Logan Allen Adjusts, But Not Seamlessly
As expected, the home run numbers at Triple-A have ticked up with the big league baseball in play. The effect on lefthander Logan Allen’s stuff in the early going was a bit more nuanced as he searched for the right feel with the new ball’s smaller seams.
"It was my focal point,” Allen said. "My split-changeup last year, I could literally throw it to (the batter's) chest and drop it to their knees. The big laces helped. Now I have to have a smaller visual point, a little more pinpoint control so I don’t leave the ball up.”
The 21-year-old Allen was learning the hard way at El Paso.
The Double-A Texas League pitcher of the year in 2018, Allen had an outside chance to win a rotation spot this spring after receiving his first invitation to big league camp.
One problem: Allen noticed the difference in the ball immediately.
"I knew I was going to have to make an adjustment,” Allen said. "I just had a hard time figuring out what that adjustment was going to be.”
Allen allowed 13 earned runs in 9.1 Cactus League innings and 11 more in his first two starts (five innings) in the Pacific Coast League. Compounding his trouble was an ill-advised decision to essentially shelve his changeup as he worked through the adjustment in side sessions.
"I used my changeup a lot to change speeds and have that real pitch differential,” Allen said. "I wasn't throwing it in games and I was wondering why I was getting hit."
He wasn't changing speeds enough, prompting him to reintroduce his changeup in games.
"Even if it was not as good as it was, I was still getting swings and misses. I was still getting weak contact—and that set up all my other pitches.”
The tinkering seemed to work.
Allen recorded a 1.74 ERA in his next six starts while striking out 28 and walking eight in 25.2 innings.
Caveat: Allen left his May 11 start after being struck in the left arm by a comebacker in the first inning.
— The Padres placed lefthander Ryan Weathers on the injured list at low Class A Fort Wayne at the end of April. It was a precautionary move for the 2018 first-rounder as he contended with a bout of dead arm. The 19-year-old went 2-0, 1.82 ERA, with 31 strikeouts and three walks in 24.2 innings to start the year.
— Fort Wayne second baseman Xavier Edwards, a supplemental first-rounder last June, was leading the Midwest League with a .366 average through his first 35 games. He also ranked among the league leaders with a .428 on-base percentage and 11 steals.