Monday, December 8, 2008

36. Jeff Allison

36. Jeff Allison -RHP - 6'2 - 195lbs
(last year: 37)

Because of the Marlins record in 2002, they had the 16th overall pick in the 2003 draft. They decided on the right-handed Jeff Allison from Veterans Memorial HS, in Peabody, Massachusetts. In his senior season at VMHS, Allison went 9-0, 0,00era with 142 strikeouts in 64 innings, giving up just 13 hits, nine walked and 1 unearned run. He only fell to the Marlins at 16 because of bonus demands, but that didn’t scare the Marlins away as they gave him a $1.85mil bonus. Right away he was compared to Marlins pitcher Josh Beckett and some believed he would be on the same kind of fast track that Josh was on. Allison had the best fastball (92-97mph) and curveball (80-86mph with nasty break) of any pitcher in the draft. In his first 9 major league innings, Allison didn’t allow a run. He was slated to debut for the low-A Greensboro Grasshoppers in 2004, but he took a major detour. Jeff nearly died after overdosing on the drugs oxycontin and heroine. After what looked he got his act together, Jeff made his Greensboro debut in 2005. Because of the layoff Allison’s stuff wasn’t nearly as good, but there were flashes of brilliance. His fastball was down to the high 80s-low 90s, but the big curveball was still there. He improved start by start and by the end of the year, he was going 6-7 innings in each start.

Again it looked like his career was getting back on track. Then in August of 2006 he overdosed again. Massachusetts police found Allison unconscious in an apartment building. Rescue workers revived Allison at the scene, and he was hospitalized in Winchester, Mass., and later released. In October of 2006, Jeff was arrested after an officer found him driving what was reportedly a stolen Dodge Ram. Inside the truck were heroin and drug paraphernalia, specifically syringes. He was facing 3 felony charges. He has since been able to get his life back on track.

His season in Jupiter this year was a mixed bag. He pitched great in his first10 starts of the year and then got hit hard towards the end of May and all of June. His arm got tired down the stretch but that was to be expected of him. Jeff no longer has the 95mph fastball he once had as he mainly works in the upper 80s and can reach 91-92 on occasion. His curveball shows glimpses of the table-dropper he once had. His changeup is still an above average pitch. The Marlins chose not to place him on the 40 man roster this year, meaning he is eligible to be taken in the Rule 5 Draft. There’s a great chance that he is not selected and if that is the case, he will spend the season in AA Carolina.

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