Prep Baseball Report

The Rode Show: Logan Allen Cruises

By Nathan Rode
National Supervisor

Monday marked the second week of the 2015 IMG National Classic with 14 teams facing off in Bradenton, FL. Given the team’s depth, IMG Academy is a very big focus this week, but the other participants have plenty to offer, which we’ll get to shortly.

Starting for IMG Academy in its first-round game against Port St. Lucie HS, FL, was LHP Logan Allen, a South Carolina recruit. Allen has a strong frame and looks to have shed some weight since last summer and his arsenal has benefited from being in better shape.

“My offseason was long and hard,” Allen said. “Big Coach Will (Townsley) over here, he got me in the weight room and help me cut some bad weight. He helped me tremendously with strength. Everything in the weight room has helped me.”

Last summer, Allen typically sat 85-87 mph, touching a tick higher and mixing in a big, loopy curveball. He always showed the ability to spin the curveball, which may have hinted at added velocity. It showed in this outing as his fastball ranged from 87-91. He touched 92 early, sitting in the 89-91 range and then went into cruise control for a few innings, sitting in the high 80s, but was able to find 90-91 when he wanted it and routinely hit that mark late in the game. He still has the big, looping curveball in the low 70s, but has added two pitches—a slider and changeup.

“The slider is something new,” Allen said. “I still have that slow breaking ball, but I wanted to tighten it up and I added that this year. I’ve gotten very comfortable with it along with my changeup.”

Allen’s slider flashed sharp, hard break, but used it sparingly in the game, hitting 79 with it. He threw a couple changeups at 75-76 with fade, showing some feel for the pitch, but did slow his arm on delivering it.

In seven innings, Allen threw 98 pitches, 68 for strikes, and allowed three hits and a walk while striking out 14. He was perfect through four, allowing back-to-back singles in the fifth with two outs before finishing the inning with a strikeout.

More notes from Monday…

+ OF Danny Blair (IMG Academy, FL), another South Carolina recruit, was 1-for-3 with an RBI and run scored. He hit a hard double to left center in his first at-bat, getting down the line in 4.26 seconds with his turn. He hit a chopper to the first baseman in his second at-bat and was out on a bang-bang play, getting down the line in 4.19 seconds. Blair has a strong frame and quick bat, but he tended to be a little out front in this game.

+ 3B Ryan Karstetter (IMG Academy, FL) looks the part with his 6-foot-3, 200-pound frame. With Allen dominating hitters, the defense didn’t have to work much, but Karstetter made a strong throw on a groundout as the ball comes out of his hand with ease. He was 2-for-4 with an RBI and run scored. He also stole a base.

+ 2016 Nick Derr (IMG Academy, FL) would be a shortstop on many high school teams, but currently plays second base with senior L.T. Tolbert partnering up the middle. He went 1-for-4 with a double and run scored.

+ I came straight from the airport and arrived in the middle of a game between Regis Jesuit HS, CO, and Pelham HS, AL. RHP Brent Schwarz (Regis Jesuit HS, CO) got the start for the Raiders. By the time I got there, he was sitting 81-84, but showing feel for secondary stuff with an 11/5 curveball at 68-71 and a fading changeup at 76. Things imploded for Schwarz in the fifth and he was removed with two outs. In total, he pitched 4.2 innings and allowed eight runs on eight hits and three walks. He also struck out three. He is committed to Rice.

+ LHP/OF Jared Middleton (George Jenkins HS, FL) made his first appearance on the mound since March 6 and threw two innings, allowing just one hit while striking out one. The Florida State recruit has a compact frame at 5-foot-10, 215 pounds and pitches from a 3/4 slot. In this outing, he sat 83-85 with arm-side run and didn’t throw any offspeed pitches.

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