Pirates converting pitcher Allie to hitter
The Pirates are converting high-priced prospect Stetson Allie from pitcher to hitter, the Tribune-Review has learned.
Allie, 21, was the team's second-round draft pick in 2010, signing for $2.25 million, well above Major League Baseball's recommended slot. His value was in velocity that routinely topped 100 mph while at St. Edward High near Cleveland.
Neal Huntington, the Pirates' general manager, said the change was made “recently.” No new position was specified, but Allie played third base in high school.
“Stetson was one of the few athletes in each draft to be considered a prospect as a pitcher and as a hitter,” Huntington said Sunday night from Bradenton, Fla. “We believed his highest upside was as a pitcher. We obviously were very pleased to sign him as a pitcher. Since then, we've faced some challenges with him as a pitcher.”
At the time of Allie's draft, other teams acknowledged his arm — most publications called it the strongest available — but were scared off because of his lack of control. That proved to be his undoing as a pitcher.
In 15 appearances last season for Single-A short-season State College, Allie had a 6.58 ERA while striking out 28 and walking 29 in 26 innings. This season, he made only two appearances for Single-A West Virginia in which he walked eight while recording two total outs. After the last appearance April 20, he was removed from action to try to refine his delivery.
That failing, the team allowed Allie to take batting practice recently in Bradenton “in an effort to free up his athleticism,” Huntington said. “Through that process, the determination was made that our best next step is to make the conversion full-time to position player.”
Allie didn't try pitching until his senior year of high school, when he went 9-1 with a 1.51 ERA and 134 strikeouts in 60 innings. As a senior, he batted .500 with 14 doubles, three home runs and 32 RBI. As a junior, he played third base and shortstop and batted .450 with seven homers and 37 RBI.
Allie was recruited by North Carolina, but he passed up a scholarship to sign with the Pirates.
The Pirates' previous management team made a highly controversial decision to convert John Van Benschoten, their first-round pick in 2001, from hitter to pitcher after drafting him. Van Benschoten, the NCAA's home run leader that year at Kent State, still blames the team for his career in the majors fizzling.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Ejections, heated moments mark Pirates’ win over Reds
- Starting 9: Examining Pirates’ deadline decisions
- Pirates notebook: New acquisition Happ more than happy to fill spot in rotation
- Biertempfel: Players, MLB agree logic of season’s setup needs to be examined
- Pirates farmhand Suchy learns limits of his size, strength
- Reds solve Cole, stave off Pirates’ 9th-inning rally
- Gameday: Pirates at Reds, Aug. 2, 2015
- Hurdle: Soria likely to assume setup role with Watson
- Marte’s 2 fine defensive plays rescue Pirates in victory over Reds
- Gameday: Pirates at Cincinnati, Aug. 1, 2015
- Pirates trade for Dodgers 1B/OF Morse, Mariners LHP Happ