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A's prospect Allen likes to watch two rival infielders originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea
Athletics No. 3 prospect Nick Allen has had a busy couple of months.
After returning from the Tokyo 2020 Olympics with a silver medal in hand, the shortstop immediately was promoted to Triple-A Las Vegas after hitting .319/.374/.471 with 66 hits and 32 RBI in Double-A.
His defense easily is the best part of his overall game, and it’s a couple of AL West rivals on the Los Angeles Angels who he enjoys watching when he gets the chance.
“I really like David Fletcher,” Allen told NBC Sports California's Jim Kozimor and Dontrelle Willis on Monday. “I know he’s not really a shortstop, but he’s just a guy that really puts the bat to the ball. [José] Iglesias, I’ve been told it’s a little bit of a [comparison] for me, but there’s a lot of good players. I watch a little bit of baseball, I don’t watch too much because obviously, we’re playing, but those are two guys I really like to watch if I’m able to watch.”
Being compared to Iglesias is a compliment in and of itself. Back in June, against the A’s in one inning, Iglesias showed off some series defensive skills. In one of the plays alone, he wasn’t even looking.
As for Fletcher -- if there’s one player any mid-infielder should hope to emulate, it would be him. His defense is respectable, but if you ask any pitcher that has to face him, Fletcher is a headache. He can hit anything, and Allen’s bat has become more and more apparent each time he approaches the plate.
“Yeah, he could flat out hit,” Double-A Midland manager and former A’s shortstop Bobby Crosby told NBC Sports California earlier this month.
Allen’s Team USA teammate, veteran third baseman Todd Frazier, even compared Allen to Philadelphia Phillies' shortstop Didi Gregorius.
Allen, 22, was drafted in the third round of the 2017 MLB Draft out of Parker High School in San Diego. That meant he found himself watching Padres games. For six seasons, it was Khalil Greene at shortstop who made the defensive gems.
“I grew up in San Diego so a couple years there was Khalil Greene, I liked to watch him at shortstop I thought he was a fantastic shortstop and just made all those highlight plays and that’s something I just went out in the backyard and threw balls against the wall and try to make,” Allen said.
“I think growing up, I didn’t really didn’t know and try to emulate after really anyone. I just kind of took bits and pieces of different players and just tried to formulate who I was -- that’s really it. I really liked Dustin Pedroia, but I just tried to add little bits and pieces of different players.”
Anyone you talk to about Allen who gets to watch him play compares him to one of the more prominent infielders in the game. He looks to eventually take over at shortstop for the A’s, and that chance could come sooner than later.