only twice. That’s very efficient and definitely encouraging to see. Allen uses his speed to play a solid centerfield and scouts believe he has the skill-set to stick in centerfield.

What about the power? Well, the hamate thing again was likely an issue, but Allen is probably never gonna be a 20+ HR guy (juiced ball be darned). But this comp from scout John Sickels sounds pretty good to me:

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.

It seems very likely that Allen will start the 2018 season at Triple-A Columbus. Here’s hoping for an injury-free year so we can see him again in Cleveland before September.