Nick Allen deserves long look at role with Oakland A’s

MESA, AZ - MARCH 1: Nick Allen of the Oakland Athletics bats during the game against the Texas Rangers at Hohokam Stadium on March 1, 2018 in Mesa, Arizona. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Nick Allen
MESA, AZ - MARCH 1: Nick Allen of the Oakland Athletics bats during the game against the Texas Rangers at Hohokam Stadium on March 1, 2018 in Mesa, Arizona. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/Oakland Athletics/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Nick Allen /
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For the most part, the Oakland A’s lineup is set. We know who the starters, or at least the primary players, will be in almost every position. The one exception is at second base, where the A’s have a multitude of candidates for the job, but little in the way of clarity.

One player that has yet to be mentioned as a candidate is Nick Allen. A brilliant defensive player, he has impressed with the glove already in spring training, making plays that show that he is ready for the majors, at least on that side of the diamond.

Nick Allen deserves a long look with Oakland A’s

Allen’s defense has never been in question. He has been considered a future Gold Glove winner at short, with the range, instincts, and impressive arm that teams desire at the position. The biggest question has always been whether or not he will hit enough to be a viable major league option.

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With the acquisition of Elvis Andrus at short, Allen’s path to the majors would seem to be blocked for the next two seasons. However, he could be an option at second, a position that he played 24 games at in 2019 as the A’s looked to improve his defensive versatility with an eye towards a major league role. He also played six games at second and six more at third in the Arizona Fall League that year.

He did show his potential with the bat in that most recent minor league season. While he will never be confused for a future Silver Slugger, Allen produced a solid .292/.363/.434 batting line with 22 doubles and 13 steals in his 328 plate appearances at Stockton before an injury ended his season.

Allen has not really been considered as a candidate for second base. The battle seems to be between Tony Kemp and Chad Pinder, with Vimael Machin and Jed Lowrie lurking as possibilities. But if Allen can show enough progress with the bat during spring training, his defense may force the A’s hand.

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Nick Allen’s defensive acumen is going to be his ticket to the majors. If he can show enough progress with the bat this spring, the Oakland A’s should give him a long look.

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