Allie Pumps The Brakes

Righthander gets advice from fellow prospect

BRADENTON, Fla.—Stetson Allie, the Pirates' high-profile second-round draft pick last summer, has been getting some friendly advice from the team's first-rounder: Slow down a little.

Allie, 20, is a 6-foot-2 righthander who can achieve triple-digits on the radar gun, which is why most scouts have pegged his long-term future as a reliever. But he will open 2011 as a starter for low Class A West Virginia, and that might require cutting the velocity a bit.

Just ask Jameson Taillon, the righthander the Pirates took with the No. 2 overall pick last summer, then became Allie's friend and workout partner, and now will be his teammate.

"For Stetson, I think the mentality is going to be big," Taillon said. "He wants to go out there for an inning and throw 100 miles an hour. It works great . . . for an inning. But he pitches better when he gets early ground balls, 93 or 94 down in the zone."

Allie shares that assessment, but he hardly sounds eager to take it easy on an arm that some felt was the strongest of anyone in the draft last summer.

"Sometimes I know I need to tone it down so I can throw strikes," Allie said. "Still, when the count's 0-2, I'll rear back and throw it a little harder. I mostly try to stay consistent, throw 93-95, but I've also got to be myself."

Allie is throwing a fastball, slider and a changeup that he calls "a work in progress." There are no plans to add more pitches, just durability and consistency for someone who did not start until his senior year at St. Edward High near Cleveland.

But the Pirates' stance is that having Allie start is not a case of simply expanding his repertoire and arm strength for when he someday becomes a reliever. They want him to start.

Allie said on the day he signed for $2.25 million that he wanted to be a closer, but that evidently has changed.

"I'd like to start," Allie said. "The big challenge is learning how to adjust the work."

Treasure Trove

• Righthander Luis Heredia, 16, will be the Pirates' second prospect that age to play in the Gulf Coast League in the past 40 years. The other was infielder Andury Acevedo in 2007.

• The Pirates have reduced Taillon's pitching repertoire to a fastball, curve and change. Like Allie, Taillon will start at West Virginia.