The Mets’ top pitching prospect enters spring training with hopes of learning as much as possible before attempting to tackle full-season ball.
The cancellation of the 2020 Minor League Baseball season brought with it a year’s worth of lost development for virtually all of affiliated baseball. While no competitive games were played between minor league teams, many of the Mets’ top prospects found ways to get meaningful practice reps in at the team’s alternate site in Coney Island. Among the most noteworthy of these prospects was right-handed pitcher Matthew Allan, the team’s second best prospect and top pitching prospect. Allan reportedly impressed during his time at the alternate site during the 2020 season, and the Mets invited him to spring training in 2021 with an eye towards making up for development time lost last season.
Considered one of the top prep pitching prospects in the 2019 MLB Draft, the Mets drafted Allan in the third round of the draft, despite a first round signing bonus demand, and a strong commitment to go to college and pitch for the University of Florida. To meet Allan’s signing bonus demands, the Mets restructured their entire draft strategy, drafting inexpensive college seniors in rounds four through twelve in order to save enough money to offer Allan a well above-slot bonus to turn pro.
They assigned him to the Gulf Coast League to begin his professional career, and Allan generally performed well during his time in the complex. He appeared in five games for the GCL Mets, with a 1.08 ERA, 11 strikeouts, and four walks across 8.1 innings pitched. Allan’s performance in the complex compelled the Mets to promote him to help the Short-A Brooklyn Cyclones on their push to the New York Penn League playoffs. Allan started one game for the Cyclones during the regular season, giving up two runs on five hits and one walk, with three strikeouts in two innings of work. While Allan struggled a bit during his lone appearance during the regular season, Allan excelled for the Cyclones during two relief appearances during the playoffs. Allan threw five scoreless innings over two appearances during the playoffs, including three perfect innings of relief to help seal the Cyclones’ 2019 NYPL Championship victory.
Allan spent the 2020 season at the Mets’ alternate site and his performance there reportedly showcased the impressive repertoire and mechanics that compelled the Mets to draft him. Allan has a prototypical starter’s build, and fluid mechanics that should help him hold up under a starter’s workload. Allan features an above-average fastball that sits in the mid-90s with life and a high spin rate. He pairs that with a plus curveball that sits in the high-70s to low-80s and extremely sharp 11-5 movement and a changeup that sits in the mid-to-high-80s and has the potential to develop into an above average third pitch.
Eager to help the young right hander make up for a lost 2020 season of development, the Mets invited Allan to spring training in 2021. While Allan’s lack of professional experience gives him next to no chance at factoring into the Mets’ plans in 2021, time in the complex presents an exceptional learning opportunity. The Mets have repeatedly paired Allan with ace Jacob deGrom during drills early on in spring, with hopes that the youngster will learn from interacting and emulating the best pitcher in the organization. Once spring training ends and the team heads north, Allan figures to be headed to head to either Single-A or Advanced-A once the minor league season begins.