For those of you who don’t follow the minor leagues, Stetson Allie has been one of the best players in his league this year. Playing in Class-A South Atlantic League, Allie has been absolutely crushing the baseball.
Coming into Friday, Allie has 17 home runs, 61 RBI, and a .326 batting average. That’s very impressive no matter what level of baseball it is, when you look at stats halfway through the season.
For those who are unaware, Allie was drafted in the second round of the 2010 MLB June Amateur Draft as a pitcher. His fastball was clocked around 100 MPH, and he was committed to the University of North Carolina to play baseball before he eventually decided to pass on that and play in the minors. His days as a starting pitcher in the minor leagues didn’t go all that well, and last June the Pirates announced that they were going to convert him to a position player. This had fans guessing, worried, and at the same time scared, as they feared they might be looking at another John Van Benschoten.
Van Benschoten, who the Pirates wasted the eighth overall pick in the 2001 draft on, was the opposite of Allie. He was drafted as a hitter, but for some reason got transferred into a pitcher, and his career end up being a joke, as he went 2-13 with a 9.20 ERA for the Pirates.
Either way, fans were worried that Allie was going to be a bust, and his career would end up similar to JVB’s.
They were wrong.
As of now, he’s making all the doubters look foolish, and has been unbelievable for the West Virginia Power this season. Of course, he has a considerable climb before he makes it to The Show, but he’s currently putting up numbers for the Power that some fans have never seen.
Let’s look at straight statistics of some of other well known Pirates players when they played at the same level. Buckle up.
Andrew McCutchen (114 games), who played with the Hickory Crawdads (South Atlantic League) in 2006, finished the season with 16 homers, and 62 RBI altogether. Allie, who is a little more than half way done with his season, has already passed Cutch in homers and is one behind in RBI, while his average is thirty points higher.
Neil Walker (120 games), who played with the Hickory Crawdads in 2005, finished his season with 12 home runs and 68 RBI, while sporting a .301 batting average. Once again, Allie’s numbers are better than that (7 less RBI), and he’s only played in 65 games.
Starling Marte (54 games), in a limited season with the West Virginia Power, had 3 homers and 34 RBI, as he played in ten less games than Allie has played in so far.
Travis Snider (119 games for the Lansing Lugnuts — Toronto’s minor league affiliate), who was one of the top-rated prospects due to his career in the minor leagues, finished his season with only sixteen home runs when he played at the same level that Allie is playing at right now.
Jose Bautista (129 games) was part of the Hickory Crawdads in 2002, finished his season with 14 home runs, and 57 RBI in twice as many games that Allie has played in so far this season.
Nate McLouth (96 games), who played with the Hickory Crawdads in 2001, finished his campaign with 12 homers and 54 RBI.
Nyjer Morgan (134 games) played for the Hickory Crawdads in 2004, and put together a season in which he hit 4 home runs and drove in 41 runs. I know, he’s not a power hitter and RBI machine, but he also batted .255 that season. Allie is batting .326.
Ryan Doumit (107 games), in two split-seasons with the Hickory Crawdads, combined for 8 home runs and 61 RBI.
Jason Kendall (1o2 games), who played with the Augusta Pirates (South Atlantic League) in 1994, hit 1 home run while driving in 40 runs, with a batting average sixty points lower than Allie.
Barry Bonds (71 games), in 1985 for the Prince William Pirates, hit 13 home runs and drove in 37 RBI, with a .299 batting average. I’m sorry, but I just had to include that one. . . . .
Allie’s statistics this season (through 65 games): 17 home runs (third in league), 61 RBI (first in league), .326 batting average (sixth in league), 147 total bases (first in league), 78 hits (fifth in league). Third in league in OPS, OBP, and SLG. A true MVP candidate for the South Atlantic League.
So, what’s the point I’m trying to get across? McCutchen, Walker, Snider, and Marte, four of the Pirates best offensive players, and Bautista, Morgan, Doumit, McLouth, Kendall, and Bonds, six former Pirates who played in the same league as Allie, didn’t even have stats relatively as good as Allie.
The season isn’t even halfway done for Allie and the West Virginia Power, and his numbers are for the most part better than what these eight current/former Pirates put together in a full season for their South Atlantic League/Midwest League (Class-A) teams.
For those wondering, the West Virginia Power has been the Pirates Class-A affiliate since 2009. Before that, their Class-A affiliates were teams such as the Hickory Crawdads, Augusta Pirates, Prince William Pirates, etc.
There are definitely other players I could add on the list here, but some didn’t play a full season for their Class-A teams, which makes it hard to compare stats. When it comes down to it though, no player on the Pirates roster today, with the exception of Pedro Alvarez (who Allie still has the chance to finish with better numbers than), had better statistics at the end of the year when they played at the level that Allie is playing at right now.
I’m not chalking up Allie as a sure-fire stud in the Major Leagues, but he should have Pirate fans attention because of his play this season. It’s only Class-A ball, but he’s accomplishing more than what almost every other current Pirate did at that level. Some players are late bloomers, and some are players who burn out after lighting it up early in their minor league careers, and that’s exactly what we don’t want out of Allie. He’ll most likely be promoted to Class A+ Bradenton before the season is over, and Pirate fans should have their fingers crossed that he continues this kind of hitting in the higher-level leagues, and eventually end up on the Pirates roster sometime in the next few years.
Check out the videos again…
The homers have been exciting to read about, but they’re even more thrilling to see on video.
A video from Mike Newman takes a close look at Allie’s swing. The breaking balls seem to be a battle in a few of these clips and have likely led to the strikeouts for the slugging first-baseman / DH.
This is the homer Allie hit on April 16, and it reveals what Allie must have known all along. He has to feel confident at the plate, a confidence he was never able to find while on the mound.
After making seven starts and 15 appearances for the short season State College Spikes, it was evident he was unable to harness his electric stuff. We remember watching him easily strike out everyone in sight, but he always struggled with control, putting up 29 walks and 28 strikeouts over 26 innings.
Without a powerful first baseman in the Pirates system, it’s great seeing him have success as a hitter.