Stetson Allie was originally drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the second round of the 2010 draft. He fell to the Pirates due to signability concerns, but they got him under contract with a $2.25 M bonus. He was paid big for his ability to consistently hit 100 MPH with his fastball, along with having the makings of a plus slider. He also had some of the best power for a prep player in the draft, but the Pirates went with him as a pitcher, which was his consensus best upside at the time.
After a little over a year and a half in the system, the Pirates reversed that decision, switching Allie from the mound to the plate. His control on the mound wasn’t getting better, and he looked like he would have the upside of a reliever. They saw more value with his bat and his power. He moved to third base initially, then quickly moved to first base, where he has played ever since. Until now.
Allie was sent down from big league camp on March 15th, and with that move came a change: he was moving to right field. I was told today that he would be playing that position full-time, rather than splitting time between first base and the new spot. He will also start back in Altoona at the beginning of the year, but might have a shot at Indianapolis in the second half.
“I feel like I’m a good athlete,” Allie said. “So far it’s been good. Today, I noticed a ball was in the gap, tracked it down pretty good, missed it. Popped out of my glove. At the same time, take the little things — got there. It’s only going to get better. I’m going to keep on everyday getting better, and I think it’s going to be good.”
Since moving to being a position player, Allie has displayed some of the best raw power in the system. Last year he had a .194 ISO in his jump to the Double-A level. He also displayed a good walk rate, at 14.6%. The downside has been that his strikeout rate has been high, at 26.1%. Typically players who are three outcome guys in the minors don’t become three outcome guys in the majors. He’s going to need to cut down on the strikeouts going forward to maximize his potential at the plate.
One benefit of the new spot is that it utilizes Allie’s arm. A guy who can throw 100 MPH fastballs definitely has the arm for the right field position. His range will be the question, but if he can handle the new position, it will give him a lot more value than he had at first base, which puts much more focus on the bat.