Despite the abbreviated spring training, Austin Allen has done enough to show that he should be the Oakland A’s backup catcher.
The Oakland A’s primary catcher is set. Sean Murphy, one of the top catching prospects in baseball, will be taking over the reins once the 2020 season actually gets underway. Considered the A’s second overall prospect, Murphy has been seen as an elite defender with a cannon of an arm, yet with the potential to be an impact bat in the lineup.
While Murphy is essentially locked in to his role, there are questions regarding his backup. The battle is between two other rookies, with Austin Allen and 2019 breakout Jonah Heim looking to take over that role. Heim is currently considered the better prospect, especially defensively, but Allen is considered to have the better bat.
Heading into spring training, Allen was considered the favorite to back up Murphy. He had more of a track record of success in the minors, and despite his struggles, a brief taste of the majors during his time with the Padres. However, Allen would still need to earn that spot on the roster.
More from White Cleat Beat
- Zach Logue yet another disappointing Oakland A’s trade return
- Luis Barrera heading to familiar foe in Los Angeles Angels
- Looking back at Ruben Sierra with the Oakland A’s
- San Francisco Giants showing Oakland A’s offseason could be worse
- Lucas Luetge what Oakland A’s need in bullpen
Based on his production during the abbreviated spring, he had done exactly that. Allen had posted a .406/.441/.656 batting line in his 34 plate appearances, hitting two homers and leading the team with ten RBI. He had been making more consistent contact as well, striking out just six times.
Spring training stats are mostly meaningless, but they do show progress over his production in the majors last year. In 71 plate appearances with the Padres, he produced a .215/.282/.277 batting line, with four doubles and 21 strikeouts. Even in that brief trial, Allen appeared to be overmatched at the major league level.
However, before baseball was shut down, Allen seemed different. He appeared more comfortable, confident that he belonged. That is where the spring can be important, to see those adjustments and that confidence level that had not previously been there. Allen, at least in March, had that.
Obviously, things will be different once the season begins in earnest. At this point, Austin Allen has earned the backup catcher role for the Oakland A’s.