Stetson Allie to be Converted to a Hitter


Stetson Allie will be converted to a hitter.

According to Dejan Kovacevic and Rob Biertempfel, the Pittsburgh Pirates will be converting 2010 2nd round draft pick Stetson Allie from a pitcher to a hitter. Allie struggled on the mound this year in West Virginia, walking eight in just 0.2 innings of work. He showed improved command in Spring Training, but his control still suffered at times, and completely fell apart in West Virginia.

I saw Allie hitting last fall in a pitcher’s only home run derby. Allie beat Brooks Pounders in the finals, hitting several shots to center field at Pirate City. When he was drafted he was considered one of the best power hitters in the 2010 prep class. He also had an arm that could touch triple digits, with a plus slider.

It’s kind of a surprise to see him making the switch this early, especially a few weeks after Pirates’ General Manager Neal Huntington saidthat they didn’t want to create any undue drama, and they were continuing their plan with him as a starting pitcher. He immediately becomes one of the best power hitting prospects in the system, although it will be interesting to see how the rest of his hitting goes after being a pitcher for the last two and a half years.

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Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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  • st1300b

    This is big news, and i would imagine has a lot to do with Stetson’s frustrations on the mound and just wanting to have fun again. I would just say though that if his bat isn’t what they think it is that they put him back on the mound sooner rather than later.

    • Ian Rothermund

      Agreed. I think he should do both…hit and pitch in relief. If he had gone to college he would’ve done it there. Maybe confidence would breed confidence, and at the very least he’d stay involved on the mound.

      • Lee Young

        Didn’t Brooks Kieschnick do that for Mil 03-04?

  • RandyLinville

    I’m not sure which is more of a failure by the front office:
    1. Giving a $2.25 million bonus to a scatter arm pitcher or
    2. Having such an enormous lack of hitting talent in the minors that converting said scatter arm pitcher to a hitter immediately makes him ‘one of the best power hitting prospects in the system’

    • Ian Rothermund

      I disagree. The fact that he was wild wasn’t as much because he was just naturally wild, he just hadn’t had much experience. He only started pitching when he was like 17. This really begs the question, what the hell were his little league coaches doing that they never put this kid on the mound. I mean whenever I played and pitched a day, I would start and usually bat third or fourth…you can do both, and trust me, I had nowhere near the physical tools he has.

      • Ian Rothermund

        I also disagree because, to say that they just drafted some “scatter armed guy,” I think suggests that he somehow wasn’t a top 15 rated guy that year; and he was. He fell due to signability, not because of a lack of ability.

        • RandyLinville

          If a lack of experience was the issue with his control, then why give up on him after a couple of seasons? Give him two or three more seasons and see what he does. He’s only 21. The FO must see something larger/deeper than merely a lack of experience to be converting him to a hitter.

          I have no problem with the Pirates choosing him. I’m not a talent scout. So, all I can do is trust the experts.

          My problem is twofold:
          1. How can you spend that much money on a scatter arm pitcher regardless of how much talent he has or where he is ranked as a prospect without a plan in place to get him straightened out? They knew he had control issues when they drafted him.
          2. How can there be such a lack of power hitters in the minors that a guy who hasn’t been purposefully swinging a bat the last couple of seasons become one of the organizations top shelf power hitting prospects?

          The FO failed here. They failed to convert a high risk/high reward draft pick. They failed to put any semblance of power hitting offensive talent in the minors. Hopefully he can make it to the Majors as a hitter. I’m definitely pulling for him because the big club needs some power.

          • Lee Young

            Not sure the FO failed, although, if you want to say they did, fine. That’s like saying that the FO failed Steve Blass. Sometimes guys just fail on their own despite the best teaching in the world. Why did I get an “A” in chemistry and math and my buddy got C’s. We had the same teacher and were equally smart, supposedly…lol!

            The overall point is that, either he or the FO or both (we still don’t know what led to the decision) made the change.

            It is what it is….I was never sold on him as a pitcher, so its not that big of a deal to me.

          • leadoff

            Who says they gave up on him, maybe he just does not want to pitch anymore? I have seen this guy play 3rd and pitch in a high school allstar game, his bat was a lot more impressive than his 3rd base play or his pitching, he does have power.
            In the majors their are two positions that are highly coveted, starting pitching and power, not relief pitching, if he can’t/won’t pitch, then there is always the possibility that he will turn out to be a power hitter, I like the move.

        • F Lang

          Allie’s dad is a scout so he is not as green as everyone thinks. He may have not had the polish of Taillon but he wasn’t completely uncoached either.

  • James Vargo

    Drafting pitchers is such a risk. Look at what the Pirates gleaned out of a decade of drafting pitchers in the 90’s and 00″s: Maholm, Duke, and Benson. Prep pitchers is even riskier. I always thought JVB should have been tried as a hitter, and so did the rest of the league, as I recall. Now we have to hope Stetson is the next Rick Ankiel. I think he should do both too!

  • duckwoes

    Seems odd to me that they made this switch so quickly. But, on the bright side, if he makes it to the big club as a hitter, what a weapon he could be should they play an 18 inning game in 2020!!

  • Marcus J

    I don’t think Stetson Allie’s heart was ever in to being a pitcher. He gave up that dream awful quickly.

  • Todd Smith

    Most seem to agree that if Allie had gone into the draft as a hitter, he probably would have been taken somewhere near the 3rd round instead of the 2nd round. So it’s not exactly a huge stretch to turn him back into a hitter, as he clearly has a lot of talent there. If in fact he is now one of the better hitting prospects in the system, then that’s a good thing. Seems like we need hitters more than future possible closers anyway.

    • Tim Williams

      I don’t think it’s a stretch to turn him in to a hitter. I just think it’s kind of sudden, and his value is lower as a hitter.

      He’s not one of the best hitting prospects. Just has some of the best power.

  • F Lang

    Allie was a very good hitting prospect coming out of High School so it is not like this is a total catastrophe. We did obviously overpay for him at 2.25mil as a pitcher because if we knew he would have had to be a hitter coming out of HS he probably would have gotten under a mil. I wonder if he will start in rookie ball or ss-a because of his age. He was already a little bit of an older HS senior so he is the same age as a college junior hitter but with 800 less plate appearances of experience.

  • Reed Miller

    He just needed some guidance from a wise older catcher and an older local woman who would teach him about poetry.

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