Trade Targets: Brandon Allen

The Oakland Athletics are shopping first baseman Brandon Allen, according to Jerry Crasnick, due to their excess number of first base candidates. MLBTR mentions the Pirates as a team that would be a fit for Allen. The connection seems to be based off the fact that the Pirates are looking for a first baseman, but doesn’t suggest that the Athletics have had contact with the Pirates, or any other team mentioned.

Allen turns 26 in a few weeks and has 324 at-bats in the majors over three seasons. In that time he has a combined .210/.297/.383 line with 11 homers. In his time at the AAA level he has a .286/.401/.555 line in 921 at-bats, with most of that time happening in the hitter friendly PCL.

It seems like every first base prospect that is mentioned as a trade candidate goes on the wish list of Pirates fans. Allen wouldn’t be on my list. He’s left handed, which is a fit for PNC Park. He’s shown some power, although most of that has come in the PCL. I just don’t see a big difference between him and Jeff Clement. Allen is two years younger, but his career right now has taken the same path that Clement’s career took. Clement had a .223/.281/.383 line in 363 at-bats in 2007, 2008, and 2010, along with 14 homers. Clement struck out 25.9% of the time, and walked 6% of the time, while Allen has struck out 34.9% of the time and walked 10.9% of the time in the majors.

Allen has power, but I don’t think he’s what the Pirates need. I think you only have to look at the A’s situation to see that. They’ve got Daric Barton, Kila Ka’aihue, and Chris Carter competing for the first base job. Carter is a good prospect, but Barton and Ka’aihue are far from ideal options at first. It’s not like the A’s are stacked at first base, so if Allen is being traded because he’s being forced out of the mix, then I don’t see how he’s the answer for the Pirates.

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • Anonymous

    Tim do you know what teams fill the critiera for what DLee wants? ….starting 1b… lot of money. I have read that Lee has no desire to play for the Pirates but I have never seen a direct quote from him stating that. Do you think that if the the Pirates are the only club willing to meet his demands that he would sign with them?

    By the way I  love Lee’s  glove but I really think think the platoon that the Pirates have in place right now would probably put up pretty much the same numbers as Lee so I don’t really care that much if he signs with the Pirates or not I just would like to see the issue resolved. Besides not much to talk about.

  • Chicken McD

    Doesnt the Jones/McGahee platoon sound familiar from last years RF platoon?  We all thought it would work out, and it didnt.  I hope McGahee can turn it around and Jones can be consistant, otherwise, we are in the same situation as RF was last year.  I expect they give Hague a shot before they sign someone to 8-10 million a year for a 1B that everybody wants.

    Heck, maybe McGahee and Alvarez play awesome and they both start daily.  That would be ideal for me.


    This would not be worth giving up anything for.  He really seems like a 4A player at this point in his career.  The platoon at 1B is not going to happen.  FO wants Pedro to be comfortable at the plate and succeed early.   Who will play 1B against LHP when McGahee is playing 3B? Nick Evans maybe. Pending roster spot.  Likely solution is another 1B DLee or Kotchman to play everyday.  Why do you think they haven’t signed another OF, they plan to implant GFJ into 4/5th OF spot.

    Prediction: Fielder to Nats trade Laroche to whoever will give up anything
    Pena to Detroit

    That leaves PIT and Cleveland to pick between DLEE or Kotchman. 
    I really think Kotchman would really benefit playing at PNC Park. 

    • white angus

      i dont think the pirates will benefit with kotchman playing in PNC Park

  • James S

    No way. Allen right now is another Jeff Clement type Quad A hitter. What they have now is still better than Allen. I would rather pin my hopes on a McGehee/Garrett Jones platoon.

    Matt Hague/Jeff Clement are equal to Brandon Allen right now. There has to be a reason Allen is continually traded twice a year though. Something is odd with the guy.

    I wouldn’t mind if they got Allen by trading Clement for him. I admit Allen has more potential than Clement. But if they got Allen I would want him to first prove he’s more major league capable than Matt Hague.

  • James S

    Yeah and Nick Evans can probably out-hit Allen.

    I wouldn’t get your hopes up for Derrick Lee. He’s probably going to retire.
    Casey Kotchman would be intriguing if they won’t gamble on Carlos Pena.

    I sure hope they don’t get LaRoche back again.

  • john.alcorn

    Comparing him to Clement is a pretty big undersell on Brandon Allen’s talents.. Allen is 2 1/2 years younger, his BB rate is 5% higher, and he has put up an OPS 100 points higher at AAA. I’m a big fan of Brandon’s, have been for two years. I would not be stunned at all if he could put up 20+ HR and a .750ish OPS in our park right now. I would take him in a second considering how cheap he will be. He’s clearly better than Nick Evans, Jake Fox, Matt Hague et al.  

    FYI, DLee is talking retirement unless he gets a situation he likes. Looks like he’d rather not play than play for a non-contender.

    • Tim Williams

      I could see Allen going down the same path as Clement. He’s got the AAA numbers, but those came in the PCL. His walk rate is higher, but his strikeout rate was horrible in his limited time in the majors. If he did come cheap, it wouldn’t be a bad low-risk addition. But I don’t think he’s the answer.

      • john.alcorn

        Clement’s numbers are almost all form the PCL too (1434 of his AAA plate appearances vs 360 in the IL). I’m not saying he’s the answer either, but he’s a good low risk option when we have a free spot on the 25 man available.

        • Tim Williams

          That’s why I think Allen is similar to where Clement was a few years ago. Yeah, his PCL numbers are better than Clement’s, but they’re still inflated numbers. Clement had a .284/.372/.495 line in the PCL in over 1200 at-bats. But he was over-matched in his time in the majors. He had power in the majors, but that was the only thing. That’s been the same story with Allen so far.

