By Trey Wilson
CURVE, Pa. — Stetson Allie is no stranger to change.
When the Pirates selected him in the second round of the 2010 MLB Draft, he was one of the top amateur pitching prospects in the nation. However, he was only able to display his triple-digit fastball for 17 professional appearances before Pittsburgh decided to flip him into a position player and develop his talents at first base in 2012.
Less than three years later, Allie is reinventing his game again, manning right field for the Curve.
Allie welcomes the challenge and feels optimistic about the opportunity it presents.
“Every day I’m going out and getting better,” Allie said. “It’s a little bit more relaxed in the outfield. I can focus more on hitting and just go out there, have fun and be athletic.”
Hitting is something Allie has done well so far. He earned a South Atlantic League Mid-Season All-Star selection while hitting .324 and clubbing 17 home runs in just 66 games with Single-A West Virginia in 2013. His average dropped while facing tougher competition at the Double-A level in 2014, but Allie hit a career-high 21 home runs and led the Curve with 71 walks.
He is back with the Curve to begin the 2015 season while making the transition to the outfield. While learning another new position has presented its challenges, Allie said moving to right field pales in comparison to switching from the mound to first base.
“Everyone thinks first base is really easy, but you don’t know how valuable a first baseman is until you get over there,” Allie said.
Prior to the season, Allie was able to join the Pirates during Spring Training for his first major league camp. He cherished the opportunity to work around and observe the top players in baseball.
“You can learn so much picking their brains,” Allie said. “Seeing the talent there and seeing how they go about their business every day is what I took the most from it. Just trying to build my routine off of what they do. They’re everyday grinders. They go out there every day trying to learn still and working on something they need to improve on.”
Allie was also able to play in the Pirates’ exhibition games against the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park in early April. Though he has played at places like Progressive Field, Petco Park and Wrigley Field, Allie said the atmosphere during those games in Philadelphia was breathtaking.
“I’ve played in a lot of big league stadiums, but I’ve never had the environment that I had in Philly,” Allie said. “I’ve never had so much adrenaline in my life. It was probably the most fun I’ve had in my career so far.”
The short sample of Major League Baseball is still driving Allie even harder than before.
“It’s like blood in the water for a shark,” Allie said. “Not saying that I haven’t been driven the whole time to get there, but when you get that little taste and you see what’s so different, it makes you want to get there and stay there.”