Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

ACD's Allen Falls in Draft, Shuns Gators; Pitcher Taken Later Than Expected, but Will Try to Improve Status in Summer League Instead of with UF

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

ACD's Allen Falls in Draft, Shuns Gators; Pitcher Taken Later Than Expected, but Will Try to Improve Status in Summer League Instead of with UF

Article excerpt

Byline: CHASE GOODBREAD

When Mike Allen fell to the Twins in the 13th round of the Major League Baseball draft on Tuesday, his bad news figured to be the Florida Gators' good news.

Turns out, the news was bad for both.

"I'm not going to Florida," said Allen, a Gators signee and the ace pitcher of Arlington Country Day's state runner-up team. "Obviously, I'm not taking 13th-round money. So I've decided I'm going to play in the Connie Mack [summer] League in West Virginia, and hopefully pitch well enough that I'll get a better offer. If I don't, I'll go to a junior college."

Allen said he told teams in pre-draft discussions that it would take at least fifth-round money -- around $200,000 -- for him to forego his scholarship to UF. Drafted by the Twins long after his expectations, his scholarship to Florida was a better option than accepting a fraction of the signing bonus for which he had hoped.

But even more appealing was the 18-under summer league, which will take the right-hander to West Virginia. With a strong performance there, Allen hopes to have added leverage with the Twins for a better contract offer. The decision also meant, however, that Allen will never pitch for the Gators.

"To go to Florida I would have to be enrolled by summer two, and if I go to West Virginia I can't do that," Allen said. "It was [a] very tough [decision]. It affects the rest of my life."

The Twins will hold Allen's rights for 51 weeks, and he will be eligible to be re-drafted in 2006 if the Twins do not sign him within a week of next year's draft. If Allen and the Twins do not reach an agreement, Allen will sign with a junior college program, from which he could be re-drafted next year. Signees to four-year colleges such as Florida are not draft eligible after their freshman years, a key factor in Allen's decision.

Allen was 10-2 for the Apaches this season. He entered the state championship game with a 1.33 ERA and 121 strikeouts in 61 innings, but was touched for six earned runs in the state final against Miami Florida Christian. A four-year starter for the Apaches, Allen's fastball has developed consistent low-90s velocity and scouts consider his curveball a "plus pitch," meaning above average by pro standards. …

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