San Diego Padres: Austin Allen Is Still An Option
The San Diego Padres have been playing impressive baseball over the last month. However, one constant area of concern for the Friars has been the woeful offensive production of the primary catcher.
At 37, A.J.Ellis isn’t an everyday option for the San Diego Padres. Austin Hedges is the midst of his rehab in Lake Elsinore, however, the debate over his future has intensified as the trade deadline approaches. Raffy Lopez has looked in shambles every time he steps to the plate. Should the Padres go ahead and try out Austin Allen?
Raffy Lopez is currently slashing .176/.265/.282 with three home runs in 81 at-bats. His OPS is a paltry .548. The sample size is large enough to conclude that these numbers are not going to drastically change anytime soon. His 34% strikeout rate is the highest of his career, at any level.
His defense and play-calling abilities are outstanding, there’s no denying that. However, the Padres need more offense, if they expect to continue winning baseball games.
A.J.Ellis has been surprisingly good with the bat. He seems to find a single here and there and draws walks with ease (over 12% BB rate). Ellis is hitting a remarkable .310/.406/.408 with nine RBIs and 11 walks in 71 AB’s. The concern, however, is A.J is not an everyday player and at thirty-seven, his days in the organization are numbered.
Should the Padres replace Lopez with Austin Allen?
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Drafted in the fourth round of the 2015 MLB Draft, Austin Allen is tearing up the minor leagues with his consistent hitting. He is slashing .318/.371/.597 with a .968 OPS. He has 15 round-trippers and 20 doubles in 233 at-bats.
Allen is hitting .352 against right-handed pitchers and is getting on base at a .413 clip against them. Meanwhile, A.J. Ellis is hitting .344 against lefties.
Allen leads the Texas League in home runs, total bases, and slugging percentage as of June 15th. There are severe questions surrounding his defensive abilities, but reports from those who have followed him closely claim he has shown an improvement this season. He would have a solid mentor in Ellis, should the Padres bring him up.
Allen is 24 years old, so the time to either sink or swim is quickly approaching. The biggest issue is, who does Allen replace on the 40-man roster? With players like Alex Dickerson and Tyler Webb still on the 40-man, the Padres have options.
Next: Padres Fall To Braves/MLB Replay Crew
The San Diego Padres are only a few tweaks away from making the race for the NL West very interesting, either as contenders themselves or big spoilers. Bringing in a hot-hitting catcher is definitely worth a shot.