Nick Allen may already have a major league caliber glove. The question for the Oakland Athletics is whether or not he will hit enough to be a starter in the majors.
Already considered a brilliant defensive shortstop as a high school player, the A’s handed Allen a $2 million bonus, far beyond the slot value of a third round pick. His reputation bore out in his first two professional seasons, as he displayed brilliant defense and speed, but no power and a questionable hit tool.
Last season saw Allen take some steps in the right direction. He produced a respectable .292/.363/.434 batting line, hitting 22 doubles and stealing 13 bases. While that decrease in stolen base production is a bit of a concern, that is definitely mitigated by Allen’s improvement at the plate.
Ultimately, it will be his bat that determines Allen’s future. The glove may be major league ready now, His impressive range and strong arm make him a potential future Gold Glove winner at short. But defense can carry a player only so far – just take Rey Ordonez for example. Eventually, Allen will need to hit to earn a spot in the lineup.
The jury is still out as to whether or not that will happen. If nothing else, Nick Allen may be a defensive utility option for the Oakland Athletics moving forward.