When the Pittsburgh Pirates drafted pitcher Stetson Allie in the second round of the 2010 MLB Draft, they knew they were selecting a pitcher with first-round talent who fell to them because of perceived signability issues. They also realized they were drafting a pitcher who wasn’t quite as polished as first overall selection Jameson Taillon (check out Taillon’s season review).
What they probably didn’t realize was just how much of a project the 20-year-old Allie was – and is – going to be.
After signing a deal that included a $2.25 million signing bonus, Allie was assigned to the the team’s A- affiliate in State College for the 2011 season,
Here are his numbers from this season. I recommend skipping to the next paragraph to avoid the nauseating feeling that is likely to overtake your stomach after reading them: 15 appearances, 7 starts , 26 innings pitched, 19 ER, 6.58 ERA, 28 K, 29 BB, 9 HBP.
Well, I like one of those numbers. Twenty-eight strikeouts in 26 innings is certainly respectable. Unfortunately, the 19 earned runs are not, and the 29 walks and nine hit batters are even worse.
At the base of those numbers is Allie’s fastball command. When he hit the strike zone, he was throwing knee-high 95+ mph lasers, and mowing batters down. Allie struck out more than 20% of the batters he faced.
Unfortunately, he missed the zone more often than not. The team knew Allie struggled with command when they drafted him, but I don’t think they realized just how badly his struggles would continue.
The stuff is there. We know that. Allie just needs to continue to grow as a pitcher and not necessarily a thrower. This situation is comparable to that of the Pirates’ Charlie Morton. Morton’s sinker is near unrivaled in the MLB, but he’s only in the process of learning exactly how and when to use it.
I feel like this could be Allie in a few years, with his fastball that has been clocked at 100 MPH.
The potential is absolutely there, and, as I mentioned in Taillon’s review, bad minor league numbers don’t necessarily take away from that potential.
Allie still projects as a good big league closer, though the Pirates are still trying to stretch him out as a starter. He has one poor season in the books, but is currently playing for the team in the instructional league.
Let’s hope he progresses a bit in this month of instructional baseball, clears his head over the winter, and comes back ready to reign his fastball in a bit next season.