The Pirates are Moving Stetson Allie to Right Field

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.

  • Does this mean that Willie Garcia is a lock for AAA? I had thought he might have started in AA with a midseason promotion to AAA due to K issues.

  • Every players theoretical upside is Paul Goldschmidt, but at this point Allie is barely a prospect.

  • Monsoon Harvard
    March 20, 2015 9:08 pm

    A run producing power hitter with a good walk rate IS the downside in my book. That’s just what we need, a run producer who takes lots of walks. There ain’t no use for that.

    • Not when ya already have Pedro, the guy who walked about the same and K’d less than Allie while in A-AA ball.

  • Seems like an opportunity to allow him to develop the bat in Altoona without taking ABs away from Bell. Also a little versatility to up his trade stock.

  • The Pirates might think the DH is coming

  • He looked reasonably athletic stealing that base this spring, so I’m sure he can pass in the outfield. Speed isn’t everything, after all, and he strikes me as a smart ballplayer, so he might pick up the mental side alright.

    I like the move, and I think the Pirates see him filling the role Corey Hart has this year in the future, so it makes sense to add RF to his positional repertoire.

  • Seems pretty obvious to me that this move is to keep him at AA another year to work out his strikeout issues while getting Bell as much time as possible at 1B.

  • formerdraftpick
    March 20, 2015 5:24 pm

    Why wouldn’t you move him to 3B?

    • That was literally the first thing they tried when they moved him off the mound. He’s obviously terrible at third.

  • Tim, you’d know more than anyone…does it look to you like Allie got leaner over the winter?

    Kid has always had a body like a fullback, but it looks to me like he’s a bit thinner this spring.

  • Does this move signal that Josh Bell has solidified his role as the 1B of the future? If the front office thinks that they can move Allie to another position is it because they have high confidence in Bell making it to the majors?

    • Versatility. Plain and simple.

      The more positions a guy can play, the more ways to get his bat in the lineup.

      • NMR,versatility or not, with his swing and miss issues he will be a very long shot to ever see MLB. As mentioned in the column, players who are 3 outcome hitters in MiLB seldom are successful at highest level. That is also the reason I am skeptical of just how ” great ” Joey Gallo can be.

        • Very much disagree with you on the “long shot to ever see MLB” outcome. That’s far too dramatic.

          I don’t think Allie has the bat speed to be a regular, and will almost certainly be relegated to a platoon role, but he most certainly has shown enough at this point to consider that a reasonable outcome.

          • NMR,if I were a betting man, I would give you an even money bet on that. And now that he has been moved to right field, those odds could be even longer. He is NOT Andrew Lambo as a hitter.

  • I was kinda looking forward to him focusing on his offense (K rate and BB rate) and making some needed strides in that regard. Learning a new spot aint easy, gonna take a good deal of focus. Helps his trade value if he becomes a serviceable RFer/1Bmen i suppose.

    • Some, sure, but it’s not an up-the-middle position. Marginal distraction, at most.

      • I disagree, mostly because the kid hasnt played OF. Marginal distraction isnt learning an entirely new position that utilizes skills he hasnt used a ton. He has to get adequate at tracking the ball, running routes, and throw accuracy. His speed doesnt make that job easy.

        • He’s already learned a more difficult position – infield – while picking up a bat for the first time since high school.

          This just isn’t that big of a deal.

          • He learned infield so well they moved him off 3B to play the easiest position in the infield….and many didnt love his defense at that spot. Learning IF doesnt really make learning OF any easier.

            • The point is that it didn’t impact his offensive development, which is what you’re saying the outfield will.

              Relax. This happens all. the. time.

              • Yeah, players move 3 spots in 3 years all the time. Its easy to play the OF for the first time in his pro career and not have anything go wrong.

                • Neil moved from C to 3B to 2B in a short amount of time and it didn’t affect his bat at all.

