The Pirates Prospects 2012 Prospect Guide will be released later this week, featuring over 250 prospect reports, the 2012 top 50 prospects, a feature on the top four pitching prospects in the system, and the most comprehensive coverage of the Pirates’ farm system that you can find. While the top 50 prospects are exclusive to the book, we will be releasing the top ten prospects over the next week. Be sure to purchase your copy of the book on the products page of the site.
To recap the countdown so far:
10. Nick Kingham
We continue the countdown with the number eight prospect, Stetson Allie.
8. Stetson Allie, RHP
There are two views on the upside for Allie. The first view has him as a future star closer, with no chance of being a starter. This is a safe projection, as it doesn’t require any patience for Allie to develop as a starter. The other view looks at Allie’s fastball/slider combo, and the fact that he’s only been pitching for two years, and gives him a shot at being a starter.
Allie has some major control issues, which come from his lack of pitching experience. He has trouble repeating his delivery due to that lack of experience, which led to some massive control issues in 2011. The Pirates moved him to the bullpen in the second half of the season so that he could take things one inning at a time, focusing more on repeating his delivery and less on stretching his stuff out over multiple innings.
The focus on his fastball made a lot of people forget about Allie’s plus slider. He didn’t use the pitch much in 2011, especially out of the bullpen where he was throwing exclusively fastballs. His slider rivals Gerrit Cole’s for the best in the system. In the past he’s gotten his fastball up to hit triple digits, but the Pirates had him slow things down to the low-to-mid 90s this year so that he could focus on controlling the pitch.
If you watched Allie throughout the year, you could see the change in his command of the fastball. He went from having zero control of the pitch in Spring Training, to being able to work both sides of the plate in his last outing of the season. He brushed batters off the plate, then immediately went to the outside corner for a strike.
Calling Allie a future closer is a safe bet, but it’s not accurate. Allie is a high risk/high reward project. There’s a lot of upside if he can learn how to pitch, and he’s got a lot of time to get that experience under his belt. It might be that he takes his plus fastball and plus slider and becomes a closer one day. He’s only been pitching for two years, so it’s far too early to rule out his chances of eventually realizing his potential as a starter.