Here are the 7 A's in the Arizona Fall League

No. 6 prospect Allen excited to make up for lost time in AFL

September 26th, 2019

It looked like Nick Allen was having a breakout season at the plate with Stockton in the Class A Advanced California League in 2019. The A’s No. 6 prospect, known more for his defensive prowess than his bat, had brushed off a first full season where he hit just .239/.301/.302 and was hitting .292/.363/.434 through 72 games. He was carrying a .319/.390/.436 line in June when his things came to a crashing halt with an ankle injury that ended his season.

“I worked hard to get where I was at and it was a good season, but things happen like that,” Allen said. “I can’t say that I wasn’t mad, but I look at it as this happened for me, not to me. I trusted the A’s process of getting me back healthy and I’m just excited to be where I’m at right now.”

Where he’s at is playing the middle infield for the Mesa Solar Sox in the Arizona Fall League. Healthy once again, Allen ran out of regular season to get back on the field. So he was thrilled when given the opportunity to find playing time in the AFL.

“I was very excited,” Allen said. “When they said it to me, I just knew I’ll be able to finish the half of the season that I missed, maybe just get some at-bats back, but I was very excited for sure.

“There’s no reason to hold back for me. I’m feeling really good. Obviously, with my injury, it’s still going to take a little bit of time, but I’m healthy and ready to get back out on the field.”

Allen is a plus defender at shortstop who is capable of making highlight-reel plays. But because he was playing on the same team as 2018 draftee Jeremy Eierman, Allen, the organization’s third-round pick in 2017, had to slide over and play some second base as well.

“This year, I played with another really [good] shortstop in Stockton, so we switched off every, probably, third game,” Allen said. “Honestly, I played second growing up, too, and I like it just as much. Whatever I can do to stay on that field and contribute for my team.”

He’s well aware he needs to continue providing some offense in order to do that as an all-around big league regular. The 5-foot-9 southern California native has long heard the concerns about his ability to impact the baseball and has worked tirelessly to improve his offensive profile. The work was paying off before the injury and he’s looking forward to shaking off the rust and continuing those efforts in the AFL.

“I really worked hard in adding some strength this offseason and also just getting back to the basics, staying back and trusting my eyes and my hands a lot and that really helped me,” Allen said. “I just established a plan and approach, I think that really helped me this year, but I’m hoping to more define that and make that a part of my game so I can be an asset to any MLB team.”

A’s hitters in the AFL

Greg Deichmann, OF (A’s No. 17 prospect): The A’s took Deichmann out of LSU in the second round of the 2017 Draft hoping he’d be the kind of power college bat who could slug his way to the big leagues. Injuries have slowed him quite a bit as a wrist problem allowed him to play just 58 games in 2018 and he played in just 80 in 2019 because of a shoulder injury. The extra at-bats in the AFL should help him work on refining his approach at the plate so he can tap into his power more consistently, and he had homered twice in his first five games with Mesa.

Alfonso Rivas, 1B/OF (No. 25): Rivas lived up to his reputation as an advanced college hitter in his first full season of pro ball, hitting .283 with a .383 OBP in the California League, then jumped up to Triple-A for a PCL playoff run. The University of Arizona product can play both first and an outfield corner, though he’s been playing just the infield for Mesa.

A’s pitchers in the AFL

Brady Feigl, RHP (No. 28): The A’s fifth-round pick out of Mississippi in 2018, Feigl had a very strong first half (3.03 ERA) in the California League, but he faded in the second half (6.32 ERA). A solid strike-thrower, Feigl is pitching out of Mesa’s bullpen after logging 134 1/3 innings during the regular season.

Daniel Gossett, RHP: Gossett pitched his way to the big leagues in 2018, only to get shut down with an elbow strain in June that resulted in Tommy John surgery in August. His first two outings for Mesa this fall were the first competitive innings he’s thrown since surgery as he works towards once again being an option for the big league rotation.

Jhenderson Hurtado, LHP: It’s taken a while for Hurtado to gain any traction in the A’s system since signing back in February 2013. He spent three summers in the Dominican Summer League, then parts of three more with short-season Vermont and Class A Beloit, including in 2019, though he did jump up to Double-A to make a start at the end of the season. He’s both started and relieved in the past, but he’s been very effective so far coming out of the Mesa bullpen.

Jesus Zambrano, RHP: The undersized right-handed began his A’s career as a starter in 2013, but a move to the bullpen has really allowed him to take off. That was particularly true this past season as he pitched his way from the California League to the Double-A Texas League, finishing with combined 1.47 ERA. A strong Arizona Fall League could help him springboard to the big league pen at some point in 2020.