                  • Walker moved from C to 3B in 2007, and wasnt moved to 2B until 2010. So it was a longer amount of time between his positions, but more importantly they didnt move him to the spot he landed at until his bat was forcing himself to play. He moved off C because he was rather bad at it (much like Allie and 3B). Walker broke out in 2010 on offense, putting together AVG and power and OBP, and at that point they found him a spot.

                    For Allie, his bat still needs work before he is a legit prospect for a future spot and they still havent found him a home. I hope he crushes the ball for a few months, and they find him a home elsewhere for adequate value because (in the OF) i dont ever see how he cracks the depth chart in the top 5.

                    • Allie already had the mental stability to move from pitcher to hitter. The rest is all bonus for him at this point. The fact he has even made it to the higher levels and played decent ball is a nice story. He already knows first and a little 3B and now RF. I think that is ideal because he will likely be a flawed reserve-type.

                    • He cant play 3B, thats not even me being negative its just a fact for anyone who saw him try. So he is a 1B/trying to be a RFer. Which is good for his value. So that takes time, and he has to work pretty hard to play OF (something he has never done). Which doesnt mention he is still very flawed on offense, and isnt currently on track for being a ML hitter. Lotta power, flashes of ability to get on base. But at AA, those issues tend to haunt 3 outcome players.

                    • What one day!

                    • I thought he would be overmatched at AA last year. It was reason for optimism to see him cutting his ks down late last year. I think we will know what we have after this year…we probably already do but there’s a chance his low amount of AB in the minors leave him with a little upside.

                    • My goodness, Walker is for all his defensive limitations is far more athletic than Allie. Allie has a LOOOOONG way to go before becoming legitimate prospect and as Luke said, learning a new position(which I don’t think he is especially made to play) isn’t going to make his cutting down on K’s any easier.

            • Now, I know your clueless! easiest position. There is NO easy position in this game.

              • Im clueless, but you took “easiest” and changed it to mean easy. Which, you know, it doesnt. So really you just invented a meaning to what i said that didnt exist. Learning a position in baseball is never easy, but the “easiest” of those is 1B for anyone tall enough.

                • No. You said, “easiest position”- assuming you were referencing his current position 1B. I said, no such thing as an “easiest position”. 1B has some important timing maneuvers in game situations- saw JB struggle with them recently. Nothings real easy!

                  • Again, by your logic that means that 1B is just as hard to learn as any other position…because if there is no easiest position to learn then a guy learning to play SS is just as hard as a guy learning to play 1B. Which is stupid. No spot is “easy” to learn, but 1B is way easier than most spots. You gotta be tall enough, have decent range and not have stone hands.

  • Joe Sweetnich
    March 20, 2015 5:00 pm

    I agree with the decision. It’s his best chance to make the majors, or become tradable.

    • Its his worst chance to make the majors in PIT if they truly see him as a full time OFer. Nice to be able to play multiple spots, but really right now he can only play 1B.

      • Joe Sweetnich
        March 20, 2015 5:04 pm

        Taking advantage of his strengths (arm and hr’s). He was’t making the big club as a first baseman. The move should give you a feel for what the Pirate’s feel his chances are.

        • He has literally zero chance of playing the OF in PIT. 3 guaranteed starters right now, with about 2-3 others clearly ahead of him. With 1-2 behind him that profile as much better overall OFers.

          He wasnt making the big club as a 1B….even though he was likely 2nd on a future depth chart behind Bell. I get increasing his value for a trade, but to argue his best chance is in RF doesnt make sense. Yeah, his arm is strong and he hits HRs. He also isnt of great speed, and likely will take a good deal of time to learn how to track balls and field his spot. So now he has to learn an entirely new position and cut his Ks before being a legit chance. He isnt even going to get playing time in AAA in the OFer with that roster.

          • Joe Sweetnich
            March 20, 2015 5:13 pm

            Uh, he isn’t that good. Saw a play a couple of days ago that he didn’t make that convinced me he wasn’t quick enough to play 1B. It must have been clear to others as well.

            • Meaning he, right now, cant play any position well.

