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John Allman signed by Cleveland Indians

The one player I was most surprised to not see selected in last week's MLB draft was outfielder John Allman.  Allman was one of the better baseball players to ever wear the crimson and blue.  He is a plus corner outfielder defensively.  While not a guy who will steal a lot of bases Allman remained a threat on the pads and chose his spots well.  During his four years at KU he was 17 for 20 in stolen base attempts.  John is a natural pure hitter.  He never hit under .333 for a season and his on base percentage for his career toped .450.  The biggest mark against him was that he did not generate enough power to project well as a corner outfield prospect - Seventeen homeruns over 735 NCAA at-bats.  His slugging percentage remained high (.553 his senior year) on the strength of doubles, but scouts like to see more drive from a player in right or left field.

I did expect to see Allman go late and be given a look by a pro team.  His skill set identifies him as a player with four near pro-level skills.  A bit of a bump in a few of these areas or a bit more pop in his bat and Allman would have a real shot at rising up through the minor leagues.

When I found this KU news release sitting in my mailbox Tuesdays I was particularly happy for John:

Former Kansas outfielder John Allman has signed a professional contract with the Cleveland Indians' organization. Allman becomes the second Jayhawk outfielder in as many years to ink a deal with the Cleveland organization, and will likely join Brock Simpson in the Indians' minor league system.

 "I am absolutely thrilled for John," Kansas head coach Ritch Price said. "He has been one of the best players to ever play at KU and has worked extremely hard to get there. We're all very excited that he gets to chase his dream of playing professional baseball."

 Allman, an All-Big 12 honoree the past three seasons, led the Jayhawks with a .365 batting average and a .484 on-base percentage. He clubbed 17 doubles and six homers while driving in 49 runs in 2008. The St. Louis, Mo., native finishes his KU career with a .344 average, 55 doubles, 17 homers and 159 RBIs. His 55 doubles rank fifth all-time at KU, while he is sixth in RBIs and eighth in runs scored (165).

He also played a solid left field all four years of his Kansas career, collecting 13 outfield assists and committing just seven errors in 340 chances.

Allman was named All-Big 12 Honorable Mention in each of the last two years, and became the first Kansas player since 2006 to be honored with the Big 12's Player of the Week award on the week of May 5.

As a non-drafted free agent in a crowded position John will be a long shot to make it through the Cleveland system, but ever since he arrived at Hoglund as a freshman walk-on all Allman has asked for was a chance to prove what he could do on the field.  John has been one of my favorite players over the last four years.  I know I am far from alone in wishing him all the best.  I wouldn't be shocked at all to see him at AA in the next couple of years.

Here is bkmhoxx' pre-draft take on Allman:

John Allman LF (6`2, 225 lbs)
Allman is a senior who has worked very hard to get where he is. He doesn't really possess the tools that a lot of guys with his resume have. Allman has a good bat and hits for average with some gap power although his kind of power probably wont ever translate into HR's. He plays a good LF with decent range and shows good hands. This year I think John will need to cut down on some of his strikeouts, continue to hit for a high average and show a little pop in his bat. If he does that my guess would be 25th round on the high side, 40th round on the low side.

CURRENT TAKE: Allman had a great senior year. His avg. was way up to .365. He hit 17 Doubles with 6 HR and 48 RBI. He had more walks with 35 but his K's went up as well to 32. I think John helped himself a touch by hitting for such a high avg. this year and his defense was gritty and quite amazing at times. My preseason prediction was rounds 25-40. I would guess Allman to be drafted somewhere very near round 30 this year. (He does have a chance to go as high as the 20th round depending on what teams see him developing into.