Stetson Allie, Pittsburgh Pirates Power-Hitting Prospect

By now, the Stetson Allie story is well known. Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates out of a Cleveland-area high school in 2010, the big right-hander had a 100-mph fastball and little idea where it was going. Less than 30 innings into his professional career, his pitching days were over. He became a corner infielder with plus raw power and a lot of swing-and-miss.

Allie’s story remains mostly unwritten. Still just 22 years old, he is coming off a Jekyll-and-Hyde first full season as a position player. In 66 games at low-A West Virginia, he hit a loud .324/.414/.607, with 17 home runs. In the same number of games at high-A Bradenton, he hit .229/.342/.356, with 4 home runs.

There is no doubting Allie’s potential as a hitter. There is even less doubt about his comfort zone. A fish-out-of-water on the mound, he feels right at home in the batter’s box. Allie revisited his work-in-progress transition, including why he struggled as a pitcher, earlier this week.


Allie on his background and maturity level: “I’ve always been blessed to have my dad’s indoor baseball facility where I could take ground balls and hit. He had a facility in Florida and when I moved to Ohio for high school he had one there. So I never had a problem with being from Ohio. I was working out just as much, if not more, than guys growing up down south. I was just doing it inside. My biggest problem was immaturity.

“I was immature on the field and off the field. When I signed, I was a guy who thought he had the world by the balls. I thought I knew some things I didn’t. But I’ve learned from my mistakes. I’ve become a lot more mature and a lot more ‘This is my job and this is what I have to do to be ready.’ I realize I need to focus more. Going through those hard times was a good learning experience.”

On failing as a pitcher: “I don’t like people saying [I failed as a pitcher]. I was young. Where I was at mentally is what messed me up. I feel I could go out on the mound now and be way better, because I’d be mentally in it. I had the talent, it’s just that my values were all off. To try to play this game, at this level, and be immature just doesn’t work.

“As a pitcher I had all this free time and that free time wasn’t good for me. When I switched to being a hitter, it was a new day every day. That really helped me out. I’m a guy who is high energy and hates to sit around. When I sat around, I would do things I shouldn’t be doing. Growing up, I always needed to be doing something.

“When I was younger, I never knew anything about pitching. I think a lot of people don’t understand that. When I was in high school, I just threw hard. I never had pitching lessons or whatnot. I had my dad’s facility, but he has always been a hitting coach. When I’d go to showcases, I was a third baseman and a first baseman, and it was kind of a light-up-the-radar-gun type of deal. In pro ball, that doesn’t work. You have to throw strikes and have good mechanics.

“The most success I’ve had as a pitcher has been as a one-inning guy. I just went up on the mound and was athletic. Instead of thinking about my mechanics, I just threw the ball. That success wasn’t in [State College or West Virginia]. It was when I came back here [to Bradenton for extended spring training in 2012]. I was a one-inning guy staying athletic and just doing my thing. I had success doing that, but for me, and the Pirates, being a hitter is more suited for who I am.”

On his comfort zone: “A big reason I had success as a hitter last year is my work ethic. I wanted to keep hitting. I wanted to hit off the tee, I wanted to hit in the cage, I wanted to take ground balls. I wanted to do extra. As a pitcher, you just throw.

“When I signed, I had more confidence as a hitter. I know my swing, because I’ve hit my whole life. I only pitched my senior year of high school. I know when my swing is on and when it’s off. I know how to critique it and I know who to call. I feel I was always a lot more ahead of the game as a hitter, so when they told me I was going to hit, I ran with it. I’m more comfortable hitting than I ever was pitching.”

On his hitting approach and his future: “I like to keep it simple. My power is to the middle and to right field. I’m not a guy who likes to pull the ball, so I always look middle to middle away. I look for a fastball to drive and adjust to a breaking ball. I’ve found I have the most success when I stick with something easy. The simpler my approach, the better.

“I got away from my approach at times last year. I started trying to pull the ball over the left field fence. I struggled. That’s something I had to learn from. When I stick to my approach, the sky is the limit.

“I think I could [go back to pitching], but I honestly try not to even think about when I was a pitcher. I’m a hitter now and I love it. I literally love hitting.”

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David Laurila grew up in Michigan's Upper Peninsula and now writes about baseball from his home in Cambridge, Mass. He authored the Prospectus Q&A series at Baseball Prospectus from February 2006-March 2011 and is a regular contributor to several publications. His first book, Interviews from Red Sox Nation, was published by Maple Street Press in 2006. He can be followed on Twitter @DavidLaurilaQA.

10 Responses to “Stetson Allie, Pittsburgh Pirates Power-Hitting Prospect”

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  1. James says:

    Update: Stetson Allie does not figuratively love hitting.

    +7 Vote -1 Vote +1

  2. repper says:

    His attitude when he was first drafted coincides with a lot of guys I think, I played with a few guys that are in the minors in wooden bat leagues in PA and once they got signed and had that bonus they thought they were going to be Ken Griffey. Now they’re all 26 and squandering in high A ball.

    I think maturity level is one of the most important aspects of rising through the minors, as a pirate fan I hope Allie has finally fired it out, it sounds like he has.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  3. MLB Rainmaker says:

    I don’t even want to hear a guy’s name until he’s at Double-A….their stats hardly even matter before that point.

    But if you do want to look at stats, the key one for Allie is the K’s — I’m too lazy to look for the article, but I believe there was an article last year on failure rates for prospects and what stats correlated to failure rate, and for hitters, high K-rate was the top correlation. And a 27-28% K rate at A and A+ is terrible. Double-a pitchers are going to eat this kid alive at that rate.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Pirates Hurdles says:

      The study showed that high K rate with a low to mid BB rate had the highest bust rates. Guys with walk rates north of 11% and high K rates did OK. Allie fits in the latter group. He is also a bit of a special animal in that he has far less pro ab’s then most his age. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think he is star bound, but he has a better shot than some would suggest.

      Vote -1 Vote +1

  4. Maksym says:

    I played against this kid in high school. Total douche bag. Every single one of his teammates admits to him juicing. He used to have a heart attack if you got within 5 feet of his gym bag. He gained 60 pounds from sophmore to junior year. I hope he’s a bust.

    -9 Vote -1 Vote +1

  5. Slugger14 says:

    Dont hate Maksym! You obviously got your information from a very unreliable source. Prospects like him were DRUG tested by MLB on a regular basis. Guys like you are what is wrong with this world- jealousy is a terrible thing “boy”. You are probably delivering newspapers these days- when ya have a minute read up him. Your obviously a HATER with a foul month!

    Vote -1 Vote +1

  6. Thomas Au says:

    Stetson Allie could become a “twofer.” Mostly a position player, but a one-inning reliever when necessary. And someone who could switch positions in the same game.

    Vote -1 Vote +1

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