The Fringe Five is a weekly regular-season exercise, introduced a few years ago by the present author, wherein that same author utilizes regressed stats, scouting reports, and also his own fallible intuition to identify and/or continue monitoring the most compelling fringe prospects in all of baseball.
Central to the exercise, of course, is a definition of the word fringe, a term which possesses different connotations for different sorts of readers. For the purposes of the column this year, a fringe prospect (and therefore one eligible for inclusion in the Five) is any rookie-eligible player at High-A or above who (a) received a future value grade of 45 or less from Dan Farnsworth during the course of his organizational lists and who (b) was omitted from the preseason prospect lists produced by Baseball America, Baseball Prospectus, and John Sickels, and also who (c) is currently absent from a major-league roster. Players appearing on an updated prospect list or, otherwise, selected in the first round of the current season’s amateur draft will also be excluded from eligibility.
In the final analysis, the basic idea is this: to recognize those prospects who are perhaps receiving less notoriety than their talents or performance might otherwise warrant.
Greg Allen, CF, Cleveland (Profile)
While all the prospects who appear among the Five feature some manner of promising statistical profile, that’s not the only criterion for inclusion here. As noted in the introduction to this post, the author also utilizes scouting reports and his own fallible intuition. Allen appears here today due both to the strength of his statistical indicators and also the scouting reports. But he appears here most expressly because something about his name and performance and skill set resonate within the author.
These sort of stirrings oughtn’t be ignored. Writes Ralph Waldo Emerson in his essay “Self-Reliance”:
A man should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the lustre of the firmament of bards and sages. Yet he dismisses without notice his thought, because it is his. In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts: they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty. Great works of art have no more affecting lesson for us than this. They teach us to abide by our spontaneous impression with good-humored inflexibility then most when the whole cry of voices is on the other side. Else, to-morrow a stranger will say with masterly good sense precisely what we have thought and felt all the time, and we shall be forced to take with shame our own opinion from another.
It isn’t the author’s intention to let some dumb stranger say with masterly good sense to-morrow what I have thought and felt the whole time — namely, that the most likely outcome for Greg Allen is to become an average major leaguer. For that reason, Greg Allen appears here among the Five.
For other reasons, here’s video footage of Greg Allen recently homering:
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