The Atlanta Braves farm system used to be a source of pride in the glory days of the franchise. Fast forward to the early 2010’s and the farm system that once pumped out prospect after prospect became barren as the Braves opted to sign players to big contracts instead of develop their own home-grown talent. Namely those big contracts came in the form of Dan Uggla, (then BJ) Melvin Upton Jr, and Chris Johnson just to name a few. Now fast forward to the middle of the 2010’s and the Braves new regime of front office management, led by President of Baseball Operations John Hart and General Manager John Coppolella, and it has become very evident that the front office once to return the farm system to the power it once was. The front office has loaded up on young pitching to revive the farm system through a myriad of trades and drafting young pitchers as well. Today this article will focus on 2015 1st round draft pick, lefty Kolby Allard.
Allard was drafted 14th overall by the Braves in the 2015 MLB Draft. Many considered this pick a steal, as Allard suffered a “stress reaction” in his back in March 2015, that sidelined him for eight weeks. Nevertheless the Braves saw the upside in Allard and selected him with their 1st round selection.
Coming out of San Clemente High School (CA), Allard started three games with the rookie league GCL Braves. In those three starts, Allard had a 0.00 ERA and a 0.17 WHIP to go along with 12 Ks and zero walks. Albeit, he did this in just six innings of work (stats according to milb.com)
Allard then had surgery to fix that stress reaction in his back during the off-season, which made him miss the first two months of the season. Through three starts this season, Allard is 0-2 with a 8.25 ERA, a 1.67 WHIP, and an opponent’s batting average of .314. All this has been done through 12 innings pitched.
Allard is too good of a young pitcher to consistently post these type of numbers. These numbers are more than likely due to the fact that Allard had not pitched in a game in over a year, so he was probably rusty in those starts. His fastball consistently sits in the 92-95 MPH range while topping out at 96-97 MPH. Allard also posses a power curve that he can bury into the strike zone to either get batters to roll over or to chase it out of the zone or in the dirt for a strikeout. A change-up rounds out the arsenal for Allard, albeit he change does need some more development. Scouts have noted that Allard’s command is one of the very best in the minor leagues. Expect Allard to take a few years to get to the show, due to the facts of his injury history, his body needs to fill out as he listed a 6’1 180 pounds, and that he is still raw in his development as a left-handed pitcher. Scouts compared Allard to MLB great, Cliff Lee, due to his deception and the life of his fastball. If that comparison holds, Allard should become an anchor in the Braves rotation that hopes to rival the rotations of the 90’s and early 2000’s, which is considered by many one of the top rotations of all time. So if that happens, watch out MLB prepared to be taken over by the Atlanta Braves.