Matt Allan: New York Mets top prospect to undergo Tommy John surgery

Matt Allan: New York Mets’ Top Prospect


NEW YORK — Right-hander Matt Allan, the Mets’ top pitching prospect, will undergo Tommy John surgery in the coming weeks to repair a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament, the club announced Friday evening.

Allan, the team’s third-round pick in 2019, underwent a physical examination and MRI that revealed the tear earlier this week, the team said. Dr. David Altchek, the Mets’ medical director, confirmed the diagnosis.

Typically, pitchers need 12 to 18 months to recover and rehab after Tommy John surgery, meaning Allan will miss all of 2021 and most of — if not all of — the 2022 season. It’s unfortunate news for a 20-year-old with so much promise.

Those in the organization and around baseball have raved about Allan, who is the Mets’ No. 3 overall prospect on MLB Pipeline.

“Matt Allan is one of the more special kids in terms of maturity I’ve ever talked to,” said current Mets assistant hitting coach Kevin Howard, formerly the director of player development, in an interview during spring training. “It’s unbelievable this guy’s makeup. He acts and talks like a guy who’s already completely matured. His focus is exactly where I’d want a young pitcher’s focus to be.”

Brett Baty, others react to the news

Said Brett Baty, another top prospect and Allan’s close friend, when asked how Allan compared to big league pitchers he faced in spring training:“He’s not far off at all. He’s right there for sure. He just needs to clean up a few things but it’s definitely not that long of a road ahead for him for sure.”

Said Dave Therneau, a Stetson baseball assistant coach who organized the workouts during which Jacob deGrom began mentoring Allan: “Matt’s big league-ready. He’s close.”

Allan’s procedure is hopefully just a small bump in the road. Unfortunately, Tommy John surgery isn’t uncommon for pitchers these days. DeGrom underwent the surgeryNoah Syndergaard had the procedure last spring and isn’t scheduled to return until June. And because Allan is so young, this doesn’t mark the end of his career and it doesn’t mean he’ll never be the same.

Matt Allan was excited for 2021 season

A week and a day before this unfortunate news broke, Allan spent some time on Zoom discussing his excitement for 2021, which would have been his first full season in professional baseball (the pandemic eliminated 2020). Two years ago, he left high school with a terrific fastball and curveball. Last year, he added and refined a changeup.

He now has three pitches and, because he didn’t feel any one of them lagged behind another, he made it a goal to improve all of them this season. He was ready to pitch against other uniforms, and was scheduled to begin the year at High-A Brooklyn.

“I think I had the most nerves going into big-league camp and I think being there and being around the guys and being around a lot of the veterans, I think it really calmed me down,” Allan said that day. “Now being in minor-league camp, I think I really feel dominant. I think facing some of the big leaguers and 40-man guys — generally older guys — to facing my level, High-A guys, Double-A guys, I think honestly I just feel pretty dominant and I’m looking to take that into the season.”

Baty and Allan, who are part of the same draft class, have faced one another dozens of times. It’s a tough battle for both of them.

Matt Allan’s high heater, maturity stand out

Asked about the toughest part of facing Allan, Baty recently said: “Probably just his heater up in the zone because it plays. It plays like 102. It’s a 98 up in the zone, plays like 102. And then he’s also got the dirty changeup to get me out low and away. He’s just a tough pitcher in general.”

His stuff might be close to big league-ready, though the Mets almost certainly wouldn’t have needed him this season.

His maturity — both on and off the mound — also impresses those who have met him.

“Everything is directed toward being a great baseball player, both on and off the field, in being a good teammate, in his routines and working hard,” Howard said in a February interview. “It’s not just about competing in the game, and it’s really hard to get guys bought into that when they’re young. It’s an unbelievable advantage for us that he’s already so far down the road in his maturity.”

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