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Stetson Allie Converting To Hitting

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Wow. That headline reads like it's a joke, but evidently it's not. Allie was pretty well regarded as a third baseman coming out of high school, but it's not clear what he'll play as a pro. In any case, the Pirates are giving up on Allie as a pitcher, less than two years after paying him $2.25 million as a much-ballyhooed draft pick.

The previous elements of Allie's story are familiar. He throws ridiculously hard, but was terrible in State College last year, walking 29 batters in 26 innings, and even worse in West Virginia this year, pitching just two-thirds of an inning and walking eight batters.

We don't yet know much about his abilities as a hitter, obviously, but these kinds of conversions are usually made out of desperation, and Rick Ankiel-type success stories are rare. Allie is now 21 and has effectively wasted two years of development doing something that the Pirates have now decided he won't do in the majors. I assume it will be another year or so before he gets back to a full-season league. He would have been a legitimate early-round pick as a third baseman, but we'll see how much that matters now.

It certainly isn't the Pirates' fault for hoping Allie would be a pitcher, since it would have seemed insane to think otherwise when he was drafted. But it's sad that he's gone from being one of the Pirates' best prospects to being almost a non-entity in less than a year.

UPDATE: Allie will be a third baseman, and he could start at State College or West Virginia. West Virginia seems like an extremely aggressive assignment for a player with Allie's lack of experience, but I guess we'll see.