His story has been told several times, but it just gets more interesting with seemingly every at-bat.
Stetson Allie was drafted by the Pirates in the second round in 2010 and the club handed the hard-throwing right-hander from Ohio a hefty $2.25 million signing bonus. His performances on the mound were inconsistent at State College and West Virginia and eventually a decision had to be made. Would Allie continue to try and work through his command issues on the mound or attempt to make the conversion to a position player?
Allie, as you probably know by now, made the move to the infield and started his transformation from being a possible bust as a pitching prospect to being one of the most talked about players in the minor leagues for all the right reasons.
His stat line is more than impressive. Through 19 games with West Virginia this season he has a slash line of .367/.435/.658 with six home runs, 20 RBIs and four stolen bases.
Asked what Allie has been doing that has helped him be so successful in the first few weeks of this season, West Virginia manager Michael Ryan said the way Allie attacks at-bats has made him into a dangerous hitter.
“His approach at the plate,” Ryan said. “When he stays to right-center is when he’s at his best. He lets the ball get deep and he’s such a strong guy he can hit the ball out of the park anywhere. He stays on every pitch when he’s looking to right center.”
Allie’s numbers in his first season away from the mound left something to be desired. He had a .213/.340/.654 line with three home runs, 19 RBIs and 50 strikeouts in 150 at-bats with the Gulf Coast League Pirates. This season he’s been working with West Virginia hitting coach Orlando Merced and the results have spoken for themselves.
“I’m just getting my work in everyday and staying with the same approach,” Allie said after the Power’s win against Hagerstown last Sunday. “Yeah, I had three punchouts today but that’s the game of baseball. I’m just going to stick with the same thing I’ve been doing and it’ll be another day tomorrow. I’m seeing it well. My approach has been awesome.”
Through Wednesday’s game his strikeout numbers are still a bit higher than you like to see (24 in 79 at-bats) and he struggled some with breaking pitches, but when Allie does make contact (and he certainly has) good things tend to happen. His .367 batting average in ninth in the South Atlantic League, while his six home runs and 20 RBIs are each second-best in the SAL. He has also shown some patience at the plate with 11 walks.
“The work that he puts in at the cage and with Orlando, to see the results so quickly is pretty amazing for what he’s doing right now,” Ryan said. “He’s doing just fine right now. It just shows you the work that he’s putting in. It just shows his confidence and when he’s confident he’s one of the best players on the field. We’ll try to keep him as confident as we can.”
Allie admitted the transition has not been an easy one, but said that he loves what he does and he wouldn’t change anything.
“Just the everyday grind,” Allie said of the toughest part of moving from pitcher to first base. “There’s days where I feel like I can’t even pick up a bat but I’ve got to grind through it. I love everyday.”