Braves lefty Allard living up to his lofty prospect status

Braves prospect Kolby Allard was named Double-A Southern League Pitcher of the Week and organizational Pitcher of the Month for April. The 19-year-old is rated the Braves’ No. 3 overall prospect and top pitching prospect by Baseball America. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)
Caption
Braves prospect Kolby Allard was named Double-A Southern League Pitcher of the Week and organizational Pitcher of the Month for April. The 19-year-old is rated the Braves’ No. 3 overall prospect and top pitching prospect by Baseball America. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Kolby Allard is showing why the Braves selected the left-hander in the first round of the June 2015 draft even though he’d missed most of his senior year of high school with a stress fracture in his back.

Allard, 19, on Monday was named Double-A Southern League Pitcher of the Week and Braves organizational Pitcher of the Month for April. He had 11 strikeouts with no walks and three hits allowed in six scoreless innings for the Mississippi Braves on Thursday against Birmingham, and he’s 2-1 with a 1.36 ERA in six starts this season.

One of the two youngest players (along with fellow Braves prospect Mike Soroka) in any Double-A league, Allard ranks third in the Southern League in ERA and has a 0.970 WHIP (walks plus hits per innings pitched), allowing the fourth-fewest baserunners per nine innings among league pitchers.

The native Californian allowed 25 hits and seven walks with 28 strikeouts in 33 innings. Allard hasn’t issued more than two walks in any start and has allowed five or fewer hits in each start since allowing six in his season debut.

Arguably the most talented among the Braves’ bevy of high-level pitching prospects, Allard was ranked as the No. 37 prospect in Baseball America’s preseason Top 100, and No. 3 among Braves prospects behind shortstop Dansby Swanson and second baseman Ozzie Albies. He was the 14th overall pick in the 2015 draft out of San Clemente High School, and draft experts said Allard would have gone significantly higher if he’d not been hurt in his senior year.

Allard was 8-3 with a 2.98 ERA in 16 starts last season in rookie league and low Single-A, totaling 95 strikeouts with 25 walks and five homers allowed in 87 2/3 innings.