As a guy that bats from both sides of the plate and mans four different positions in the field, Blake Allemand is easily the most versatile player on the Biloxi Shuckers.
Even though his defensive flexibility might be his key to moving up the ranks, the story behind his ability to switch-hit is far more interesting.
Two swings are better than one isn’t really a saying, but it could be for Blake Allemand. “I have more power right-handed because it’s my natural side, but I think I’m an overall better hitter left-handed.”
Allemand has been perfecting his craft as a switch-hitter since he was 13. That’s when he found himself seeking a second opinion at a Texas ranch that just so happened to belong to the father of one of the most revered Atlanta Braves of all-time. “My Dad was like hey Mr. Jones, can you take a look at my son’s swing to see if it’s worth pursuing? As you obviously know, because Chipper Jones is one of the best switch hitters of all time. So he looked at it and he was like yeah, that’s a good left-handed swing. I would pursue it and keep working on it, so he was kind of the guy that gave me the green light to keep working on it.”
Another 13 years later, it’s still a work in progress. “Man, being a switch hitter is nice but at the same time it’s very difficult. Because you have to work on two swings at all times and it’s double the work and I’ll tell you as I’m sure many other switch hitters will tell you, it’s very hard to have both swings feeling good at the same time.”
So, maybe two swings aren’t better than one. “You better believe that whatever side I’m hitting bad on, that’s the side I’m hitting on that day. It’s a constant grind. So if I’m feeling a lefty, I’ve got to work on the righty. And it kind of just flips back and forth so it’s very nice to have it, but at the same time it requires a lot more work so it’s a challenge.”
A challenge that got Allemand drafted in the fifth round by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2015. Over the past two seasons, the former Texas A&M Aggie has played 213 minor league games, all with the Shuckers, making him the longest tenured player on this year’s roster.
But, if his call to Triple A ever does come at some point this season, just know he can pick up the phone with either hand. “That’s obviously the end goal for everyone in here but at the same time you can’t really focus on moving up because a lot of that is out of your control. It’s about what happens in front of you, AAA, the organization, the GM’s, the farm directors and all that stuff, so all I can do is worry about playing as best I can play and that’s all my focus is this year is try to do the best I can and play as well as I possibly can and let the rest take care of itself.”
Allemand is one of just two switch-hitters on the roster, the other being Cooper Hummel. Yesterday, Allemand was batting out of the two-hole against William Carey.