GUARDIANS PITCHER ALLEN PUSHES PAST ADVERSITY

GOODYEAR%2C+ARIZONA+-+MARCH+22%3A+Logan+Allen+%2354+of+the+Cleveland+Guardians+poses+during+Photo+Day+at+Goodyear+Ballpark+on+March+22%2C+2022+in+Goodyear%2C+Arizona.+%28Photo+by+Chris+Coduto%2FGetty+Images%29

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GOODYEAR, ARIZONA – MARCH 22: Logan Allen #54 of the Cleveland Guardians poses during Photo Day at Goodyear Ballpark on March 22, 2022 in Goodyear, Arizona. (Photo by Chris Coduto/Getty Images)

Matthew McConahy, Sports Writer

Sometimes adversity is a good thing, and pitchers can use it to their advantage.

Logan Allen, the 24-year-old lefty cruised-A Akron last year, owning a 3.33 ERA with a crazy 104 strikeouts in 73 innings. If he wasn’t on radar, he wanted attention for this success. After 13 starts, he was promoted to Triple-A Columbus, but then he hit a roadblock.

Allen had 14 starts for Columbus and pitched to a 6.49 ERA with 73 strikeouts and 29 walks in 59 ⅔ innings. As much as he was on a hot streak and looking good, he suddenly lost momentum.

At the end of the year, Allen was part of the Guardians Fall development program, which allows prospects to learn more about the organization and spend time around the big league team. He had a first hand experience of watching the team make a postseason run. However, Allen needed to make one more push if he wanted to be added into the mix.

The Guardians organization sat down with Allen and explained that it would be best to spend time in Arizona at the club’s training complex to get even better before heading into Spring Training.

“If I was that age, I don’t know if I’d want to spend all the time in Goodyear, but you try to explain to guys it’s kind of an investment in your future,” Guardians manager Terry Francona said. “You don’t have to do it your whole career, but when you’re young it can really give you a boost.”

Allen spent his winter in Arizona and was determined to come back even better in 2023.

“I think it was definitely the motivation that I needed to look internally, figure it out a little bit and then also look outward to some of these coaches and see what they have for me,” Allen said. “I think that when you struggle a little bit, it pushes you to lean on other people. I think I did that a little bit.”

Allen put on about seven pounds of muscle before Spring Training began and added two miles per hour in his fastball velocity. The work Allen did over the offseason helped him to be more than ready to start the Minor League season.

In the two first three starts in Columbus this year, Allen only gave up just two runs in 14 ⅓ innings with five walks and 20 strikeouts. The second the Guardians wanted to try out a new arm in the rotation Allen was the top name to come to mind.

“If he helps us here, nobody’s going to ever care that his first handful of outings in Triple-A weren’t really good,” Francona said. “But I think what happened was it made him kind of double down on his work with winter. And I think that was really good for him.”