Prospect Allen claims Tribe's 'Warrior Dash'

Outfielder, ranked No. 19 in system, remained in organization after Lucroy trade fell through

Prospect Allen claims Tribe's 'Warrior Dash'

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Spring Training can put a lot of pressure on a prospect who gets the invitation to attend Major League camp. Take Saturday's endurance test at Indians camp as an example. Every year, not only do manager Terry Francona and his coaches look on, but nearly the entire front-office staff heads to the agility field to watch.

For every prospect -- such as outfielder Greg Allen -- all eyes are very much on them.

"I didn't want to disappoint," Allen said. "I know that the staff and the guys like to have a good time with it and kind of place their bets. That part of it kind of makes it fun and a little bit more competitive."

Allen took home the victory, beating out Indians infield prospect Erik Gonzalez in the annual "Warrior Dash," which consists of a series of timed sprints. If a player does not complete the specified lap in time, he is disqualified. Those who keep hitting their mark keep going until they decide to stop. All-Star shortstop Francisco Lindor won the event last year and placed second a year ago to Minor League catcher Jeremy Lucas.

This time around, Francona picked Gonzalez, who finished one lap behind Allen. Chris Antonetti, the Indians' president of baseball operations, took Allen. It is easy to understand why Allen (the Tribe's 19th-ranked prospect on MLBPipeline.com's Top 30 list) would be a popular choice. Last season, between Class A Advanced Lynchburg and Double-A Akron, the fleet-footed center fielder stole 45 bases and scored 119 runs.

"The organization thinks a lot of him," Francona said. "He's not on the roster, but he's been invited to camp so he can get some experience. He's a pretty polished player. He's a switch-hitter. He's got some speed. He's a good defender. Yeah, he is exciting. He's one of the younger guys we're pretty excited about."

Allen on Fall League experience

In 129 games between the two levels last season, the 23-year-old Allen hit .295 with seven homers, 23 doubles, seven triples, 44 RBIs, 77 walks, 78 strikeouts and an .830 OPS. Prior to the Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline last summer, Allen was one of four prospects who were in an agreed-upon trade with Milwaukee that would have brought catcher Jonathan Lucroy to Cleveland. When Lucroy blocked the trade, Allen and the others stayed put.

Allen said he is thrilled to still be in Cleveland's system.

"It's been fun," Allen said. "There was a lot going on surrounding that Trade Deadline, just a whirlwind of emotions, I'd say. But, kind of when the dust settled, I was happy to still be with the Tribe, still be with Cleveland. I'm very grateful and fortunate that that was the case, and that I can continue my career here."

Other items of note from Saturday:

• Indians left fielder Michael Brantley, who is working his way back from August surgery on his right biceps, has advanced to the soft-toss stage of his hitting program. Last spring, when Brantley was coming back from right shoulder surgery, he did not begin that step in his progression until March 2.

"He's doing really well," Francona said. "I just want to be fair to him. I was talking to him again today. We just want to be as fair as we can to him. This kid has done everything, and he is pushing. [We don't want him] putting a timetable on it and things like that."

IT discuses Brantley's recovery

• After contemplating using Carlos Santana as a leadoff hitter for years, Francona put the idea to the test last season and the Indians saw great results. In 86 games atop the order, Santana posted a .260/.385/.502 slash line with 19 homers, 41 RBIs and more walks (67) than strikeouts (60). Francona said Saturday that he is undecided whether Santana will serve as a leadoff man again this year.

• Outfielders Brandon Guyer and Tyler Naquin did not participate in Saturday's endurance test. Francona noted that Guyer "tweaked a hamstring" last week, but is progressing well. The manager added that Naquin did the test during the team's strength camp over the offseason and was held out Saturday to keep his legs fresh.

Jordan Bastian has covered the Indians for MLB.com since 2011, and previously covered the Blue Jays from 2006-10. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, follow him on Twitter @MLBastian and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.