Blake Allemand Joins ‘From Phenom To The Farm:’ Episode 57

Image credit: Mike Janes/Four Seam Images

From pretty much the moment he picked up a baseball bat, Blake Allemand wanted to play for Texas A&M, his parents’ alma mater.

As he entered his freshman year at Champion High School in Boerne, TX, Allemand’s ultimate goal was getting the Aggies to notice him, with an obvious hurdle being that in that freshman year of high school he was barely five feet, five inches—not the type of player who would physically stand out at the numerous A&M baseball camps he’d attend.

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Allemand knew he shouldn’t expect much more in the height department (he’d round out his playing career checking in at five foot, nine inches) and set out to parlay a strong work ethic and athleticism into being the type of player they’d want on campus in College Station.

“At the plate, I thought I had pretty good power for my size,” said Allemand. “Something I’ve tried to do is be very self-aware of what I am as a player and what my strengths are, what my weaknesses are, and try to be the best player I can be as far as my skill set.”

His skill set played fine in high school, to say the least. All-Area as a junior and the San Antonio Express-News Player of the Year as a senior, Allemand showed enough on the field to be offered a preferred walk-on spot by then-A&M head coach Rob Childress. He enrolled in school during the fall of 2011, ready to take on the next level of baseball at his dream school.

Initially, things didn’t go great. A&M fielded a pitching staff with multiple future big league arms, and the switch-hitting Allemand spent all fall overmatched at either side of the plate.

“My freshman fall was really bad,” said Allemand. “I think I hit about .100 in forty at-bats, I made about eight or nine errors—I was just mentally sped up, overwhelmed.”

Allemand left College Station after the first semester with quite the forewarning from the Aggie coaching staff—pick up the pace on the field, or head to junior college after the spring for some seemingly needed experience.

“I went home for Christmas break and had a look in the mirror moment,” said Allemand. “I came to a realization—that was on me being nervous and making it bigger than what it is.”

The mental readjustment paid off in spades. Allemand didn’t leave A&M—he didn’t even get redshirted. Instead he started 47 games, mostly at third base. He’d wind up a four-year starter in College Station, spending his first three seasons rotating around the infield before slotting in as A&M’s starting shortstop during his senior season—a year in which he’d slash .339/.430/.506 with seven homers (including two in a single SEC Tournament game off eventual 1st round pick Carson Fulmer).

The Brewers paid Allemand $40,000 as a 5th round senior sign in the 2015 draft (a bonus he didn’t during his playing career, subsidizing his MiLB salaries by coaching and giving lessons in the offseason) and sent him out to short-season ball in Helena, Montana. He’d need to repeat the

same trajectory as he had early in his college career, as being a senior sign often can carry even fewer chances than being a walk-on.

Allemand had to revert back to a utility role, and make himself useful, especially after the GM that drafted him, Doug Melvin, retired that same summer and a new regime took over.

“I don’t think I ever was really in their plans in a sense so I had an uphill battle my whole minor league career in terms of having to fight my way in through lineups and take every advantage as I could” said Allemand. “You put a lot of pressure on yourself knowing ‘OK, I’ve got one start this week, I gotta do something with it.’”

Allemand continued to fight his way into lineups, playing all over the infield, until he reached Triple-A San Antonio in 2019. While playing in his hometown had perks (like saving on rent by living with his folks), the on-field aspect proved to be a trying time—in 50 games with San Antonio, Allemand netted just 85 plate appearances, and spent a portion of the season alternating on and off the “phantom” disabled list. Not only was he not starting, in many games he wasn’t even on the active roster.

“That was probably the most mentally challenging year of my baseball life,” said Allemand. “Having friends and family coming up saying ‘Hey we’re going to come see you play’ and telling them ‘Well, I’m not playing.’”

In 2020 Allemand would then head to independent ball, first with the Chicago Dogs of the American Association, then rounding out his career in 2021 playing with the Lancaster Barnstormers of the Atlantic League, spending what would be his final season as professional doing what he loved most—finding a way onto the field, netting over 700 plate appearances in just 161 independent ball games.

On our latest episode of ‘From Phenom to the Farm,’ former Texas A&M standout and Brewers farmhand Blake Allemand joins to talk incorporating switch-hitting in high school, life playing in the SEC, and the mentality of a minor league utility player.

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