As has been well documented, Josh Hamilton’s road back into baseball got a huge boost when he was selected in MLB’s Rule 5 draft by the Chicago Cubs, who quickly flipped him to the Cincinnati Reds. Being a Rule 5 pick – Hamilton had to stay on the team’s major league roster, or be returned to the Devil rays. He stuck throughout the entire 2007 season, and the rest as they say – is history.
This year’s Rule 5 draft could have a similar story in it. Marlins first round draft pick Jeff Allison is expected to be available for teams to select. MLB.com has a story up detailing Allison’s path. It is eerily similar to Hamilton’s. Star baseball player + drugs = trouble. Allison has bottomed out at times, but he has also clawed his way back – both to a clean, sober life and into professional baseball. He pitched a full season in 2008 – 120 innings for the Marlins Class A Advanced team. Its not the big leagues, but it is baseball.
The story has a lot of input on Allison’s baseball future and potential from scouts who have been watching him play for the past while. The consensus seems to be – Allison is a definite maybe. I really hope he gets a shot at the big leagues, whether the Rule 5 draft is his ticket or not, I’d like to see Jeff Allison pitching in the majors. And if he doesn’t get that far – I hope even more fervently that he keeps his life in order. Good luck, Jeff.