Stetson Allie playing first base for the Altoona Curve
Stetson Allie has always been the most interesting prospect in the Pittsburgh Pirates system. The big right hander could light up a radar gun when he was drafted by Neal Huntington, but when he struggled with control he was sent back to his true love. All of us have something we love to do. The fact that the Pirates understood what made Allie tick and have challenged him to make his true love a reality is one of the coolest stories we don’t hear much about these days.
Stetson Allie loves crushing baseballs. Allie has always been able to connect, but not consistently, as he progressed through the Pirates system. The Ohio native has showed remarkable staying power as he develops into an offensive player of distinction. It’s been a very interesting ride watching Allie transform from a power pitcher into a first baseman.
Everyone knew about Allie’s power. But my question was always could he transform a stiff swing into what it takes to be a consistent hitter in the big leagues? The oddsmakers would say no way. We always wondered if he would be able to field the position? Could he really be a big league hitter after all the concentration and lost development during those teenage years spent trying to be forced into a pitcher that could light up radar guns.
Stetson Allie takes a throw at first base.
While playing in 66 games for Low-A West Virginia Power, he stroked the ball to the tune of a .324/.414/.607 triple slash with 17 bombs. But during 66 games at High-A Bradenton, he was a different guy hitting just .229/.342/.356, with four homers.
So what do the Bucs do this season? They promoted him to Double-A Altoona. Who said the Bucs don’t move their talent through the system in an aggressive manner? Moving Allie to Altoona could have been an M80 blowing up right in the face of Kyle Stark, Huntington and the crew.
But guess what? It didn’t.
Allie got lean in the off season. He worked hard to improve his defense and his hitting stroke rather than using his time to rest or just be unwise with his free time like so many pitching prospects do. Now Allie has started to prove that making the big leagues is at least a possibility. It’s all he ever wanted, a chance.
Stetson Allie wanted a chance. He got it and has made the most of it.
He finished off his Double-A season with three homers in his last ten games. For his age 23 season he had a .246 average, .362 on base, and .440 slugging thanks to 16 doubles and 21 bombs in his 407 at-bats. Yeah that’s an 801OPS. Not bad considering some of the ups and downs of his season with the Altoona Curve.
Now Allie is playing in Mexico for the Mazatlan Venados. The stadium is 325 down the lines and 400 to dead center. Allie had a seven game hitting streak end on Sunday, but has reached base in all ten games he has played. The OPS is hovering around .800, but he has struggled a bit with strikeouts–going down three times last night.
Just another day in the Stetson Allie success story that continues to show promise, continues to show upside and continues to defy the naysayers.
In other words, all is well with Stetson Allie.