PITTSBURGH — The Pirates and Stetson Allie came to a mutual decision that a change of scenery could only do the struggling 21-year-old prospect some good.
The Pirates didn’t trade Allie, though. Instead, they began converting him from a righthanded relief pitcher into a position player during the final weeks of extended spring training.
The Pirates won’t say where Allie will go once extended spring ends later this month or what position he will play. Indications are he will be tried at third base, where he shined as a two-way star at St. Edward’s High School in Lakewood, Ohio, and start off the position player part of his career in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League.
“We are evaluating how we best put Stetson in a position to succeed both short-term and long-term with respect to his post-extended assignment but we are committed to seeing the process through as a position player,” Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said Monday.
The Pirates selected Allie in the second round of the 2010 draft and gave him a $2.25-million signing bonus. It was the ninth-highest bonus in that draft class.
Allie signed too late to play in 2010 then went 0-2, 6.58 in 15 games, seven starts, in 26 innings at short season State College last season in his pro debut. He walked 29 in 26 innings while also hitting nine batters and throwing seven wild pitches.
Allie’s control problems became even worse in a brief stint with low Class A West Virginia at the start of this season. He walked eight of the 12 batters he faced in two relief appearances, hit another one and uncorked three wild pitches in just 2/3 of an inning while going 0-1, 54.00.
When Allie’s profound wildness continued in extended in spring, it was time to try something new.
“He had become mechanical,” Huntington said. “In an effort to free up his athleticism as a pitcher, we had him take batting practice on several occasions. While again showing the talents that had made him a legitimate position player prospect, he also rekindled his interest in swinging the bat. We got together and after several discussions and exchanges, both parties determined that our next best step is a full-time conversion to position player.
“Stetson is one of the few athletes each draft that is skilled enough to be considered a prospect as both a pitcher and hitter and are looking forward to helping him reach his full potential.”