Guest Week: The Underrated and Undervalued Cody Allen
By Jason Ramirez
August 9, 2013
In dynasty formats, there’s one player out of the AL Central that is overlooked and undervalued. That player is a right-handed bullpen arm from Cleveland. Selected in the 23rd round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft by the Cleveland Indians, Cody Allen was not known for his stuff or his k/rate. Allen, a starter in college, needed less than 100 minor league innings before making his major league debut. Within two years, Allen had gone from Low-A ball to Triple-A. In late 2012, Allen made his major league debut with the Indians. Tossing 29 innings and striking slightly less than a batter per inning, while holding down an encouraging 3.72 ERA.
Entering his age 24 season, and also his continued rookie campaign, Allen has been downright filthy in 2013. In 47 1/3 innings, Allen has a sexy 11.41 strikeouts per 9 to go along with his modest 2.47 ERA. These numbers result in a 0.6 WAR (Wins Above Replacement). In addition, Allen does a superb job of keeping the ball in park by allowing less than a HR/9. Allen has a fastball that averages in the mid 90’s that’s paired with a dirty curveball that helps keep batters off-balance.
Going forward, I envision Cody Allen as a rising asset in dynasty league formats, and also in real life. The squirrel chasing, pot smoking, shaky relief pitcher that is Chris Perez is become less and less fantasy relevant. Since last season, Perez’s numbers trend in the wrong direction. His k/rate has gone from 9.21 to 7.85, he’s also walking more. Although he has 17 saves to his name this year, how long could his “stuff” be closer material? In 36 2/3 innings pitched, Perez has been less than stellar with a 3.44 ERA and a 4.47 FIP (Fielding Independent Pitcher), Allen’s FIP is 3.09. Perez’s velocity is still serviceable as it sits around 92 mph, however, it has steadily decreased since he broke into the league throwing high-90’s in 08’.
All-in-all, this is a classic case of opposite trending bullpen arms. Perez is still a good, and serviceable arm, but Allen is the future. While Perez’s velocity has faded, Allen’s has only got stronger since he broke into the league in 2012. His fastball averaged 94.7 MPH in 12’, this year, its averaging 95.2 MPH. A critical part of becoming “the guy,” “the stopper,” “the closer,” is being able to strikeout everyone and anyone at anytime. I foresee Allen as that guy, he flashes a plus breaking ball to go along with his plus fastball, while holding batters from both sides of the plate to a sub .221 average. Heading into 2014, strongly consider Cody Allen as a “sleeper” for saves, and an electric high-leverage arm built to miss bats and keep the ball in the yard.