Cleveland Indians: Could Greg Allen make the Opening Day roster?

(Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images) /

Cleveland Indians outfielder Greg Allen surprised people when he made the 2017 postseason roster. Now, he looks to surprise people again with an inclusion on the Opening Day roster.

The outfield is arguably the biggest question mark the Cleveland Indians face going into spring training. While much depends on the health of Michael Brantley, Cleveland could be in for some very interesting outfield battles.

Perhaps the most interesting candidate for an outfield spot is 24-year old Greg Allen. With names like Abraham Almonte, Tyler Naquin, Brandon Guyer (health in question for Opening Day), and non roster players Brandon Barnes, Melvin Upton, along with new addition Rajai Davis, Allen could have an uphill battle. However, Allen has won that fight once already with his inclusion on the 2017 postseason roster.

What do his stats look like?

Allen’s 25 regular season games in 2017, were not by any means incredibly impressive. While Allen showcased his speed, and defensive abilities, his bat was not quite there. Over 35 at bats, Allen hit .229/.282/.343, with a double, a homer, and a stolen base. While all signs point to his bat needing more time to develop in the minors, he’s looking to disprove that theory.

Across six minor league seasons, Allen is a career .274 hitter. While he has not shown signs of being a power threat, his speed and low strikeout numbers are signs he could hit for average at the big league level. While his bat may, or may not be there yet, his speed and defense are a plus. As shown by his postseason roster inclusion, Terry Francona and the Cleveland Indians coaching staff clearly value that.

The outside the box reason Allen may have a chance

Lonnie Chisenhall and Bradley Zimmer are the only two outfielders who appear to be Opening Day locks – and some may even argue that. While guys like Almonte, Upton, Davis, Naquin, and possibly Brandon Guyer all clearly have a leg up over Allen, there is one reason Allen may have a stronger chance than it seems.

The Cleveland Indians organization seems to be high on Greg Allen. After all, what’s not to like about a switch hitter with great speed, defense, and low strikeout numbers? While it may be an outdated line of thinking, there still is the theory that he can simply “put the ball in play and let his speed do the rest”. This is where we get into his outside the box chances.

It may be a bit of a reach, it may even be a big reach, but Cleveland may chose to include Allen on the Opening Day roster so he can learn first hand from a veteran outfielder with the same MO – Rajai Davis.

Given what Davis was able to accomplish here before, he already arguably has the best chance of any of the outfield options to crack the roster. When you factor in both how much the fans, and how much all members of the Cleveland Indians organization love him, his chances appear to be extremely good. As I said, it may be a stretch, but it is very possible that Cleveland views Allen as somebody with potential to develop into a Rajai-esque player, and may choose to keep the two together in hopes Davis can be a mentor for Allen.

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Realistically speaking, it sounds highly unlikely that both Davis and Allen will make the Opening Day roster. Furthermore, with all the other options, a spot for Allen seems pretty unlikely. Only time will tell, but to me, Allen is one of the more intriguing options in camp. Don’t count this kid out, and certainly don’t expect an early Spring exit.