Buc prospect Allie set for professional debut
UNIVERSITY PARK — Stetson Allie's not the type to self-evaluate on the eve of his professional debut, scheduled Monday with short-season State College.
Nor is he likely to reflect on the past year since being drafted in the second round by the Pirates, going from graduating high school to signing a multimillion dollar contract and beginning a career that one day might land him in one of the most enviable rotations in baseball.
All Allie's likely to offer, as the Spikes open their season Friday, is that he's happy to be done with extended spring training and excited to get going.
"I had some pretty good success in extended, and I'm finally ready to do it under the lights," he said Thursday, four days before his scheduled start against the Auburn Doubledays.
But there is more to becoming a professional baseball player than gaining control of a superhuman right arm, Spikes manager Kimera Bartee said, and Allie's development won't come entirely on the mound.
"There are a lot of kids who are blessed with talent," Bartee said. "Getting him to figure out that talent, how to mentally deal with the attention much less lose the 'big fish in the small pond syndrome,' that might be the biggest adjustment right there, just helping him mentally deal with the everyday things.
"And it'll go beyond anything that'll happen between the lines. Getting him to understand right from wrong, yes, no, thank you, please ... little things like that will help him in the big scheme of things."
Allie, 20, spent the spring working on command of his fastball, which is between 93 and 97 mph, his changeup and "basically all my off-speed (pitches)," he said. While the changeup is coming along, he said his slider is his out pitch, although even that still is a work in progress.
The Spikes' staff has spent the past few months in Bradenton, Fla., working with Allie — and the team's other young pitchers — on not only consistency but also on what it takes to make this transition.
"Just the grind of playing every day and having to perform, especially for a guy like Stetson, with so many eyes on him, is very difficult," Spikes pitching coach Justin Meccage said. "So, those are some of the things we've been trying to deal with the last two months — being able to control what you can control and not worrying about the stuff you can't control. That's kind of been the emphasis of what we've done with all our guys, but especially Stetson."
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