All throughout this season one of the biggest questions surrounding this Indians team has been their outfield. Can they produce enough outside of Michael Brantley? Are they going to be able to be consistent at the plate and in the field? The questions grew exceptionally larger when Bradley Zimmer had arthroscopic surgery on his right shoulder to repair the labrum that would sideline him for 8-12 months. Many believed the Indians now needed to make a big move to fill this hole in the outfield, but in typical Indians fashion, they were able to find the replacement in their own farm system.
Greg Allen has made a name for himself in the Indians farm system the past few seasons, mainly from his stellar defense and speed on the basepaths. After the injury to Zimmer, Allen was given his shot to make an impact for this Indians team, and after a slow start, he’s finally been able to become a key contributor to this playoff-bound team.
Allen just recently came off of a career-high 14 game hit streak that helped him become a national name with several hits coming against the Boston Red Sox. He’s raised his season batting average to .255 to go along with two home runs and 11 RBI. He’s also has been able to steal 13 bases and make web gem catches nearly every single night. With the recent emergence of Allen, it now leads to the question of what to do with Zimmer?
Zimmer really struggled at the plate this season in his 24 games before heading to the disabled list. On the year Zimmer was batting .226 with two home runs and nine RBI. His defense remained top notch, but his inability to get on base (.281 OBP) led to fewer opportunities to steal bases leaving him with just four. He also didn’t necessarily stand out during his first season up batting .241 with eight home runs and 39 RBI in 101 games last season. Zimmer hadn’t been living up to the hype of a top overall prospect and with his injury history.
Allen may now have taken over as the Indians center fielder of the future.
Overall, there’s still more to be desired at the plate from both players, although power is probably never going to be something either player thrives in. Currently, though, Allen has proved to be the more consistent hitter and faster player on the base paths. While both are top notch fielders, Zimmer’s struggles at the plate and injuries give Allen the advantage. If Allen is able to continue to take advantage of his time at the major league level and maybe even be an impactful player this postseason, there may not even need to be a position battle between the two next season.
Follow the author: @DanLukas12
Image courtesy of waitingfornextyear.com