Nick Allen has had a reputation as being one of the better defensive prospects in baseball since he was drafted, so it is no surprise to see him named the A's top defensive prospect going into 2021 by MLB.com.
Allen, the A's No. 4 prospect overall, came to the organization out of high school as a glove-first player. But he gradually has improved his game offensively, and hit .292 over 244 at-bats in 2019 playing with the Stockton Ports in Single-A.
A third-round pick by the A's back in 2017, Allen also was a midseason All-Star with the Ports in 2019.
He recently spoke to MLB Pipeline's Jonathan Mayo about how his work over the summer at the A's alternate site camp helped him.
"I thought last year, the 2020 season, being at the alternate site, I just learned so much," Allen said. "You didn't get a lot of at-bats, but you got to face a lot of pitchers that have stuff at the higher levels and really know how to command their pitches and sequences.
"For me, I developed in that aspect. How to step in the box, how to formulate a game plan ... that's really where I developed a lot."
It remains to be seen whether the A's will be bringing Marcus Semien back in free agency, but we might not be too far away from seeing the 22-year-old Allen getting a chance to earn a spot on the big-league roster.
Robert Puason also is a shortstop and is the A's No. 2 prospect overall, but the 18-year-old likely is at least a few years away from MLB action.