There was a time where Kolby Allard was a highly hyped pitching prospect, and while maybe it’s a bit of “prospect fatigue” but the southpaw has seemingly lost his luster in recent years. It’s culminated in tonight’s trade, with the Braves sending Allard to the Texas Rangers for right-handed reliever Chris Martin.
Granted Martin could quickly play a prominent role in the Atlanta bullpen, with a 10.18 K/9, 0.95 BB/9 and 49.0 groundball rate yielding a 3.08 ERA and 1.03 WHIP over 38.0 IP. Could he factor into the closer’s role? It’s not impossible, though we’ll have to wait and see what other dominoes fall in Atlanta (though it’s more likely he operates in a setup role).
The bigger story is Allard, who goes to the starter need Rangers and could quickly find his way into the MLB rotation. While he hasn’t been great at Triple-A this season, the soon to be 22-year old (he’ll turn 22 on August 13) hasn’t been completely awful:
110.0 IP, 4.17 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, 98 K, 36 BB
While he has struggled with home runs (1.23 HR/9), it’s easy to argue that a lot of it is due to poor luck. Just consider what he’s done in the three skills we look for:
- Strikeouts – 8.02 K/9
- Control – 2.95 BB/9
- Groundballs – 50.0%
We’d like to see better than a 9.7% SwStr%, but that’s hardly a huge negative. He may not be a true ace, but even at a 7.00ish K/9 with the other skills he should factor in as a mid-rotation option. That said he doesn’t come without concerns as there’s going to be a fine line between success and failure as evidenced by this scouting report from Baseball America:
Allard’s fastball is a below-average pitch. It sits 88-90 and rarely bumps 91-92. He locates it well and pitches backward, allowing him to try to sneak a fastball by a hitter after slowing their eyes with his curveball or changeup. But against big league hitters, Allard’s margins of error are so small that he has to do everything almost perfectly to have success. He has an above-average curveball and an average changeup, but he has has to nibble with all of them because he lacks a pitch to get swings and misses in the strike zone.
If he’s posting closer to a 6.00 K/9 and doesn’t have his control? He’s going to get hammered, and we saw it in his MLB debut in ’18 when he posted a 12.38 ERA over 8.0 IP (3 K vs. 4 BB) and pitching in the American League is not going to help matters. That doesn’t change that it’s a decent return for Texas, but in the long run he could be more of a streaming fantasy option.
Current Grade – C+
Sources – MILB.com, Fangraphs, Baseball America