              • Com on man! Give the kid a little props! You have never said anything positive about the kid- you can truly say that JB is a better first base prospect than him?

                • If you think Allie, right now, is near the prospect that Bell is then stop arguing with me. No one thinks that, even people that have been arguing about this move with me. Josh Bell is far and away a better overall prospect at 1B than Allie. You either love power way too much or just dont care to be fair to both players.

          • Luke. you should get into scouting. Are you there everyday or is it just a readers opinion- Tim Williams that you follow? If so, both your opinions are meaningless. The big league cuts and trades will determine this organizations direction at this time! Things change all the time. Speculation is all you’ve got unless you’ve been sitting in on organizational meetings. Lot’s of things are going to happen real soon- many surprises as well

            • You oddly make fun of me for having an opinion and then….act like you have inside information as to moves the team is going to make. Way to be, kid. Way to be. Allie is a fringe prospect, that aint just me talking. Its a ton of scouts.

              • Facts! Scouts are nothing more than low end information providers- the real evaluators are the cross creckers, supervisors and co-ordinators. Kid is not an appropriate title unless you are talking about yourself. I have did it done it- kid! Allie has tools to be developed but, all you go on is hear say and speculation- I go on experience. He has a chance but, yes it is work in progress. See it on a regular basis! He will not go unprotected much longer- you can’t develop what he has athleticism with +power. It’s at a premium in today’s game. Lastly, how much have you seen on JB at 1B? You wouldn’t make the statement, “far and away a better over-all prospect at 1B.” Read the reports from AFL

                • Yes, Allie has power. Its telling that anytime you defend him as a better prospect than Bell you use the power….and never any other part of baseball. Its power for Allie, because his hit tool is flawed (but not useless) and his defense is very up in the air. Not plus speed, not plus hit for average. Gets on base okay (Pedro light at that level) and hits bombs. Not a recipe, historically, for guys.

                  And unless you have experience working in MLB, idk how your experience makes you a better option than those that….actually do…work in baseball. We dont disagree that he has a good deal to work on, you just seem to think that his power and “athleticism” makes him likely to overcome his issues. I look at the number of guys who K’d at his rate in AA and relied on HRs to provide his value that made it to the bigs, and most dont. Good to have around, hope he learns to K less, not gonna assume he is better than Bell. Bell hits for a better average, has slightly better OBP, a way better K/BB rate, more athleticism, and is younger. Not a diss to Allie, but Bell is clearly a more polished hitter. Unless, of course, power is the most important thing to you. Power is at a premium in the sense that its vastly over paid for and generally overrated in terms of relation to winning.

                • I have seen both Allie and Bell at first base, and Allie came in 2nd. Allie is now an even fringier prospect in the outfield than he was a 1st base. And that is a fact.

                  • Raise the Jolly Roger
                    March 25, 2015 12:17 am

                    So you were scouting Bell during the AFL? Or did you conclude that during pre-game warmups at Altoona?

      • He can be the perfect platoon with Polanco in RF

        • So long as we dont mind a ton of Ks and poor defense, yeah. The OF depth chart has many many better options than him, unless you love HRs and ignore his many issues he must improve on before being a ML regular.

          • Pay attention at all to the organization over the past two years and the part that sticks out above all is versatility.

            This move to RF clearly is an attempt to increase the positions at which to get his bat in the lineup. He’s never played outfield before, so it only makes sense to keep him there full time while he learns to read balls and run routes.

            But you can absolutely guarantee the team sees him in both outfield corners as well as 1B in the future.

            • The love versatility, but this only increases his versatility if he actually learns the OF well. I dont see his skill set ever allowing him to be an adequate defender unless he runs plus routes. Good arm, not good speed and no real experience with the OF.

              • You don’t need to run plus routes in order to be an “adequate” right fielder.

                I agree, the guy will likely be passable at best, but think of the Garrett Jones’s of the baseball world. If you can hit, the bar isn’t high.

                • Agreed, but Allie isnt currently even Jones for me. Too many Ks to let the bat play without adequate defense.

