First Pitch: The Unpredictable Stetson Allie

Stetson Allie is the best hitter so far in the Pirates' system, and in the South Atlantic League.

Stetson Allie is the best hitter so far in the Pirates’ system, and in the South Atlantic League.

I have a new rule for Stetson Allie. Whatever he’s doing in Spring Training, I’m going to take the opposite and that’s going to be my prediction for the year.

Last year — when Allie was a pitcher — I thought he looked good in Spring Training. That wasn’t just me. That was the opinion of other people who were watching, whether that was scouts, other people on the site, or coaches and players. It was a continuation of what I saw at the end of the 2011 season. Allie was showing a bit more control and command of his pitches. He was starting to look like a guy who could make it to the majors as a power arm.

Then he went to West Virginia. And it was a disaster. In two appearances he recorded just two outs, giving up four runs and walking eight batters in the process. That was nothing at all like his Spring. The Pirates eventually switched him to becoming a hitter.

This year Allie didn’t look promising as a hitter. Early in camp he was swinging at everything, showing very little patience at the plate. He was striking out at least once per game when I was seeing him. In the later part of camp he started hitting better, and wasn’t striking out as frequently. But the power wasn’t there.

Then he went to West Virginia. And it was the opposite of a disaster. Tonight Allie hit his sixth homer in just 56 at-bats. He’s got a .411/.469/.804 line. He’s not striking out as much as he was last year, and he’s walking more. That was nothing at all like his Spring.

In the early part of the season, Allie ranks fourth in the South Atlantic League in average and on-base percentage. He ranks first in hits, home runs, RBIs, total bases, and slugging percentage (leading second place by 107 points). His OPS is also first, and is 105 points higher than second place.

Is he this year’s breakout player? He’s definitely on the right track. I’d caution against making any long-term projections based on about 50 at-bats. But then again, we started focusing on Alen Hanson as a breakout prospect after 104 at-bats in April, when he hit for a .410/.434/.695 line with four homers. Allie’s numbers are better across the board than Hanson’s, although he’s a few years older than Hanson was.

It’s too early to say that Allie is a breakout player. But he’s definitely on the radar. The Pirates don’t have a first base prospect in the system who can hit for plus power. If this continues with Allie, he could be that first baseman. How crazy would it be if Stetson Allie was the long-term answer at first base, and a legit power hitter? I was never on board with him moving to being a hitter, since I felt he had more upside as a pitcher. If he works out as a hitter, I will gladly say I was wrong, and it’s looking like we’re heading down that path. Of course I’m not going to project that. If I did, then based on my history at projecting Allie’s future, he’d just strike out every at-bat from here forward, and the Pirates would trade him to the Penguins so he could be a winger for when Sidney Crosby returns.

Links and Notes

**The 2013 Prospect Guide and the 2013 Annual are both available on the products page of the site. If you order them together, you’ll save $5.

Prospects

**Baseball America Releases the Draft Pick Slot Amounts.

**Adalberto Santos Placed on the Altoona DL.

**Prospect Watch: Cole Improves, Sanchez Heating Up, and Allie Stays Hot.

**Prospect Notebook: Recapping Week One in Altoona.

**Minor League Schedule: 4/17/13.

Pirates

**Can Jose Contreras Help the Pirates?.

**Pirates Option Bryan Morris to Triple-A, Call Up Vin Mazzaro.

**Pirates Pregame: Tabata, Not Snider, Starting in Right Field.

**Pirates-Cardinals Rained Out.

Tim Williams

Author: 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 AccuScore.com, 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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  • http://twitter.com/saywhatranone saywhatranone

    If and I know it is a big if… he continues hitting well through June, do you promote him to Bradenton?

    • http://pbsacademyorlando.com Slugger14

      He does not need to be on a time table. He will be promoted when the organization feels his mental and physical skill sets are ready for a promotion. It is a great story and tribute to him where he is at this point in a very young season. Great for him though. Seems to be a great kid with a solid approach to the process.

      • http://twitter.com/saywhatranone saywhatranone

        So he gets promoted when he is ready for a promotion? Got ya… thanks for the input.

