Padres Minor Leaguer Austin Allen Has Big Week
The Padres Austin Allen, playing for the Low-A Fort Wayne Tin Caps put up some nice numbers last week to earn MILB Offensive Player of the Week honors after hitting over .600 with 10 RBI in his first ten games at a higher level than he had ever played. Pretty good start to the season for the Padres 4th round pick in 2015 and 27th rated prospect.
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Allen credits a lot of his early success to the work he put in this off-season:
“A lot of this goes back to the work I was doing this offseason. I was fortunate to work with Francisco Lindor [in Clermont, Florida], and I got to hit with Derek Dietrich a couple times. A lot of it was just trying to watch and see what they do, but talking with Francisco, he told me to stick with a routine that gets me most prepared. Whether things are good or bad, stick with that routine and ride it out.”
It is certainly paying early dividends for the 22 year old catcher. No other minor league player has an average of .600 in any more than 19 at bats, so with his 34 at bats he easily clears the mark.
Last year he played in short season Low A in Tri-Cities, WA and hit .240, but most already believe that his defense is what will get him to the Major Leagues. He certainly has high aspirations himself to improve that aspect of his game:
“I want to be the best gamecaller, blocker, thrower I can be. If pitchers throw up zeros, I feel like I personally did my job. Actually I’m almost happier when a pitcher throws up zeros than I’d be if I’d gone 2-for-4. I think every catcher feels that way.”
He has only thrown out 2 of 13 attempted base runners so far this season as he faces better base runners as he climbs the ladder as opposed to perhaps pure speed. It’s only as good as what you do with the speed after all. Last year he struggled as well, catching just 15 of 74 attempts though it must also be noted that many lower level pitchers are not very good at holding runners accountable on base either. He also has 4 passed balls this season already in 10 games after just 3 in 55 games last season.
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If his offense keeps up though, the defense might not matter as much and he can work out at other positions like 1B or Left Field to find a way for teams to get him in the lineup without being a defensive liability. For now, the Padres prospect is enjoying the ride and hoping to lead Fort Wayne to their 9th consecutive playoff bound season in one of the finest minor league ballparks in the country.