  • Anonymous

    It appears that Seattle has a potential log jam at 1st base and Fielder has been linked as a potential addtion.  What about trading for Justin Smoak?  He seems to fit the type of player NH has brought in to the burg in the past. 

    • john.alcorn

      Smoak wouldn’t be blocked really, until they give up on the Montero at C experiment (which will probably be next year). Mike Carp would be let go before the prize of their Cliff Lee trade.

      • john.alcorn

        A possible target could be Mitch Moreland if Texas indeed does get Prince. Moreland hits RHP pretty well and could platoon with McGehee some. At any rate its nearing make or break time for NH to do something with that extra payroll space. 1B and SP sure could use some help.

      • white angus

        “Mike Carp would be let go before the prize of their Cliff Lee trade.”
        You mean just like Brandon Moss was kept around forever too?

        • white angus

          i know, i know.  laroche was the centerpiece, just sounded better with Moss’ name instead.

  • James S

    John.Alcorn – Smoak hasn’t yet proven anything. Thats why Seattle wants to move him, and why Texas traded him in the first place.
    I would not want him either. He had a month or so where he hit well and never returned to that form again. He hasn’t yet shown that he can hit big league pitching on a consistent basis.

    And Allen is not “clearly better than Evans, Fox or Hague”. Evans alone has a better line in the majors. Fox too has produced more. And you can’t say Allen is better than Hague because Hague has never even been given the chance to play in the big leagues to tell.
    We cannot ever use pacific coast league numbers to evaluate a hitter for major league ability or comparisons. We can only go on what he has done in the majors so far, really.

    Also, Tim, you said Carter is a prospect. Not sure I’d agree. He really hasn’t shown anything in his big league time either. More than likely he is another quad-A hitter in the same mold as Allen & Clement. And not that I base much on this, but I know that a lot of A’s fans who have seen him on a more regular basis have a lot of dislike for Carter, many suggesting he can’t hit big league pitching still, and they have more faith in Allen than in Carter.
    I know at one time he was considered a prospect, but no longer.

    I’ll stick with the men who have a pedigree of producing in the majors first, and that would be what we already have, Casey McGehee & Garrett Jones. They havent the roster space or even the triple A job openings to gamble on any more quad-A hitters.
    If they are going to make a move, it had better be for a proven hitter like Kotchman, Lee or Pena.


    • white angus

      for the record, seattle has never said that Smoak was on the trading block.

      • Nate

        and for the record, I’d trade for Smoak in a heartbeat and start him over Evans, Jones, Allen, Clement, Hague, my grandma, your grandma, and McGehee.
        I’d trade Hanny and Alex for Smoak and Truinfel (SS)

        • white angus

          lay off my gran’ma, son.  shes got more glove than you think.

          • white angus

            and probably more stick than yourself.    >:-P

            • Nate

              Would you do that trade though?

      • James S

         True. I should have said that’s why the Seattle fans want him moved.

    • Tim Williams

      Carter is still at the age where his career isn’t totally written off. I don’t think he’s an elite prospect, but he definitely looks like the best long term option in Oakland right now.

      • john.alcorn

        Curious that you view Carter as being better than Allen since he’s only a year younger, is terribel defensively, and his K:BB and K rate are worse at AAA.

        Carter – 24.9K%, 2.0:1 K:BB -11 TzR
        Allen – 21.0K% 1.4:1 K:BB 0 TzR

        • Tim Williams

          Carter doesn’t really impress me much either. But I think he has a slightly better minor league track record to suggest that his numbers aren’t just a product of the PCL. Plus he’s a year younger.

    • john.alcorn

      James you are basing all your assumptions on limited MLB palying tome from a prospect. By your approach would you say Nick Evans and Jake Fox are better than Pedro Alvarez? They have better MLB numbers.

      I’m basing my opinion on actual MLB value. Brandon Allen was worth a legit 8th inning MLB RP just last July. Fox and Evans are career minor leaguers with zero value available as MiFA. Matt Hague is viewed so poorly that this organization refused to give him a chance when they had a negative WAR player at 1B for 4 months last year. Fox is a career AAA guy at 29, Evans and Hague are OK players who have zero chance of hitting like a MLB 1B. Allen has an absolute chance to hit for power in the bigs and his walk rate suggests he could do a pretty good Carlos Pena impression.

      Bill James projects Allen to put up a .776 OPS with 22 HR this year, that is much better than anything the other AAA 1B options can do.

    • john.alcorn

      As for Smoak, he’s a high #1 pick with great pedigree who was acquired in a huge trade. He isn’t going anywhere. As for not having done anything as a rationale to dump him –

      player A – .696 OPS 199K/61BB in 648 MLB PA’s
      player B – .701 OPS 196L/101BB in 886 MLB PA’s

      Yep that’s Pedro Alvarez as player A, Smoak as player B. Smoak has been better than Alvarez. Smoak is coming off his best year and he finished with a very solid Sept after returning from injury. I somehow doubt you think we should dump Pedro for a AAAA guy like Carp. 

  • Anonymous

    Go for Barton then if you think he can play as well as in 2010.  At least he gets on base and would make up some for Barmes and Barajas.

    Would need to get good reports from Bucco scouts that he isn’t done. 

    • Anonymous

      I need an unlike button for this comment.  Where is the unlike button?

  • Nate

    If we are operating under the notion of finding true value, we should go with Hague.  NH’s obsession with declining value 1B prospects is getting us nowhere, especially as such an important power position.  We’re not getting to the playoffs next year, Hague has showed promise, so let him develop.  You have Curry behind him.

    Use your organization depth, use your the system.  Don’t use the Evans/Fox/trade for Smoak solution – that rarely gets you anywhere.  

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