The Texans Rangers have a new prospect in town. The Rangers traded away a talented reliever in Chris Martin, but got a great return in Kolby Allard. Per MLB.com, Allard was the 10th-best prospect in Atlanta’s system and already has some limited major league experience. He should be ready to help out sooner rather than later, so let’s take a look at what Texas has in Allard.
Left-Handed Pitcher Kolby Allard Scouting Report
Kolby Allard is a smart pitcher who knows exactly how to get the most out of his pitch tool. According to MLB Pipeline, Allard has “pitched well at pretty much every stop in the minors” and notably made his major league debut before turning 21. Even though it was just a spot start, that’s still remarkable for a starting pitcher. Throughout the course of his minor league career, Allard owns a 3.23 ERA and a 3.54 FIP in 466.0 innings of work.
Allard initially joined the professional ranks as the 14th overall pick in the 2015 June Amateur Draft. Allard played up to that selection, making it to AAA after just two full years in the system. He managed to do all this despite not having the most impressive pitch tool.
Allard features an 88-93 fastball with unremarkable spin or movement. He compliments this offering with a plus changeup and curveball, and each pitch is made better by his borderline elite command. While his walk rate is higher than you’d expect from a command-based pitcher, the reason for that is he refuses to leave pitches over the middle. Allard lives and dies by the corner of the plate, which is what you want in a pitcher who lacks elite velocity.
Allard dominated the lower minors but has struggled in 2019. The lefty spent the 2018 season in AAA, posting a 2.72 ERA and a 3.40 FIP in 112.1 innings. On the surface, these numbers implied that Allard could be a major league mainstay in 2019. However, he only struck out 7.13 batters per nine innings while allowing 2.72 walks per nine.
Allard repeated AAA in 2019 and had even worse numbers through his first 20 starts. Pitching in 110.0 innings, Allard posted an underwhelming 4.17 ERA and a 4.67 FIP. While he improved his strikeout rate (8.02 K/9), his walk rate also increased to 2.95 batters per nine innings. As previously mentioned, Allard doesn’t project as a player who can win with his stuff alone. The lefty has a limited margin for error and will need to improve his control such that major league hitters won’t be able to tee off on his relatively pedestrian fastball.
Allard is still a starting pitcher, but he might have to move to the bullpen at the major league level. No matter where he ends up, this was a fantastic trade for Texas. Chris Martin only had one year remaining on his contract, and the Rangers got a possible cost-controlled starting pitcher out of half a season of service.
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