Matt Allan has the stuff to pitch at the top of the Mets' rotation, perhaps as soon as 2023. And as he spends spring training in big league camp, he has been paired with Jacob deGrom -- the perfect mentor.
Allan, who will likely open the 2021 season with High-A Brooklyn, has been told by the Mets to pepper deGrom with questions and learn as much as he can.
"I've been pretty fortunate that it seems like everything that I do, I'm paired with (Jacob) deGrom, which is obviously awesome," Allan told reporters on Thursday via Zoom. "To be paired with arguably the best pitcher in all of baseball. I think probably the biggest thing that was kind of eye-opening that he stressed to me . ... not to overcomplicate things.
"He said the game became easier for him when he stopped overcomplicating things, overcomplicating what is this exact pitch doing constantly, checking the analytics, checking this. And he said it started to become easier when he just focused on 'how am I gonna attack this guy and how am I gonna get him out?'"
The 19-year-old Allan first started working with and getting pointers from deGrom earlier this offseason when facilities started opening back up in Florida
"Just seeing him throw and the way that he goes about his business, just the focus and intent. You see why the guy is a back-to-back Cy Young winner," Allan said, adding that the Mets told him at that point that he would be paired with deGrom at spring training.
"Ricky (Bones) kind of told me, 'Hey, deGrom has had positive things to say about you and you're gonna be following him in spring training," Allan explained. "You're gonna be in his group. I think the best thing for me that I've noticed with deGrom is it's a two-way conversation. It's not me constantly going up to him saying hi and talking. He comes up to me a fair share."
Allan has also been helped a lot by Marcus Stroman, who recently showed Allan his curve ball grip.
"Meeting (Marcus) Stroman, I think jut the type of person he is and how much he cares for the young players and how much he's really out to just help you. He's not looking for any publicity to say he's gonna help you or anything like that. He's truly out there just to help you."
Like all minor leaguers, Allan had to deal with the cancellation of last season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. And Allan, whose mother and sister are nurses and have been on the front lines, said the Mets set him and the team's other minor leaguers up well during the time off.
"I think really just the Mets staff, the Mets coaching, they did such a good job of asking sure that not only myself but all of the players were in great hands," Allan said. "They just did such a good job making sure we were throwing, staying in shape, asking 'hey, how are you doing physically? How are you doing mentally?' I think that was probably a big thing that guys struggled with."
Allan added that getting the call to the Mets' alternate site in Brooklyn last season and his participation in instructs also helped a lot.
"I don't know how many innings I threw, but for the amount of time I was on the mound I think it really set me up well this year to have a full, healthy season."