Sunday, September 10, 2023

Not That Logan Allen


Last year, the Guardians had two Oscars that filled similar roles. This year, it's Logan Allens.

In 2019, as part of the massive trade that brought Trevor Bauer to Cincinnati and Yasiel Puig to Cleveland that we all thought would have deeper ramifications than it actually did, the Padres sent a rookie left-handed pitcher named Logan Allen to the Guardians. He didn't get much use in the 2019 season, or even the 2020 season, but started 11 games in 2021 and was seen as a lower-tier but still useful pitching piece. Eventually the Guardians built their rotation out of people that were not Allen, he was waived and then has bounced around the minors ever since.

But while this Logan Allen was sitting in the back of the 2020 Guardians' pitching depth, the team drafted another left-handed pitcher, who also happened to be named Logan Allen. And a year after the first Logan Allen was cut loose from the Guardians, this second Logan Allen was brought up to start games. And folks, I think we've found the superior Logan Allen.

Allen has, like his fellow rookie Guardians pitchers, had an excellent come-up period and has slid right into a pivotal spot, in between Tanner Bibee and Gavin Williams. Allen's 7-7, but has 113 strikeouts, a 3.68 ERA and a 1.6 WAR in his first 22 starts. The fact that these three guys have hit the ground running this season and been consistent despite their inexperience and the team's struggles has been the biggest saving grace of this underwhelming Guardians season. The combination of the team not hitting and the rotation getting banged up made for a sorry follow-up to 2022, but having the rotation this strong does make the team look a lot better even as they head towards a sub-.500 finish. 

What may have hampered things a bit has been the arrival of Lucas Giolito in place of Noah Syndergaard. It's kinda wild that anyone could make late-career Thor look good, but Giolito cannot keep it together, and has gotten absolutely lit up in both of his Guardians starts. It does narrow things down as to who gets to come back next year, but it's not really helping the legitimacy of the rotation sans Bieber. I'm saying they were better off with Syndergaard, honestly, even if having Matt Moore is kinda nice I guess.

Next year, a rotation of Bieber-Bibee-Allen-Williams-McKenzie does sound pretty damn good, even though there may be some seniority defaults if Plesac and Quantrill stick around. And if the rest of the team can start hitting that might lead to a more exciting AL Central race than what we had this year. It can't just be Naylor and Ramirez, it has to be everybody, and figuring out how to get everybody on the same page should be the top offseason priority. It should be easy to get the team back to the contact hitting it was doing in 2022, I just wish it wasn't this vexing for them.

Coming Tomorrow- He began the season in the bullpen but eventually got to start games, which has been universally regarded as a great decision.

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