Oakland A’s: The Nick Allen fallback plan

If the Oakland A’s are unable to retain Marcus Semien, their fallback plan may be prospect Nick Allen.

The Oakland A’s have already stated their preference at short for 2021. If they had their druthers, Marcus Semien would be back in the fold, manning the position for the foreseeable future. However, given the A’s plethora of impending departures in free agency, they may not be able to bring Semien back as they fill out their roster.

There are going to be some options in free agency, but the A’s budget is going to be a concern as well. Didi Gregorius or Andrelton Simmons may work in theory, but the A’s still have to rebuild their bullpen, find a second baseman, an outfielder, and at least one arm in the rotation. The A’s are going to need to stretch their budget and give some of their youngsters a chance.

One such option is Nick Allen, who could be the A’s fallback plan at shortstop. He may be an unusual choice, having yet to play at a level higher than the California League, but his time may have already arrived.

Defensively, there is no question that Allen is ready for the majors. He may be a future Gold Glove caliber shortstop, with scouts lauding his instincts on the diamond. His impressive glovework, range, and strong arm lend credence to the thought that he will be an excellent defensive shortstop in the majors.

The question has been his offense. He has displayed an advanced approach at the plate, showing a solid batting eye and the ability to put the bat on the ball. The problem is that he will occasionally try too hard to put the ball in the air, although he is never going to be a power hitter.

However, Allen gave the A’s reason to hope that he could be a respectable hitter at the major league level. He produced a .292/.363/.434 batting line in his 328 plate appearances for Stockton, hitting 22 doubles and stealing 13 bases. His solid approach was also on display, as he drew 28 walks with just 52 strikeouts.

If Allen can even be a .250 hitter with doubles pop and the occasional stolen base, he would be a major league caliber player. But that is the question – will his bat progress to the point where he can be a starting option? The A’s may end up having to find out in 2021.

The Oakland A’s would like to bring Marcus Semien back to play short next year. Otherwise, the backup plan may be Nick Allen.