No. 3 prospect Allen on Team USA roster

July 3rd, 2021

OAKLAND -- will take a pause from his tear through the Minor Leagues in order to showcase his talents on the world stage.

Allen, rated Oakland’s No. 3 prospect by MLB Pipeline, will be representing the United States in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. The shortstop was included on the 25-man roster that was announced on Friday by USA Baseball, which will be managed by longtime Angels manager Mike Scioscia.

“Anytime you have an opportunity to do that, you need to,” A’s manager Bob Melvin said of Allen making the team. “I know our organization was all for it. He’ll continue his development there, but now it’ll be on a different stage and puts a little bit more of a spotlight on him.

“It’s nice to represent your country. That’s an honor you should be very proud of. Few guys get to do that. We’ll be watching.”

Allen has long been considered one of the premier defensive players at any position in the Minors, entering the 2021 campaign ranked as the top defensive shortstop prospect in baseball. His slick glovework, which has left the A’s big league staff in awe over the past couple of Spring Trainings, allows him to make difficult plays look routine, with scouts declaring his defense as “Major League-ready” right now.

The final phase of Allen’s development has been a fine-tuning of his approach at the plate. The defense is always going to be his shining quality, but the A’s believe he also possesses the tools necessary to develop into a quality hitter at the plate.

Improvement in the hitting department for Allen has been evident so far this season. With his recent 15-game hitting streak coming to an end on Thursday, the 22-year-old entered Friday batting .333 in 38 games for Double-A Midland, with his five homers already a career high. His 25 RBIs were also just nine away from his career-best mark of 34.

A continuation of Allen’s rapid success at Double-A could lead to a quick promotion to Triple-A Las Vegas, putting him in position for a callup to Oakland as soon as this September. Whenever that time comes, Allen and two-time Platinum Glove Award winner Matt Chapman could combine for some serious defensive wizardry on the left side of the A’s infield.

“Defensively, there are few around baseball as good as him,” Melvin said of Allen. “He’s got the flair for the dramatic at the position. Certain guys are fundamentally sound and do their job. He has that extra level that allows him to make spectacular plays. At some point, we’re going to see it up here. He’s one of the guys we expect to be at the big league level for a long time.

USA Baseball will begin the group stage of the Olympics in Group B along with Korea and Israel. Group play begins on July 28, with the United States opening up against Israel at Yokohama Stadium on July 30.