Top prospect Allen set to make MLB debut Sunday

April 21st, 2023

CLEVELAND -- The Guardians’ rotation plans are set:  is scheduled to make his Major League debut on Sunday against the Marlins. Now, the weather just needs to cooperate.

Rain is in the forecast for each day of the Guardians’ three-game series against Miami this weekend, but Allen, the team’s No. 8 prospect (according to MLB Pipeline), has been informed he’ll get the ball for the series finale on Sunday. The plan would be for him to join the team on Saturday and officially be activated before his start the following day. Friday’s postponement shouldn’t change these plans.

“This is the beginning of that next wave that we can hope can impact us and help us win,” Guardians manager Terry Francona said.

Allen is one of a handful of hurlers who have already caught the attention of the fan base this season. Between him and with Triple-A Columbus and with Double-A Akron, the pitching pipeline seems to be stacked yet again. And Allen certainly earned this call up.

Allen thrived in Double-A last year, but struggled when he was promoted to Columbus, owning a 6.49 ERA in 14 starts. When he came back this year, those struggles were put behind him.

In three starts for Columbus this season, the lefty gave up two runs in 14 1/3 innings with 20 strikeouts and five walks, holding opponents to a .189 average. He entered Spring Training having put on a few pounds of muscle, boasting a heater that was averaging a tick or two higher velocity than it had last year.

Here’s what our experts at MLB Pipeline had to say about Cleveland’s No. 8 prospect:

“His low-80s changeup remains his best pitch, with fade and sink that make it effective against left-handers and right-handers. He has increased the sweep on his low-80s slider, which has become a solid offering, and he has begun morphing it into a mid-80s cutter on occasion.”

That sweep has paid off thus far.

If you haven’t heard about the new trend among professional pitchers, there’s a pitch called a “sweeper” that has become popular to throw. It’s similar to a slider, but with a tremendous amount of horizontal movement. In his last two outings with Columbus, Allen’s sweeper has induced plenty of whiffs. On 14 swing attempts on April 11, eight resulted in swings and misses. In his last time out, he caused batters to whiff on all six swings they made against the offering.

Allen was scheduled to make his next start on Saturday with Columbus. With a few extra hours of rest (again, weather-permitting), he’ll instead toe the rubber at Progressive Field, replacing , who was optioned earlier this week. The Guardians will have to determine how they’ll get Allen on the 40-man roster, which could include designating backstop  for assignment after the team decided to open the year with three catchers on its active roster.

In the meantime, the Guardians can prepare to see the next generation of young starters who are reminding everyone that the Cleveland Pitching Factory is still in full force.

“I do think when kids come to the Major Leagues, you have to set some expectations that his first five innings aren’t going to define his career,” Francona said. “But I think there’s so much to like about him that it’s going to be fun to watch his progression.”