With Sunday marking the official end of Spring Training for the minor leaguers, InsidePitchMagazine…
Allen Taking the Next Step
Work defines Allen's attitude for the game. He is young and brings hunger to the ballpark each day. That determination guided him to a 1-1 record and 2.12 ERA with 45 strikeouts in the Gulf Coast League last season and he carried that ethic with him into his first camp.
"It's just baseball. It's the same work every day, going in there to work on fundamentals and working your tail off trying to make a club and showing them what you got," he said.
"That's what it's all about. I came in prepared and I guess they upgraded me after coming in there working hard day in and day out."
During camp, he focused on how to harness his competitive nature and strong arm. Last season, Allen, like many young pitchers upon entering professional baseball, sometimes let his emotions run too high and overextended himself by throwing too hard.
That did not cause any problems in rookie ball, but with a spot in Savannah his goal, Allen had to learn to manage his approach to maximize both his stamina and effectiveness. He worked very closely with pitching coach Rob Ellis last season in the GCL, during Instructs as well as camp and has quickly seen positive results.
"Last year, Rob Ellis taught me a lot about pitching specifically when it comes to thinking on the mound," he said. "When I first came into the organization, I was trying to throw as hard as I can and I was a little wild. Then I figured I can take it down a notch with the same competitiveness and with the same speed, hit my spots better and get the same results."
"I learned its best to not throw as hard as I can because I'm usually throwing harder when I'm not trying to. It's all about motion and release point."
As a 19-year-old pitching in A-ball, Allen will need to keep his strength for what figures to be about 125 innings in 2009. Always aggressive on the mound, the right-hander will be more measured while working through at-bats.
"I learned how important it is to keep my stamina and take it down a level in workouts and such to keep my stamina for the full season," he explained. "I need take something off during bullpens and warm-ups so I don't blow my arm out, I keep my arm healthy and keep it in shape throughout the season."
He will take that approach into his sophomore campaign which he hopes will be the launching point for the rest of his career.
"I'm just going in there and trying to work. I'm trying to making it to the big leagues. I don't just want get there, I want to make an impact," he closed.
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