Allen already making impact for Scrappers
NILES – Several of the Cleveland Indians’ 2014 draft picks on the Mahoning Valley Scrappers’ roster debuted on the road this past weekend. And it didn’t take long for the three newest kids on the block to make an immediate impact.
On Sunday against the Doubledays, sixth-round pick Greg Allen, 10th-round pick Steven Patterson and 18th-round pick Taylor Murphy combined for eight hits, six runs and six RBIs in their first professional baseball games.
“I was pleasantly surprised by their first performances, they’ve been impressive,” Scrappers coach Ted Kubiak said.
Allen was particularly impressive in his first two outings in a Scrappers uniform. In nine at-bats, the San Diego State product had five hits and one walk and recorded five runs, one triple and two RBIs. With just two games under his belt, Allen is batting .556 and has a .778 slugging percentage.
“Having the opportunity to play at the professional level, you can’t ask for anything more, so it’s good to be with the guys and start to get things going,” Allen said. “I’m just trying to have good at-bats and with the great group of guys, they’re all trying to do the same, so we’re just kind of feeding off each other. I think we have a good group of guys who want to win and are competitive and want to be successful, and that creates a good atmosphere.”
The Indians selected Allen with the 188th pick of the 2014 MLB Draft. Allen was a Baseball America preseason second- team All-American selection and finished his junior year at San Diego State batting .302 with a team-leading 30 walks, 25 stolen bases and 52 runs scored. He was coached by the late major league great and Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn.
Allen had one year left at San Diego State, but chose not to return for his senior year once his named was called in the draft.
“I pretty much knew what I wanted to do, playing baseball at this level has been a childhood dream of mine, so to be able to have that opportunity given to you, it doesn’t come too often, so I definitely had to take it,” Allen said.
Allen said it was a big sigh of relief when he was drafted – his childhood dream had finally come true.
“It’s been crazy, but I have to give all my glory and praise to God for keeping me through this whole thing,” Allen said. “With out Him, I definitely wouldn’t be here. I don’t take anything for granted and I’m grateful to have this opportunity.”
After finally seeing Allen in action for the first time this past weekend, Kubiak likes what he brings to the table. Everything he had to say about one of his newest players was all positive, and his list of Allen’s intangibles almost seemed endless.
“He runs good, he played well in the outfield, he looks like he has a decent arm, he’s a switch hitter, that’s a plus,” Kubiak said. “In two games, he’s done a great job. We’ll see how he acclimates to playing every day and doing all the extra work because that’s the hardest thing for guys.”
Allen is open to the challenge of extra work. His willingness to continue to learn the game is what separates him from the pack. Kubiak can check eagerness to learn off the ongoing list of Allen’s intangibles.
“I want to continue to get better each and every day, just soak in as much info as I can and to be able to incorporate that into my game and just make sure I’m working on something and getting better at something every day,” Allen said.
Allen said he is not worried about how long he will be with Scrappers (4-7). He doesn’t wish to expedite the process and intends to work his way up the ladder at his own pace, concentrating on individual development and team growth rather than affiliate promotions.
He will stay in the Mahoning Valley however long he needs to – whatever it takes for him to become a better baseball player and advance to the next level.
“It all depends on what I’m able to do on the field and how I’m able to progress, so the main thing is to focus on what I can do here now, and that’s help the Scrappers win any way I can,” he said.