  • http://pbsacademyorlando.com Slugger14

    Pirate fans need to recognize a YOUNG man that has been an organizational guy. He is not and will not be the first player to be converted. I applaud him for his approach, passion and hard work in this process. People need to understand how hard this process is at the professional level. He is sending a great message to the entire Pittsburgh Pirate organization in that, he is in it for the organization. What a perfect example for younger aspiring athletes to follow- “hard work does pay off and things don’t always go the way YOU think they will. Stetson keep believing in yourself and stand fast to your approach. A PIRATE FAN!

  • http://www.facebook.com/ronald.heberle Ronald Heberle

    I wonder if you wait that long to promote him to Bradenton. WIth Lashmet not hitting for power and Osuna struggling at Bradenton which really needs some help anyway. Would it be worthwhile to switch Osuna and Allie. I know Osuna hit for power at West Virgina last year and appeared ready to move up. Why not switch them back and see what Allie does. If he keeps hitting maybe he can be moved up to Altoona. In the meantime while he is at Bradenton if either Dickerson or Curry start getting hot at Altoona, Indy sure could use a first baseman.

    • http://www.facebook.com/andrew.smalley.35 Andrew Smalley

      I’m praying that Neal Huntington isn’t posting under the alias, “Ronald Heberle”………

      Wow….

      • http://www.facebook.com/ronald.heberle Ronald Heberle

        NO, I am not Neal Huntington.

    • http://www.facebook.com/ian.rothermund Ian Rothermund

      I’m all for saying, what if, about Allie. But just as its too early to push Allie forward, it’s even earlier to consider sending Osuna down. I’d rather see a guy struggle in the lower minors and repeat part of the next season, than send a guy from high-A back to low-A.

      • http://www.facebook.com/ronald.heberle Ronald Heberle

        While I see your point. I am not saying right now. I mean perhaps at the end of April if Allie is still hitting and Osuna is still not hitting. why wait to bring him up. Actually now that I am thinking of what the other person replied to my post. How I come across sounding like Neal Huntington I do not know since I am looking to try and move someone along faster. IF Allie was still a pitcher he would be at High A by now if not AA. I am just trying to find a way to get him back on track. I don’t think this is far fetched.

  • leadoff

    I saw Allie play 3rd base in a high school all star game and he had 3 things in my judgement, he had a strong arm, he could hit and he had a bad attitude, just looked like he did not want to play 3rd base, no real effort. I hope much of that has changed or maybe I read more into it than there was.

    • http://www.facebook.com/ian.rothermund Ian Rothermund

      He seems to just have kind of a surly attitude period. Guys doesn’t want to pitch, doesn’t want to play third. Maybe he just hates his right arm; feels like its showing him up. That’s the only logical reason that a guy would end up wanting to play first when he can throw 100. Next, we’ll hear that he’s demanded to only be a DH and pinch hitter.

    • http://pbsacademyorlando.com Slugger14

      You probably did. You obviously have not seen his body of work over the past year or so. Followed him in spring training over the past two years. Kid works his tail off great attitude and his athleticism and hard work are paying him some dividends right now. Give the kid his props man, hitting at any level in professional baseball is not an easy task. But, for you to make a statement about a KID almost (3) years ago, like you said, “I may have read more into it than it was” you most certainly did. Minor leagues has a purpose in this whole process- development! Give the kid some credit- I think he deserves that!

  • Ecbucs

    Just think if Allie becomes a good hitter and Jared Lakind is successful at pitching.

    Would be two players that the Bucs thought had higher ceilings going the other way.

    • http://pbsacademyorlando.com Slugger14

      Welcome to the world of professional baseball. Drafting these young men is a complete risk. Very few pan out but, some follow a progressive path to their ultimate dreams- “big league baseball.” Say what you want about the front office guys- it is a complete risk when they select these potential prospects. I would not want to be in their shoes!

  • http://atung.net/ Steve Zielinski

    Raw power does not include a quality hit tool. The issue with Allie will be strike zone command and the ability to master hitting junk pitches — off speed and breaking pitches. Brad Eldred and Jeff Clement had massive raw power. But…. So far, so good, however.

