The San Diego Padres have recalled Austin Allen from the minor leagues to take a place on the roster for an injured Francisco Mejia.
However, with Mejia set to hit the 10-Day IL with a left knee sprain, the club decided to bring up the St.Loius-born catcher to show Andy Green and company what he can do at the Major League level.
Allen joins a bonanza of Padres prospects who will be making his Major League debut in 2019. Already, the Friars have seen Fernando Tatis Jr., Chris Paddack, Cal Quantrill, Nick Margevicius, Pedro Avilla, Gerardo Reyes, and Ty France get their first taste of The Show. Only the Seattle Mariners, with six players, have as many as the Padres now eight rookies to make their debut.
Allen, who was a fourth-round pick out of Florida Tech in the 2015 MLB Draft, is the 19th-ranked prospect in the Padres system according to MLB Pipeline. Allen mashed his way through the minors as he never posted a full-season average below .280 or a full-season on-base percentage below .350. His last two years in Lake Elsinore and San Antonio saw Allen unlock his true power potential, mashing 22 home runs in 2017 and 2018
The #Padres have placed C Francisco Mejía on the 10-day IL with a left knee sprain and recalled C Austin Allen from Triple-A El Paso. Allen will wear No. 62
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) May 11, 2019
At Triple-A El Paso, Allen had been hitting .279/.358/.529 with six home runs and 16 RBI. While his skills with the bat are unquestionable, it is his defensive skill behind the plate that raises questions. While many in the Padres’ front office are happy with how his receiving skills have advanced, he need work controlling the basepaths. In four seasons in the minors, baserunners have swiped approximately four of every five bags against Allen.
For now, he will replace Mejia as the backup option behind Hedges. Mejia was hitting .167/.207/.259 with 18 strikeouts in only 58 at-bats. His framing skills have vastly improved since last year, and he still possesses a cannon of an arm behind the dish, but his struggles with the bat are worrying, to say the least.
It is unknown how long Mejia will be on the injured list, but a job in the Major Leagues is Allen’s for the taking as long as he brings his powerful bat to the big leagues while showing improvements in the defensive aspect of the game.