Stetson Allie continues grind through system as hitter

Nestled in a valley along the Allegheny Mountains in central Pennsylvania sits Peoples Natural Gas Field, home of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Double-A affiliate Altoona Curve.

Players in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ system do not stick around Altoona very long and it’s nothing against the team or the jewel of the stadium they play in each night, it’s just the nature of minor league baseball.

What makes this year’s Curve team interesting is that they currently boast a number of top level draft picks. One of those is a former second round pick who is currently in his third year with the team, Stetson Allie.

Allie, selected with the 52nd overall pick in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft, was a member of the same draft class as Pittsburgh pitching staples Jameson Taillon, Brandon Cumpton, Casey Sadler, as well as prospect Nick Kingham. While Allie was drafted as a pitcher, the righty’s pitching career was short lived as a member of the Pirates’ organization.

The perfect metaphor for Allie’s career is an object he plays in the shadows of each time he trots out to the outfield for this year’s Curve team, a roller coaster.

The Climb

Allie began his short-lived pitching career as a starting pitcher for the State College Spikes in the New York-Penn League in 2011 before being moved to the bull-pen for the rest of the season. In short-season A ball, Allie appeared in 15 games, starting in seven while being used out of the bull-pen in the other eight. Allie pitched 26 innings for the Spikes in 2011 amassing a 6.58 ERA, while giving up the same amount of runs as hits (20), walking 29 batters and hitting nine, as well as striking out 28.

Returning to the mound in 2012 for the West Virginia Power, the full-season A affiliate of the Pirates, Allie failed to improve. Allie only appeared in two games as a pitcher for the Power, good for an astounding 54.00 ERA. In those two games, Allie failed to throw more than an inning, accumulating two-thirds of an inning of work. In those two-thirds of an inning, Allie gave up only one hit, yet yielded four runs, eight walks, one hit batsman, and a single strikeout.

With a severe lack of success on the rubber, and a skill-set not being used, the Pirates and Allie made the decision to move from pitcher to first base in order to reach into an untapped skill, Allie’s bat. Following the decision to switch positions, Allie moved to the Gulf Coast League Pirates to gain back what he had lost in the year off of hitting.

As a member of the GCL Pirates, Allie hit .213 in 42 games launching three homers, six doubles, two triples, and 19 RBIs. Allie also walked 21 times while striking out 50.

The Descent

In his first full-season as a professional hitter, Allie put up quality numbers between time spent with the Advanced-A Bradenton Marauders and the Power.

Back in Charleston, WV, with the Power, Allie’s bat came alive. In 66 games for West Virginia, Allie hit 17 home runs and for a .324 average. Allie stroked 16 doubles in his second stint with the Power, but struck out 79 times compared to 36 walks.

For the Marauders, Allie hit .229 with four home runs, 25 RBIs, and 18 doubles. Allie struck out 82 times and walked 41 times for Bradenton.

Allie played predominantly first base and designated hitter for the Power and Marauders and only had seven errors between the two teams.

With two full seasons playing the field and hitting full time as a professional, Allie continued to progress up the organization each season. Allie continued the progression in 2013 beginning the season with the Curve.

The Curve

Entering his first season with the Curve, Allie was looking to improve on his best statistical season as a professional player in 2013. Stations at first base, Allie looked to advance up the organizational depth chart with the Pirates struggling to get production and find a capable first baseman at the Major League Level.

Allie came into his own as a power hitter in every sense of the term as he hit 21 home runs and struck out 127 times in 117 games. Allie finished the 2014 campaign hitting .246 and followed up the 21 homers with 16 doubles. The right-handed slugger also walked 71 times and stole nine bases for the Curve.

The 2015 season was a year of regression for the 24-year-old at the time. Allie struggled at the plate and was bumped to the outfield to make room for top prospect Josh Bell and to utilize his arm strength which is unable to be showcased at first base. Playing solely in the outfield, Allie made eight defensive errors for the Curve.

At the plate, Allie continued to hit home runs, 17, yet struck out 135 times in 120 games. Allie’s walks were down to 47 the lowest total he’s had in a full season of action.

With Josh Bell still in Indianapolis as well as Jason Rodgers taking time at first, Allie returned back to Altoona for the 2016 season and to the outfield full-time once again. So far, Allie is currently hitting .256 with six home runs through 48 games for the Curve this year. Allie also has two triples to go with five doubles and 26 RBIs in 156 at-bats for Altoona.

Currently, it looks as though Allie has bounced back well from a disappointing 2015 season and is on pace for a better season.

The Dip and Subsequent Plateau

The downfall for Allie, aside from his down year in 2015, is he’s blocked in every position he’s played with the Curve. At first base Bell and Rodgers block any chance Allie might have to advance and in the outfield, Allie isn’t even the best outfielder playing for the Curve as Austin Meadows, Harold Ramirez, and Barrett Barnes are rated ahead of Allie according to

If Allie wants any chance to move past AA he’s going to have to do it with his play. Quality defensive play will help, but as a slugger, Allie needs to prove his worth with his bat. Hitting in the mid-.200s certainly doesn’t help. Allie needs to improve on his strikeout numbers at the plate as well has his overall hitting if he wants to advance.

The best case scenario for Allie currently is to play his way into becoming a valuable trade piece via his play. Should Allie improve in all areas of his game, the Pirates might just be able to get a quality return for him and give him the chance to continue his career in a system where he isn’t blocked.

As Allie’s career continues to resemble the roller coaster beyond right field at PNG Field, one thing is for sure, the only way things change for Allie is playing his way into a trade or promotion.

Arrow to top