Mets have prospect Matt Allan learning from Jacob deGrom

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PORT ST. LUCIE — COVID-19 protocols frown upon Matt Allan attaching himself to Jacob deGrom’s hip.

But within reason, the Mets have told their top pitching prospect to do just that.

In his first big league spring training, Allan has been grouped with deGrom — no coincidence — and the 19-year-old right-hander is relishing the chance to watch, learn from and talk to the two-time Cy Young winner.

“[Minor league pitching coordinator Ricky Meinhold] basically said, ‘Wear him out with questions. He’s prepared, he knows you’re going to talk his ear off. Absolutely wear him out with any questions that you have,’ ” Allan said Thursday after a workout. “The chances that I’ve been around him and felt like it’s been a good situation to ask, without intruding on his work, I’ve asked an array of questions and he’s always been so good to give me an honest answer and give me an explanation, not just say, ‘This is what I do.’ He’s been really good about saying, ‘This is what I do and this is why I do it.’ ”

It’s an invaluable experience for Allan, the Mets’ third-round pick in 2019 who they were able to sign with an over-slot $2.5 million signing bonus, especially to make up for lost time. He made it to Low-A Brooklyn for a playoff run in his first year with the organization before COVID-19 threw a wrench into what should have been his first full season of minor league baseball.

Mets spring training Jacob deGrom, Matt Allan
Jacob deGrom (l.) and Matt Allan (r.) at Mets spring training.
Corey Sipkin (2)

Allan did get added to the Mets’ player pool in August, providing him a chance to pitch at the alternate site in Brooklyn and then again in their instructional league. He credited Meinhold and the Mets for keeping him in a good program before then, a combination he believes has him in a good position for a full season of work this year.

It was during MLB’s COVID-19 shutdown last year that Allan first got connected with deGrom, with the two both throwing at Stetson. That helped break the ice for this spring, with Allan feeling more comfortable around him and saying their conversations have been a two-way street.

“He listens to guys around him, he’s looking for that experience, things he may encounter in the near future,” manager Luis Rojas said. “The maturity level is the one thing that stands out, and then when you see the stuff, that’s when it’s eye-popping for real.”

Rojas said he would like to see Allan in a game this spring, if possible. In the meantime, he can be found on a backfield or bullpen near deGrom.

“I’m a big competitor and at the end of the day, I want to win,” said Allan, who has also picked Marcus Stroman’s brain. “For me, being in Brooklyn two years ago winning the championship, I want to do that again. Wherever I’m at, I want to be part of a championship team.”

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