The 2021 MLB Draft begins on July 11, 2021, and unlike in 2020, this will be a twenty round draft — shorter than the forty rounds the draft has been in the most recent years prior to 2020, but longer than last year’s five round version. The Rangers’ top three picks are at #2, #38, and #73.
In the coming days, we will be doing write-ups of potential Texas Ranger draft picks, looking both at players who are in the mix at #2 and players who would be candidates to be picked in the second or third rounds. Today we are looking at Jay Allen from Fort Pierce, Florida.
Jay Allen is a six foot and maybe something, 190 lb. righthanded hitting outfielder out of Carroll Catholic High School in Fort Pierce, Florida. Allen also played quarterback in high school and was a well-regarded recruit on the gridiron, and played basketball in high school as well, but opted this past winter to commit to the University of Florida as a baseball player, putting his football career aside.
Allen is described by Baseball America as a “dynamic athlete” with “an exciting package of tools.” He’s fast — BA says he’s clocked a 70 run grade time from home to first, and he has the speed and arm to handle any of the outfielder positions.
I am sure that above paragraph is going to generate rolls of the eyes from folks who have grown skeptical of the Rangers’ track record with those players, as well as reminders that the Rangers have shifted away from the raw, toolshed guys in recent years. Allen, however, also gets a quality grade for his hit tool — Keith Law mentions his “sweet right-handed swing,” and BA mentions his excellent contact ability. The ability to consistently make quality contact is, as we have discussed, a big factor in the Rangers’ evaluation of hitters in the past couple of years.
Baseball America has Allen at #36 on their pre-draft top 400, praising the athleticism and the hit tool but questioning whether he will ever hit for any power. MLB Pipeline puts Allen at #37 on their board, while Kiley McDaniel has Allen at #73 on his current board. Keith Law has Allen at #35 on his list.
I said Allen was six foot-something above because I’m seeing different heights for him. BA has Allen at six foot even. An article I ready about him in his local paper listed him at 6’2”. MLB Pipeline lists him at 6’3”. So that’s kind of a mystery.
How Texas has Allen rated will depend on what they think of the hit tool, I suspect. If they are one of the teams who like the contact ability and believe he has the potential to develop some power down the road, he is someone you could see them grabbing at #38, or as an overslot guy at #73. The combination of the athleticism, the potential to stick in center field, and the quality hit tool would make him someone who would seem to potentially fit well at either of those spots.