The 2022 MLB Draft will begin on July 17, 2022. We take a look at Joe Allen, a hard-throwing prep pitcher with a high ceiling.
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Joe Allen, Right-Handed Pitcher, Winnacunnet (N.H.)
Weight: 215 lbs.
Stats: 3-2, 1.62 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, 43.0 IP, 26 H, 71 K, 13 BB
Allen dominated the prep circuit at Winnacunnet and has also proven himself on larger stages, such as with the Team USA 18U National Team. He has the prototypical build of a right-handed starter, boasts a fastball in the mid-90s, and utilizes a frequently-improving curveball that fools hitters with its lethal vertical break. Originally committed to Michigan, Allen flipped to Clemson this summer.
Allen’s most-utilized pitch is a fastball that has topped out at 96 mph. His four-seamer has impressive rising action, and Allen elevates it with ease. He also works his upper-80s sinker around the edges of the plate. The offering is a great option deep in counts when he needs to paint the corner. Both of these offerings have yet to reach their ceiling, so the excitement continues.
The right-hander also throws a lethal curveball. This pitch is consistently in the 74-77 mph range and has fantastic vertical break. Although he originally struggled to locate his breaking ball, Allen has done a much better job at locating it in the zone for strikes. More often than not, opponents will either make weak contact or simply whiff when facing his curveball. Undeniably, it’s a great put-away pitch.
All in all, Allen has shown an impressive ability to get strikeouts against higher-quality competition. New Hampshire certainly isn’t the best place to get reps against draft prospects, so he took his talents to the USA National Team and remained dominant. In the outing shown in the video above, Allen strikes out five top Canadian prospects over three innings, allowing just one hit and one walk in the process.
Allen also throws a changeup, but it has been his least-documented pitch. Quite simply, it’s his weakest offering and is not going to set the tone in at-bats. At most, it’ll offer a change of pace so that he can come back with the heater. Additionally, the New Hampshire native has improved his control, but it’s still not where it needs to be. He still struggles to locate his pitches from time to time.
Pro Comparison: Nathan Eovaldi
Finding a good comparison for a pitcher is tough, and you always have to make sacrifices. Here, let’s ignore the fact that Eovaldi throws either a slider or cutter one-fifth of the time. With that said, there are numerous similarities. Eovaldi’s fastball sits in the 96-97 mph range and elevates well. Eovaldi uses it about 40 percent of the time, which is probably less than Allen will be asked to throw his in pro ball, but the pitch itself still compares nicely. The Red Sox starter’s curveball is his No. 2 offering, generating a 33.7 percent whiff rate in 2022 and serving as a strong put-away option, just like Allen’s. The similarities between the two pitchers’ top two options are clear, and any MLB team would love to draft someone with Eovaldi’s arsenal, dominance, and longevity.
Draft Projection: Fifth Round
Allen’s draft stock likely rides on how scouts feel about his control, specifically when throwing the curveball. Often, the top prospects in the draft are the ones who have a strong fastball and an absolutely lethal secondary offering, both of which hit the zone with ease while missing opponents’ bats. Allen has the great fastball and ideal pitcher’s frame, but if concerns about his curveball’s control linger, he likely won’t hear his name called until the fifth or sixth rounds.