Help on the way? Allen, Khrush on A's radar 

August 14th, 2021

ARLINGTON -- While the focus for most of the season has been on what the A’s have been doing at the big league level (as they find themselves in the middle of another playoff push), the organization recently generated some buzz at the Minor League level.

Thursday night saw the Triple-A Las Vegas debuts of shortstop Nick Allen and designated hitter Khris Davis, two intriguing players at clearly different points in their careers, yet hoping to carve out a path toward contributing in Oakland at some point in the 2021 season.

Allen is ranked as the A’s No. 3 prospect by MLB Pipeline behind left-handed flamethrower A.J. Puk, who was called back up to the Majors earlier this week, and catcher Tyler Soderstrom, the club’s first-round pick in the 2020 MLB Draft.

Fresh off capturing an Olympic silver medal with Team USA, Allen had a chance to show off the impressive defensive skills that have made him such a highly-touted prospect. His defense has already been deemed as “Major League-ready” by several scouts, and that prowess was confirmed with his showing in the Olympics that earned him Best Defensive Player as part of the All-Olympic Baseball team following the tournament’s conclusion.

“It’s very exciting,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said. “He came off something that ups the ante, as far as what you’ve experienced in the game. I never experienced that. Everybody that I talk to that has played for the country says it’s a one-of-a-kind-type thing. It’s probably deservedly so that he’s at Triple-A.”

Prior to Allen’s promotion, the 22-year-old shortstop had been quickly dispelling the concerns over whether his bat can get close to his defensive excellence. In 50 games at Double-A Midland this season, he slashed .319/.374/.471 with six homers, nine doubles, two triples and 31 RBIs.

“His glove has always been fantastic and can play in the big leagues right now,” Melvin said. “It’s all about getting his offense and a little bit more experience. The timing is really good for his first shot at Triple-A.”

Davis, 33, returned to the A’s on Aug. 4 on a Minor League deal and was promoted after spending some time with the team’s Rookie club in the Arizona Complex League. It wasn’t long ago that Davis was one of the premier sluggers in the game -- he led the Majors with 133 homers from 2016-18. After struggles following his offseason trade to Texas, where he hit just .157 with two home runs in 22 games before getting released, Davis is hoping to regain the form he displayed with the organization in which he enjoyed his most success.

Melvin said he kept an eye on Davis’ debut Thursday night. The DH went 2-for-4 with a double against the Tacoma Rainiers. Though there’s no guarantee Davis sees the Major Leagues this season, the A’s are hopeful for signs of a resurgent power stroke, which would dramatically increase his chances.

“It’s the bat and the power we’ve seen from him in the past,” Melvin said. “Sometimes you just need to get back to some of the performances that you’ve had in the past and it ignites something in you. I don’t think age is that big a deal with him, at this point. He was consistent for a long period and then had a period where he wasn’t and things fell off for him.

“Maybe being back with his old team and a couple of good games, who knows what can happen from there. There’s no timetable or plans, at this point, to get him here. But he wanted to play for us again, and we’re hoping that it goes well.”