Jay Allen is a three-sport star at the high school level. Allen, a senior at John Carroll Catholic High School in Florida, is a dynamic athlete with an intriguing set of tools, especially on the baseball field.
Allen is a verbal commit to the University of Florida for baseball. He also is a three-star football prospect who is considering playing both sports at the collegiate level. That is if he even makes it to college, though.
After performing well on the summer showcase circuit against high-end high school pitchers, Allen is receiving professional interest. Pro scouts believe Allen, an outfielder, could be a first-round pick in July’s MLB draft.
Although he’s eager to go through the draft process, Allen is trying not to get caught up in the attention and expectations associated with the draft.
“It can kind of be challenging not knowing how scouts feel about you,” Allen said. “I have been taught to just not worry about it and worry about my game and what I can control. It has been a fun process. I am glad I can be on that draft prospect list.”
Allen is a 6-foot-2, 190-pound center fielder who is athletic and possesses above-average speed. He is always a threat to steal when he gets on base, while his speed also allows him to cover plenty of ground in the outfield.
“I believe just my ability to get on base and then able to steal bases is something that is a strength of mine,” Allen said. “I just try to put the bat on the ball and use my speed to my advantage.”
Allen has the speed, route-running ability, and arm strength to stick in center field long-term.
Offensively, the right-handed hitter consistently put the ball in play against hard-throwing pitchers over the summer. He also showed an improved ability to barrel up pitches.
The biggest question scouts have regarding Allen’s offensive ability is his in-game power. He has plenty of room to add strength to his frame and believes that it is only a matter of time before he develops more into a power hitter.
“I just want to get stronger,” Allen said. “I’m trying to get to that in-game pop. It shows up a lot when scouts aren’t there. But when scouts are there, they are just trying to see me hit the ball with more power. I feel like I’m not really a big power hitter, but I am just trying to implement more power into my game.”
Allen is a baseball-only commit to Florida. While other college programs have exhibited an interest in him as a two-sport athlete, Florida’s football program already has two quarterback commitments in the 2021 class.
In the months leading up to his sophomore year, he committed to Florida, informing the coaches a day after he received the offer. But since then, he has received numerous football offers, including from Air Force, Coastal Carolina, FIU, Georgia Southern, and Grambling State.
Although Florida has “always been a great interest” of his, Allen hasn’t ruled out playing football at the collegiate level.
“Right now, I am just going with the flow,” Allen said. “It is just a baseball focus at Florida. Right now, it is a one-sport thing. I definitely am in the process of thinking about football and if I really want to give it up.”
Allen’s senior baseball season will be pivotal in determining his draft status. He isn’t trying to focus on his future, whether that’s pro baseball or college. Instead, he hopes to have a productive senior season and improve his skills on the diamond.
“I want to get back to that state championship run that I had my freshman year,” Allen said. “I also want to be consistent and not have a slump during my high school season. I just want to use all my tools in my game, especially for the scouts when they are there.”
Read more in-depth stories on top 2021 MLB draft prospects here.
Dan Zielinski III has covered the MLB draft for six years. He’s interviewed 253 of the top draft prospects in that period, including three No. 1 overall picks. Multiple publications, including Baseball America, USA Today, MLB.com and The Arizona Republic, have quoted his work, while he’s appeared on radio stations as a “MLB draft expert.” Follow him on Twitter @DanZielinski3.