Quick Rise to Big Leagues has Allen in Competition for Crowded Pen
During Spring Training the DTTWLN staff will profile and examine the coaches and players that make up and are vying to be part of the 2013 Cleveland Indians—A Team With A New Direction. Today, we examine one of the players on the 40-man roster that is in a roster battle to earn a spot on the 25-man roster.
By David Roberts
When a young minor leaguer starts the season in High-A, visions of a major league debut don’t often cross their mind. For Cody Allen, 2012 seemed like another year for him to improve his stuff and rise through the ranks of the Indians farm system. Little did he know that his rise would be of the meteoric kind, as he found himself pitching in the big leagues in just his second professional season. Fast forward to this spring and Allen looks to be in the mix with several other arms vying for an Opening Day spot on the 2013 Indians roster.
The Cleveland Indians made Allen a 23rd selection in the 2011 draft out of High Point University in North Carolina. The young righty did not waste any time and quickly signed with the club to start getting his feet wet in professional baseball.
The 2011 season saw Allen go 5-1 with a 1.65 ERA logged in 54.2 innings. He made 23 appearances across four different levels with the bulk of his innings coming in short season Single-A Mahoning Valley and Single-A Lake County. Perhaps the most impressive numbers from Allen’s first season were the 75 strikeouts versus 14 walks that he racked up that season to go along with opposing hitters’ batting just .182.
The 2012 season saw much of the same for the young righty. He opened the season at High-A Carolina but quickly earned a promotion to Double-A Akron, where he continued to dominate opposing hitters. Before Allen knew it, he was in Triple-A Columbus but much of the same dominance resumed against opposing hitters. The youngsters’ performance pushed him onto the Tribe’s radar and on July 20, 2012, Cody Allen made his major league debut.
The young righty had some early hiccups and control problems after his call up but overall turned in some solid numbers in his first taste of the big leagues. Over 29 innings pitched, Allen went 0-1 with a 3.72 ERA in 27 appearances. His strikeout and walk ratio were quite a bit different from his minor league track record as he struck out 27 and walked 15 but he showed the talent to be a solid reliever.
Looking ahead to the 2013 season, the 24-year-old Allen comes to camp with the intention of making a case for why he should be on the 25-man roster on Opening Day. “It was fun. I had a lot thrown at me. I had to learn a lot on the fly but it was a lot of fun. You know everyone’s goal is to pitch in the big leagues, I just got to do it a little quicker,” Allen said in a Spring Training Daily interview this month at Spring Training about his whirlwind path to the majors.
Obviously, the young righty is ahead of his years in his mindset and that may have been one of the ways he flew through the system so quickly.
“Guys who are special have the ability to have a good arm and understand the game, so it’s not speeding up. When you talk to Cody, those are the things you see,” Indians manager Terry Francona said during his Feb. 26 daily press conference.
Allen is well aware of the competition that stands in his way from earning a roster spot, especially since the acquisition of new arms via free agency and trades but he has shown up to Arizona apparently ready and willing to take on the task.
Upon seeing Allen throw a session in Goodyear, Francona seemed pleased with what he saw, “He obviously knows he’s coming to camp with something to prove. He looks like he is in midseason form. You never tell a guy to back off, but it’s obvious he worked hard and prepared for Spring Training because his stuff is electric.”
For what it’s worth even if Allen doesn’t break camp with the big league club, with his stuff there is no doubt he’ll be pitching in a Tribe uniform before season’s end.
Photo: Chuck Crow/Cleveland Plain Dealer