We've fallen behind on our scouting reports this year, but we'll fit in a few before the draft starts next Monday. You can see our look at Dillon Tate here. Our aim, after focusing on Allard today, is to get through Kyle Tucker, Daz Cameron, and two or three other players who have been attached to Minnesota through recent mock drafts. You can catch all of our draft features to date right here.
Let's get to who Keith Law calls the best prep southpaw in the draft.
School & Player History
Allard is a thin lefty, coming in around 170 pounds and standing 6' 0" or 6' 1" depending on the source. Pitching for San Clemente High School in California, he was considered an underclass honorable mention as a sophomore and a junior by Perfect Game. PG also recognized him in March as a member of their All American and All Regional teams, thanks in no small part to the fact that he struck out 17 of the 29 batters he faced for Team USA as he helped them to a gold medal in Mexico for the 18U Pan American Championship.
That profile made Allard one of the top prep arms in the country coming into the 2015 season. But on March 20 he was diagnosed with a stress reaction in his back, which is a precursor of a stress fracture, and it's caused him to miss the rest of the 2015 campaign. He only faced 35 batters this year. They hit .143, didn't hit a home run, and he struck out 26% of batters faced.
In 2014, as a 16-year old junior, Allard struck out 98 in 63.2 innings, walking 17 and owning a 1.32 ERA.
|Fastball||92 - 94 (96 max)||50||65|
I'm assuming that it's simply because he's a high school arm who hasn't pitched since March, but after looking through 15-20 sources I was only able to find one source for velocity readings of Allard's off-speed pitches. That's secondary to his scouting though, and the current/future values listed above are an average of five separate current/future scores given by other scouts and websites.
The fastball is, or at least prior to the injury was, already a plus pitch. That's impressive enough for a 17-year old. It's easy to see him adding another tick in velocity as he gets older and matures. The curveball is sometimes designated as a slider, but after watching video it looks like a curve to me. One scout rated it as a 50 already but Law, who gave the pitch a current-future grade of 45-60, says "it wouldn't shock me if this became a plus-plus pitch in time." The pitch breaks 1-to-6, and I read the word "devastating" multiple times in terms of its effect on high school hitters.
While the changeup is the least refined of Allard's three offerings, nobody gave it a future value lower than 55. As his mechanics improve the speed differential between it and the fastball will become more pronounced and he'll get a better feel for the pitch overall.
Allard is a lefty with a pitch arsenal that scouts believe will have two if not three plus pitches.
Like with most prep pitchers there is a bit of fine tuning that needs to be done. While there's nothing dangerous in his motions that might be a red flag for arm issues down the line, he does have a handful of mechanical errors that would need to be addressed as he eases into professional ball. His three-quarter arm slot sweeps across his body but he can end up with his toe almost pointing at first base. As Wilson Karaman notes for Minor League Ball, that can lead to a crow hop - a necessity considering how he lands but inefficient, tough on the ankles, and leading to slow reaction times should he need to field a ball to the pitcher's mound.
His wind-up and release aren't terribly consistent, but again these are easy things to clean up. Right now the wind-up is methodical but then the arm comes forward quickly which gives his delivery a bit of deception. Take a look at the videos below to get a sense of what I've outlined here.
Coming in at roughly six feet, Allard is considered short for a starting pitcher. As we know, Keith Law is notorious for having height play into his scouting reports and, indeed, he notes that "If Allard was two inches taller, [he] would be one of the real candidates to go first in the 2015 draft." I believe that summary was written pre-stress reaction, but it's a clear indication of his stock as a draft prospect and it's a sentiment that's echoed over and over in the reports I've read. As the reddit scouting thread notes, Allard has been compared to a smaller Brady Aiken. That's not a terrible thing.
In spite of making just a couple of appearances in his senior season as a high school pitcher, Allard's name continues to be brought up as one of the top prep arms in the draft. It's happening for many reasons: he's left-handed, he has potential to have two or three plus pitches, there's good personal makeup, the mechanical and health issues aren't massive red flags, scouts have faith in his command.
As we've heard a number of times in recent days, the Twins won't be afraid to roll the dice at the number six spot and they're not going to let an injury stop them from taking the best player available provided the health report for the future looks good.
It seems silly to peg a pitcher to be a certain "type" at 17 years of age (Allard will be 18 in August), but the most common sentiment charts him as a mid-rotation starter with some upside. That's certainly not ace material, but considering his age, his potential, and the cloudy crystal ball through which we all try to see the future...you never know.
Should the Twins go with Allard, I'd be interested to see if they tried to get him a few innings with the GCL Twins before the end of the year. Whether they do or not, it seems likely he'd spend most of 2016 in Elizabethton. He's undoubtedly a five or six-year project.
Keith Law | Reddit | Baseball America 1 | LA Times | Perfect Game 1 | Perfect Game 2 | MLB Draft Countdown | USA Today | Max Preps | Minor League Ball | Baseball America 2 | Crawfish Boxes | MLB Top Prospects | Mike Berardino