Cleveland Indians 2016 Top Prospects: #23 Greg Allen

Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports /

Cleveland Indians 2016 Top Prospects: #23 Greg Allen

One of the fastest players in the system, center fielder Greg Allen comes in at number 23 on our 2016 Cleveland Indians Top Prospect countdown.

Who is Greg Allen?

Allen was a sixth-round pick of the Cleveland Indians in the 2014 Draft.  He played three years at San Diego State University.  The soon to be 23-year-old switch hitter stands 6’-0” and weighs about 175 pounds. He can play all three outfield positions though has seen most of his time in centerfield where he’s seen most of his time in college and as a professional.  He saw brief action with the Advanced-A Lynchburg Hillcats in 2015, being called up just before the Carolina League playoffs.

Strengths and Weaknesses

First thing anyone will notice about Allen is his speed. Baseball America tabbed him as the “fastest baserunner” in the Tribe’s organization last winter (a title he lost to Gabriel Mejia this year) while MLB Pipeline ranked him the best runner with his 60-grade speed.  He also led all Tribe minor leaguers with 46 stolen bases in 2015. His 43 stolen bases with Lake County were good for second most in the Midwest League as well. 

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He compliments that plus speed with a good discipline at the plate. He had a career .389 on-base percentage with the Aztecs in college and that’s carried over to his professional game as he .365 OBP in his first two seasons with the Tribe. He’s a bit of a slap-hitter but also draws plenty of walks, posting a walk rate of 9.6% so far in the minor leagues. He also has posted a near 1:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, having struck out just 86 times to 82 walks in 183 games.

He also plays very good defense in centerfield. Both years he’s been in the Indians’ organization he’s been named the best defensive outfielder by Baseball America.  He has good instincts and the plus speed sure doesn’t hurt. He also has a good enough arm to handle rightfield if the need arises.

Where Allen falls short is the power department.  He only hit two home runs in his college career (both in his freshman season) and didn’t hit a single home run in 2013 or 2014 (college and pros combined). His swing is that which one wouldn’t expect a lot of power; however, he did hit seven home runs for Lake County last season. It will be interesting to see if that was more a fluke of a sign that he could develop double-digit pop.

Where Does He Go From Here?

After spending almost the entire season with Class-A Lake County last season, Allen is expected to open as the starting centerfielder for the Advanced-A Lynchburg Hillcats in 2016. As mentioned earlier, he finished last season with the Hillcats and played in the playoffs there.  Given his advanced approach at the plate and speed/defense combo, it would not be a surprise at all if he were to see time at Double-A Akron this season as well.

Next: Indians Top Prospects: #24 Tyler Krieger

Allen really opened some eyes this past year. Everyone knew he was fast and could play some defense, but he’s proving that the bat is a legit tool as well. The plate discipline and ability to get on base allow him to utilize that speed in ways many prospects can’t. Lynchburg will be a big test for him (as will Akron if he gets there), but if he can master that level and maintain the plus plate discipline, he could be a fast riser. Even if he doesn’t become a starter at the big league level, his ability to play all three outfield spots competently combined with his speed could make him an effective fourth outfielder. A bit of an unsung prospect in the Tribe system that has some big league upside.