Cody Allen Continuing to Pave the Way to Wins in 2014
- DOB: 11/20/1988
- Bats/Throws: R/R
- Height/Weight: 6’1″/210 pounds
- Position: Right-handed Relief Pitcher
- Contract: Pre-Arbitration; Not eligible for arbitration until 2016; Free agent after the 2018 season; Earned $492,000 in 2013;
2013 Year in Review:
Cody Allen became the Vinnie Pestano that Pestano couldn’t be in 2013 due to injuries and ineffectiveness, and while he only finished 12 games and earned a save in two of his 77 games, he was the most valuable of the Cleveland Indians relief pitchers in 2013. Along with Joe Smith, Allen created one of the more dominant 7th and 8th inning pitchers in all of baseball, as the two combined to post a 2.36 ERA, a 1.24 WHIP, and a 142:49 K:BB in 133.1 innings, led by Allen’s 11.3 K/9. When the Indians released Chris Perez after the season and Smith moved on to join the Los Angeles Angels via free agency, Allen appeared to be the next in line for saves; however, when the club signed John Axford in December, it was clear that the Indians may have been leaning towards keeping the saves-inflated values of the eventual arbitration process from the clutches of Allen and his agent.
Regardless of any possible long-term financial stranglehold that the Indians could have been manipulating this winter with Cody Allen, his 2013 season was dominant. In his first full season, in which he still qualified as a rookie and finished sixth in the American League Rookie of the Year voting, Allen’s dominance and reliability at the age of 24 was surprising to even the most critical of bullpen doubters.
Only Kenley Jansen, Trevor Rosenthal, and Koji Uehara pitched more innings than Cody Allen in 2013 while striking out more than 11 batters per nine innings, which would put him in elite company when it comes to relief dominance. Most impressive, however, is that even with a heavy workload, both Allen’s fastball and curveball gained 0.6 miles per hour from his 2012 audition, while he managed to post a 2.05 ERA and 1.33 WHIP from August 1 through the end of the season (31 appearances).
Certainly, the numbers are impressive, but could there be something for Tribe fans to be concerned about with Cody Allen heading into 2014?
How about this:
|162 Game Avg.||2||3||2.82||68||0||22||4||65||51||21||21||7||28||78||139||1.213||7.1||0.9||3.9||10.7||2.77|
The first two seasons of Vinnie Pestano‘s career were quite impressive, as well…but could usage have been an issue in his elbow ailments in 2013?
Looking Ahead to 2014:
Having established himself as an elite setup man, Cody Allen would appear to be first in line for save opportunities if John Axford was to return to tipping pitches and being inconsistent. It is fair to wonder if giving Axford an incentive laden contract was worth it with Allen already on board, but, as I mentioned earlier, management could be limiting the save statistic on Allen, which would wreak havoc when Allen reaches arbitration due to lofty raises.
A healthy and productive Vinnie Pestano, Cody Allen, and John Axford could be much more valuable to the Indians than the Allen, Joe Smith, and Chris Perez trio, which was effective enough over the 2013 season to give the Tribe the 19th best bullpen ERA in 2013 after finishing with the 23rd in 2012 – a slight improvement. The depth that the bullpen could have due to the number of solid pitchers vying for the fifth spot in the rotation could also lead to another improvement in the bullpen’s overall numbers.
Whoever will round out the ‘pen in Cleveland, Cody Allen’s right arm will be utilized in many positions that will challenge him and allow him to further establish himself as a core member of the Indians’ future. Could he be the Mariano Rivera to Jason Kipnis‘ Derek Jeter, Carlos Santana‘s Jorge Posada, and Justin Masterson‘s Andy Pettitte? He’s only about 600 saves away, but everyone can dream a little.
Cody Allen’s 2014 Projections:
(Oliver and Steamer – Courtesy of FanGraphs; PECOTA – Courtesy of Baseball Prospectus)
What You Should Expect:
Consistency from relievers is about as reliable as Lindsay Lohan promising to remain clean when leaving rehab. It just isn’t a sure-fire, bet-the-house situation. Left on base percentages, inherited runners, and a little bit of bad luck due to an elevated BABIP or an experimental third baseman (that’s YOU, Carlos Santana), can lead to some fluctuations in performance and value, but based on what Cody Allen has done to this point, he deserves to be given the benefit of the doubt.
A lot of appearances (think 68-75 games), solid peripherals, and a chance to steal several saves (6-10), or even the closer job at some point in 2014, are the lofty expectations for the 25-year-old setup man extraordinaire.
Check out out other 2014 player profiles: