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The growing legend of Greg Allen

Before the Twitter Army freaks out – yes, I understand that Greg Allen is not a Hank Aaron caliber legend.

What Allen has done however, is bring the spiraling Yankees back to semi relevance. This 2021 version of the “next man up” Yankees has been an absolute breath of fresh air to the mundane, monotonous, home run or bust offense. Leading the pack of the base stealing, sac fly hitting, team-first Scranton Yankees? Gregory Lomack Allen.

Where did our new superstar come from? Surely we had to trade a hefty package for a 28 year old slashing .417/.500/.750 with 3 stolen bases in his first 5 games right? Wrong. After being shipped to the Padres last summer, and being DFA’d this spring, Cashman acquired Greg Allen for just James Reeves.

After a truly disgusting slew of injuries, Allen finally has his chance to prove he belongs. The only question that remains is, can he stick? Let’s take a deep dive into his metrics to A) appreciate him temporarily saving us and B) see if this is sustainable.

Hitting

So far in a small sample size, Allen is tearing the cover off the ball and getting on base at a .500 clip. Through five games, he is 5-12 with 2 doubles, 1 triple, and 3 walks. For reference, only 6 triples have been hit this entire season, good for dead last in the entire league. It’s the hustle that stands out for me. There is not a single “regular” that I can picture in my head thinking 3 out of the box. Greg Allen is looking for that on every single ball hit to the outfield.

Now the $570,500 question. Is there any reason for us to believe that this is sustainable? In five partial seasons in the big leagues, Allen is slashing a pedestrian .243/.304/.351. The glaring issue here is clearly his SLG%. .351 is obviously not going to get it done when the Major League average is hovering around .430. His expected stats unfortunately suggest that this is lack of power is for real, with his expected SLG% at .339 for his career thus far.

What Allen does possess, however, is the ability to hit for average and get on base. His expected batting average routinely hovers around .250 and his expected on base in the low .300s. No, this is not superstar level stuff, however, this convinces me that he can at minimum be a solid bench piece. Moreover, with his ability to switch hit and with the speed to leg out extra bases, there is optimism that with consistent ABs, he could potentially land a starting gig somewhere – even if it’s not the Yankees.

The verdict. Obviously, he is not going to keep hitting at his current level. However, even with his expected stats suggesting offensive regression, he has just enough to suggest that he can be a Major League contributor.

Base running

Here is where Greg Allen is winning over our hearts. It feels like every night, Allen is stealing bases and taking the extra base on any hit to the outfield. Through his first 5 games, Allen has 3 stolen bases. For the SEASON, the yankees have 23 total. Only DJ and Gleyber have more than him from our “regulars”.

Let’s take this a step further like we did with his hitting. Metrics absolutely love Greg Allen’s speed and baserunning ability. Baseball Savant has Allen in the top 25% in the league in sprint speed at 29.1 ft/s. For comparison, Byron Buxton, the golden boy of the sprint speed metrics, only rates 0.9 ft/s faster than our guy.

Furthermore, Allen ranks in the top 20 in both position and age statistics for his running, suggesting that he is not going anywhere in this department. For his age, Allen has ranked inside the top 10 twice, 11, and 12 in sprint speed. It is not far-fetched to make the claim that Greg Allen is an elite base runner with top tier MLB speed.

The verdict. Buy, buy, and buy some more. If nothing else, Allen’s ability to run with the best in the league is going to keep him around the game for a long time. *See Billy Hamilton*

Just wow.

Fielding

Fielding is a bit tricky to judge since he is an outfielder and has only had a few opportunities. What I can say with confidence though, is that I’m not sweating every single fly ball to the outfield anymore. No offense to Andujar, but it’s certainly refreshing to not see my left fielder chasing his tail on a routine ball to the outfield.

Surprisingly, metrics actually favor Greg Allen slightly. Just watching him on TV, it seems like he has a tendency to get a late jump at times on line drives. According to Baseball Savant though, Allen actually is responsible for 3 outs above average – putting him ahead of coveted trade pieces, Starling Marte and Whit Merrifield.

Throughout his brief career, Allen has excelled in fly ball added success compared to expected success. While the eye test is moderately accurate on his jumps, he actually hovers right about league average there as well. Couple average jumps with elite speed, and you have a solid major league outfielder.

The verdict. Sustainable. Look, I’m not asking nor expecting a gold glove out of Greg Allen. All we as fans should expect is a solid fielder who can get to some balls. Greg Allen is true Major League outfielder. He possesses all of the tools necessary to succeed at all 3 positions, and I fully expect him to do so.

In conclusion

Greg Allen has been nothing short of electric through his first 5 games as a Yankee. He’s provided a post all-star break spark that, no exaggeration, could potentially save the 2021 season. He’s not going to be a 1.250 OPS guy for the rest of his career, but he has the potential to be a solid player for a long time. Not to mention, who are the Indians to tell us a guy can’t hit? Gio Urshela, the Indians last “disposable, glove-only” player would like a word. I’m not saying that Allen is the next Gio by any means, but there’s no reason to believe that he can’t be a solid rotational outfielder for years to come.

Show some support in our next home-stand for our July hero and pack the stadium with these bad boys.