                  • Can’t just focus on one stat like that…what Allie gives up K’s he gains in walks, relative to Jones.

                    No reason the bat can’t play up in a platoon role, as did Jones.

                    • Pedro had better stats in AA than Allie. I worry about his stats because they are similar to more than a few guys that had a ton of raw power, but not enough else to be solid ML options. Seems like this lets the team send him back to Altoona and free up space for players ahead of him on the depth chart.

                    • What is it you have against Allie? You really don’t have a clue do you? Speculation at best!

                    • I dont see Allie as a decent prospect at this point, mainly due to his K rate and lack of a position. His OBP is good, but less than what other all power types had at his level (like Pedro) so its not enough to make me think right now he has a future in the bigs. I enjoyed the forward steps he made in cutting his Ks (kinda) and upping the BB, and 1B made more than enough sense for him. Apart from giving him more trade value, i see this as hurting his chances to see PNC due to the depth of OF in the system. I like Allie, i dont like his overall game or his chances to be average in RF on defense.

                    • Kinda! Leads the whole organization in walks and has hit 21 home runs over the past two years- with much improved plate patience. Polanco is not a lock either! Not a real good spring training to this point. But, I get it.

                    • Its fine to think Allie has made huge strides (i disagree) but his 71 walks (that lead the team) really arent all that great. Yeah, most guys in Altoona didnt walk much last year. He cannot continue with his K rate and be useful in the pros. Good power, better ability to take a walk….not near good enough K rate as he faces better comp. Which is a huge reason i see them moving him….allowing him to play in AA while also giving Bell 1B full time.

                      Not many guys have the issue Allie does in AA and make the pros. His stats are a slightly lesser Pedro in AA, and thats a problem.

                    • Do you see how you’re moving the goalposts here?

                      You’re taking his potential role as a part-time player and continually trying to compare him to average regulars or better.

                    • I have said multiple times i dont see him as a ML capable guy. That doesnt mean as a regular, it means at all. Even as a part time player, he does not currently show near the K rate to have sustained success. He can hit for power, and thats valuable, but its a 3 outcome bat that struggles in key areas in AA. Not many with his specific issues pan out, because that K rate and lack of overall tools doesnt often translate well in upper levels.

                      I hope he does succeed, but he has to have significant improvement in his offense to even be an option, and at that point his defense has to play somewhere. 1B makes sense, OF doesnt. OF helps his value rise, but the kid (even with a big transformation) likely isnt an option for PIT. Plenty of starters ahead of him, with multiple other guys better suited for 4th OFer work. I want him to succeed, which for me means focusing on his not so small issues on offense. Which, though you disagree, do get harder when spending a large amount of time learning a completely new spot.

                    • Allie has generally mashed lefties. He’s still raw as far as total AB for a kid his age. Most kids would have double the ABs he has at his age so I am hoping there is still a touch of upside and ability to lower his Ks going forward. He had a pretty decent and somewhat surprising year making the aggressive jump to AA last year. If he can keep lowering his strikeouts like he did down the stretch last year hopefully he will get be an .850+ OPS guy in 2015.

                • The BAT will dictate a prospects future. John McDonald, Gift Ngoepe, Allen Hansen, Josh Bell, Jose Tabata and the list could go on.

              • How do you know his skill set?

            • Smart guy there! At a boy NMR!

            • Smart man right there! Luke you just don’t get it do you!

          • He also walks a ton. His OBP is very good. He could be a right-handed Adam Dunn.

      • Dave Parker's Unfiltered Camel
        March 20, 2015 8:41 pm

        Yes, but this is not about making the majors in Pittsburgh.

        • Right, and in that regard i can see the logic. I worry his defense wont progress fast enough to make any team see him as a real option in RF, but the chance is worth it. I just dont see why anyone thinks this makes him a better bet for a future Pirate career, unless multiple guys fall off in the OF.

          • Dave Parker's Unfiltered Camel
            March 21, 2015 6:31 am

            Agreed. I can see the logic, but was a little surprised by the move.