While Jay Allen II has played in just 12 games this season for the Dayton Dragons after spending a short stint on the injured list, he’s made his presence felt throughout the Midwest League so far. On Wednesday night he put together arguably the best game of his career. In the 1st inning of the game he hit a 423-foot home run. In the 8th inning he came through with another home run – this time a 380-foot blast. Between the two home runs he also walked twice.

The two home runs moved Allen II into a tie for 2nd place in the league in home runs. Teammate Cam Collier leads the league with seven. Allen II is tied with three other players at five – but they’ve played in 18, 21, and 23 games while he’s sitting at 12 games played.

The right-handed hitting outfielder isn’t just showing off power this season, though – already setting a career high in home runs – but he’s hitting .386 (17-44) and he has as many walks as he has strikeouts – eight. Not to be limited as just a hitter, he’s also stolen five bases in six tries.

This is the third year that Jay Allen II has been in Dayton. The 30th overall pick in the 2021 draft played in 18 games with the Dragons at the end of the 2022 season. Last year he played in just 25 games with Dayton after multiple injuries cost him much of the year. He struggled to hit in both of those seasons, posting a .599 OPS in 2022 and a .479 OPS in 2023. But this season he’s been on an absolute tear to begin the year.

He’s always had some raw power, but he’d had trouble tapping into it with any sort of consistency. Last season he hit two home runs. One was on a rehab assignment out in Arizona. The other came with Dayton and went 461 feet and landed in someone’s yard in Midland, Michigan.

Allen II is not having any issues this season finding that raw power (well, maybe not 461-foot home run raw power) this season. The approach so far has been improved, too. So far he’s walked and struck out 14.8% of the time.

A new Zach Maxwell experience

This season has gone about as well as one could hope for when it comes to Zach Maxwell. The reliever pitched for the 8th time in 2024 and for the 8th time he exited the game without having allowed a run. He’s now thrown 9.1 shutout innings this season, given up just two hits, he has walked four batters, but he’s also racked up 19 strikeouts this year.

On top of just being dominant this season, the big righty did something for the first time in his career on Wednesday night….. he pitched on back-to-back nights for the first time as a professional. That’s kind of a crazy thing to type about a guy who was drafted in 2022 and was healthy for all of 2023. But perhaps even crazier than that, until April 14th of this season he had never even pitched twice in a 3-day span in his career.

He has pitched multiple innings at times in his career, which does play into that a little bit, but that one of if not the top relief prospect in the organization took a season and a half to pitch in back-to-back games is a bit wild.

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Doug Gray is the owner and operator of this website and has been running it since 2006 in one variation or another. You can follow him on twitter @dougdirt24, or follow the site on Facebook. and Youtube.

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8 Responses

  1. The Duke

    I can’t think of anyone in recent memory who has had as much of an improvement over one offseason as Jay Allen. It’s to the point to where I’m wondering if he was still playing a bit hurt when I saw him last season because his swing looks so much more in control this year. Despite playing parts of 3 years in Dayton, he’s still only 21 years old. If he can get the injuries under control and stay healthy for an extended period of time, he’s going to start getting national recognition.

    • Stock

      I think you are right Duke. EDLC went from an average player in the DSL to a top 100 prospect but that included the lost 2020 season. It was a very long offseason. I am very impressed with Allen. I know it has been only 12 games but the K% and BB% are starting to normalize.

    • Mike

      Thanks Duke, I was curious if Allen was now considered old for that particular level. Glad to see he’s not. Or at least isn’t egregiously so.
      Still I wonder if he might get fast tracked if he can show this is more than just a hot month.

    • Doug Gray

      And those 3 parts of a season still only add up to about half a seasons worth of games.

    • DaveCT

      Getting a productive ML player at anytime in the draft is good, really, and getting one at the 30th pick is very good. But getting one as compensation for a one year rental who is now out of baseball is even better. Keep it up Mr. Allen II.

  2. RedsGettingBetter

    I still recall when Jay Allen after being drafted in 2021 was considered to be a near future top 3 Reds prospect at some point. Of course that was before the trades of several players the Reds made in 2022 getting a lot of prospect from them as long as the injuries slowing his development.

  3. SELLTHETEAMBOB

    I had picked Jay Allen to be a top 100 prospect after his 1st season in minors.
    Might make it after his 4th season now??
    I think I’ll stick to being a fantasy baseball GM.

  4. JT

    Doug I appreciate reading your thoughts on the Reds and MLB and coming a long time Reds fan you’ve helped keep me up to date.