Allen's AFL Swoon Doesn't Faze Diamondbacks
PHOENIX—As former major league manager Felipe Alou used to tell his scouts, "If you've seen it once, you know it is in there."
And the Diamondbacks have seen Brandon Allen's powerful upside more than once—he had a single in his major league debut Aug. 22, an RBI in his second game, a home run in his fifth and a three-hit game in his sixth. All that after hitting 12 homers in 38 games at Triple-A Reno following his acquisition from the White Sox in early July.
That is why the Diamondbacks are not fretting about Allen's slide in the Arizona Fall League, and why they still feel him to be the most legitimate candidate for their first base job in 2010.
The 6-foot-2, 235-pound Allen had 11 hits in his first 41 at-bats in the AFL, with a home run and nine RBIs, before enduring an 0-for-25 streak that began after a three-hit game Oct. 24.
"It's nothing to be alarmed about," farm director Mike Berger said. "All good hitters figure it out eventually. He's feeling himself out offensively. His power is obviously there, but he is not going to the off-gap with authority the way he did in the past. It's a simple fix."
Allen, 23, has shown flashes of the player who was a combined .298/.373/.503 with 20 home runs in three minor league stops last summer before going .202/.284/.385 with four homers in 104 at-bats in a six-week look in the majors.
"He's no different than any other guy who walks to home plate," Berger said. "You experience everything going right—being locked in, hitting your pitch, laying off the pitches that are not where you have the best chance to hit them. Right now, he is in more of a defensive posture and working his way back into a comfortable rhythm."
Allen, who was acquired from the White Sox for reliever Tony Pena last July, drew a walk off Stephen Strasburg in the 2009 No. 1 pick's AFL debut Oct. 16 and has shown good strike-zone awareness, with 18 walks in 18 games. Despite his low batting average, he has a .345 on-base percentage.
• Former major league righthander Gil Heredia has been named the pitching coach at Rookie-level Missoula for 2010, replacing Steve Merriman, who took a job with the major league scouting bureau. Heredia worked with short-season Yakima's pitching staff in 2009.
• Scottsdale shortstop Pedro Ciriaco got off to a hot start in the AFL, getting 14 hits in his first 42 at-bats. Ciriaco, 24, had four multiple-hit games, including three three-hit games, with three doubles and three stolen bases.