Commentary

Jeff Allison on comeback trail

Updated: April 30, 2009, 10:53 AM ET
By Kevin Goldstein | Baseball Prospectus
If you root for Josh Hamilton

Jeff Allison, RHP, Marlins (High-A Jupiter)
Wednesday's stats: 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 8 K
… Then you gotta root for this guy, but for some reason, he's still on the wrong end of many jokes. The best high school arm in the 2003 draft, Allison took a self-destructive route similar to Hamilton's, falling out of baseball and into addiction, mostly to heroin and its more man-made version, OxyContin. He doesn't throw in the upper 90s anymore, but the 24-year-old still has plus velocity and a solid breaking ball, with last night's outing being arguably the best of his career, which unfortunately consists of just 50 games in the six years since he signed. Nobody would have said it a year ago, but he might have a chance to get to the big leagues as a reliever.

A guy both stat-heads and scouts can love

James Darnell, 3B, Padres (Low-A Fort Wayne)
Wednesday's stats: 3-for-3, 2 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB
To many, Darnell seemed like a first-round talent in last year's draft, and he's already making many scratch their heads wondering how he fell to the 69th overall pick. He's a very good athlete with power, average speed, solid defensive tools and crazy-good makeup, but he also performs. After bashing in the Northwest League during his pro debut, Darnell is picking up where he left off. The .296 batting average might not blow you away, but the .480 on-base percentage and .611 slugging should, as 10 of his 16 hits have gone for extra bases while he's drawn a ridiculous 20 walks in just 54 at-bats.

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