    WV has another older breakout candidate in Raul Fortunato. The guy has tools. And he has bat speed. He too will be a candidate to move to Bradenton if he continues to rake at WV.

    • http://twitter.com/saywhatranone saywhatranone

      I agree. Fortunato should be interesting as well. Hopefully since he is healthy those tools come out. I know I’ve read on here that he tore up the DSL a couple years ago.

  • emjayinTN

    Big, big difference between Lo A and Hi A so maybe it would be best to allow the kid to develop some confidence in at least something before trying to move him up. I would at least allow him another 50 to 100 AB’s and then evaluate. He is 22 already, so moving him should be something we would want to do as quickly as possible. Remember 2 years ago when Matt Curry was in a group of Bryce Brentz and Bryce Harper destroying Lo A pitching. Curry and Harper were sent to AA and both had problems. Brentz went to Hi A and had difficulties. Guys like Harper are often looked at as head cases because they have that attitude about them – could Allie be that type of player/pitcher? I sure as hell hope so.

  • http://pbsacademyorlando.com Slugger14

    Guys like Harper, Trout, etc. are freaks of nature. Give them their props they have been good for professional baseball and give our NEW generation a bench mark. Real high benchmark! I would take that type attitude- those KIDS can flat out play! If you can walk the walk then you can talk the talk. Do it with class though!

  • https://profiles.google.com/106508220943703406151 Kevin Anstrom

    80 power – Harper, Stanton, Hamilton, Sano, and …

    http://www.dailymail.com/Sports/Power/201304030235

  • http://www.facebook.com/lee.young.161 Lee Young

    Just curious how his fielding is over at 1b?

    Foo

  • http://pbsacademyorlando.com Slugger14

    Watching him in spring training as I eluded to someone earlier he is very athletic and above average glove, arm strength goes without saying, and looks real comfortable around the bag.
    His only errors to date at WV at (1) throwing error on a 3-6 (1) error they gave him on a bobbled pick from the SS.
    His profile at 1B is good but, that arm strength still makes you guys wonder doesn’t it. You can tell he was busy in the off-season- looks big (lean) and strong.

    • Ecbucs

      I give the Bucs credit for letting him do what he loves doing which is being a position player. I can see the Bucs wanting to try him as pitcher because of his arm but if he has a shot at being a power hitter it is good to let him take it.

      Glad to see Slugger14’s post that he is athletic and has an above average glove.

      Not that he will match this (would be great if he did) but in looking at him he reminds me of Harmon Killebrew.

      • http://atung.net/ Steve Zielinski

        Yep.

      • BDevito

        As a close relative, I’ve worked out with and watched him play for a number of years. Had the glove to play short in high school but obviously physically more suited for a corner beyond that. Really only pitched in senior year. The kid has talent; moving to first at the pro level is basically learning a 3rd completely different position in 4 years. In general people say “pitching is ahead of hitting in spring”…so to come out on a tear to start season really makes me want to believe he will continue to show progress as he gets more comfortable with a position to call home.

    • http://atung.net/ Steve Zielinski

      The Daily Mail article suggests that Allie could not cope with the demands placed on a starting pitcher. It may be that Allie was physically capable of become a star ML pitcher but failed in the low minors because his makeup — his personality — diminished his capacity to play the game. It is clear that he does not have the same problems when playing in the field.

  • buc em all

    Hahahaja what an idiot there is noway Allie hoes from low a to triple a wow stupidest thing I’ve seen in awhile he’d be lucky to have a. At bat in double a

    • http://twitter.com/saywhatranone saywhatranone

      who suggested he go to aaa?

  • leadoff

    No one is an idiot for thinking a player can move up one, two, three, four jumps, a lot of players make the majors at 20-21, he is mature physically, how can anyone on a blog site tell just how far he is advanced hitting wise? I am not saying he could or should be moved, I am saying nobody on this blog site or any other blog site knows better than the Pirates where he should be, but everyone is entitled to their opinion.