Name: Matthew Allan
Weight: 225 lbs.
Acquired: 2019 MLB Draft, 3rd Round (Seminole High School, Florida)
2022 Stats: DNP
After helping lead Seminole High School to its first state championship since, Matthew Allan entered the draft ranked among the best prep pitchers in this year’s class. While not a complete unknown coming into the 2019 season, Matthew Allan wasn’t exactly at the top of the draft boards. Thanks to a strong showcase on the summer circuit in 2018 and then an excellent spring- which included a perfect game- Allan rocketed up the draft boards. While his talent on the mound was undeniable, a strong commitment to the University of Florida and other concerns scared teams away from drafting him in the early rounds of the 2019 MLB Draft. After Allan ended up going unselected on the first night of the 2019 MLB Draft, Marc Tramuta and Tommy Tanous had a long night ahead of them, making phone calls and carefully planning how they would navigate day two of the draft. When the it came the Mets’ turn to select when the second day of the draft began, they selected Allan with their third-round pick, the 89th selection overall. The Mets drafted inexpensive college seniors for the rest of day two in order to save money in their bonus pool, and the two sides eventually agreed to a $2.5 million signing bonus, well above the MLB-assigned slot value of $667,900.
The right-hander was assigned to the GCL Mets to start his professional career. There, he posted a 1.08 ERA in 8.1 innings, allowing 5 hits, walking 4, and striking out 11. Shortly after the GCL season came to a premature close due to the threat of Hurricane Dorian, the Mets promoted Allan to the Brooklyn Cyclones, to get him some more work and to help bolster the Cyclones’ pitching staff as they sought to secure a playoff spot. Allan debuted for the Cyclones against the Staten Island Yankees in their last series of the season, giving up two runs on five hits and a walk over two innings, striking out three. The Cyclones clinched a postseason berth a few days later, and Allan played an important role in their playoff run, throwing five perfect innings with two strikeouts in two multi-inning relief appearances, including the winner-take-all championship series game three. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, he did not get to play in 2020, but he was invited to the Coney Island alternate site and the fall instructional league, where he impressed many in the organization. Allan was due to return to Brooklyn in 2021, now the Mets’ High-A affiliate, but missed the entire season after it was announced in early May that he had partially tore his ulnar collateral ligament and needed Tommy John surgery. Just prior to the start of the 2022 season, Allan underwent ulnar transposition surgery, a common follow-up operation for those who have Tommy John. With a recovery of time between 3 to 6 before he would be able to return to baseball activities, the chance remained for Allan to pitch in 2022, but he did not, getting as far as throwing on flat ground by the time the season ended. In January, the right-hander underwent UCL revision surgery, in effect a second Tommy John.
Throwing from a three-quarters arm slot with a high leg kick, Allan has fluid, effortless mechanics and a strong, durable frame, which should allow him the ability to soak up innings in the future. At 6’3”, 225-pounds, he is mostly filled in, but there may still be a bit of room left in his frame to add muscle. He periodically has control problems related to his arm action in the back, but Allan is otherwise mechanically sound.
Before his Tommy John surgery, Allan’s fastball lived in the mid-90s, sitting 94-95 with the ability to top out a few miles per hour high, at 97 MPH. Combined with the arm-side run it had, the pitch was above-average, with the ability to improve. Once the right-hander returns from his Tommy John rehab, how effective this pitch is will depend on how much velocity he is able to throw it for and whether or not he will continue to be able to ramp it up and occasionally hit the upper-90s with it. Allan was able to command it well also, spotting it to all four quadrants of the strike zone.
Complementing his fastball was a curveball and changeup, the former of which is his best offering at present. Sitting in the high-70s-to-low-70s with sharp 11-5 break, Allan’s curveball was one of the best in the entire 2019 MLB Draft class. He had an excellent feel for it and is able to command it, peppering it in the strike zone and burying it to get batters fishing. Like his fastball, the pitch was an above-average offering at the present, with the potential to improve. A pitcher’s ability to spin a breaking ball generally returns slower than his other pitches after undergoing Tommy John surgery, so how effective his curve is when he returns to the mound and additional refinements to it will be key to his development. Rounding out his arsenal, his changeup lagged behind his other pitches in its effectiveness, but it showed considerable promise. Sitting 85-87 MPH, when the pitch was working, it featured arm-side tumble and fade; when it was not, it was firm and lost most of its vertical drop but still maintained an effective velocity differential.
Matthew Allan will be coming into his age 22 season with a total of 15.1 short-season innings under his belt, having missed all of 2020 due to COVID, all of 2021 due to Tommy John surgery, and all of 2022 due to a related follow-up procedure. If everything went right and if his fastball is about where it was in 2019, his curveball still has that plus potential, and his changeup still shows promise, the sky’s the limit, but that’s a lot of ifs. I don’t want to say it’s unlikely, because Zack Wheeler, Jacob deGrom, and Steven Matz all had similar paths to the majors, but I have my doubts at this point.
I don’t know what to write here at this point. Allan seems to be on track to be the latest in a long line of troubling or outright-failed Tommy John recoveries for the Mets. That he wasn’t even ready to get some innings in for the AFL- and that we didn’t even hear a whisper of such a possibility- speaks volumes. Hopefully Allan can get back on the mound and show some of the upside that made him such an exciting draft pick or he’ll likely be off this list next year.
2022 was another lost year for Allan, as setbacks delayed his return to action after Tommy John surgery in May 2021. At this point, merely returning to the mound in competitive games after three years away would be a massive success. While his stuff was electric before going under the knife, we will have to wait and see how his stuff looks after all of this time away. In the meantime, I am going to continue to dream on Allan returning with the elite stuff that made him such an exciting prospect out of the 2019 draft, at least until I see otherwise with my own eyes.
Oh, Matthew Allan. He was the clear top pitching prospect in the system the moment the Mets drafted him, but a horrible and lengthy Tommy John surgery and recovery cost him two seasons. He’s basically a complete unknown now. We simply haven’t seen him pitch in so long, it’s hard to know if anything we saw before the surgery—which was genuinely exciting—is still there. He’s maybe the most intriguing prospect in the system because of this.