MORNING PIRATES BUZZ
Two years since being drafted in the 2010 amateur draft, Stetson’s Allie’s tenure as a power pitcher in the Pirates organization is over. The Pirates internally decided over two weeks ago to ditch the plan to develop Allie as a pitcher and have decided to move him to third base. Allie was the Pirates 2nd round pick in 2010 and signed for $2.25 million.
Just last year he was regarded as one of the “Big Four” pitching prospects but it became evident very soon that despite having the best power arm of any pitcher in the organization and topping 100 mph at times, Allie just didn’t have it. He has struggled to make it out of extended spring training and has developed no command for the strike zone.
When selected in the second round in 2010, the 6-foot-4, 225-pound Allie was 9-1 with a 1.29 ERA and 134 strikeouts in 60 innings during the 2010 season for St. Edward.
Moving Allie to third base after making a huge commitment financially and less than two full seasons of being in the Pirates minor league system, would seem a bit early and skeptical,Â but the overall consensus from scouts we spoke with so far is that the move is not a surprise.
“He didn’t have a lot of polish and couldn’t command the strike zone, ” a scout said this morning who last saw Allie pitch in April. “I saw him pitch in April and it was clear that he’s still learning how to pitch and needed a lot of work on his mechanics.
Allie was more of a third baseman in high school and didn’t start pitching until his senior year. Now the Pirates hope he can make a Rick Ankiel type switch from pitcher to hitter.
There’s at least some hope as Allie coming out of high school had a ton of raw power as a hitter and some feel could have been drafted in the third or fourth round as a hitter. The knock on Allie as a hitter in high school though is that he has little to no plate patience.
AllieÂ notÂ making it as a pitcher is a majorÂ blow for the organizationÂ and it’s no surprise it was leaked late Sunday nightÂ with theÂ news circulating on the day the Pirates select 8th overall in the MLB draft.
The Pirates continue to be linked to two college players: Arizona State shortstop Deven Marrero and Mississippi State right-hander Chris Stratton. Maerreo is regarded as the most likely pick for the Pirates at No. 8. Maerreo who is one of the best defensive players in the draft, had a down season offensively, hitting .284 this season with 4 home runs and 33 RBIs. He batted a combined .349 in his first two seasons and came into this season regarded as a top-5 pick. He is widely expected to be available at No. 8, as is Stratton who went 11-2 with a 2.38 ERA in 17 games this season. Stratton, 22, is one of the older prospects in the draft.
The two high school names linked to the Pirates is LHP Max Fried, Harvard-Westlake and outfielder David Dahl, Oak Mountain HS (Ala.)
While Stratton and Marrero are regarded as safe picks, the Pirates dream scenario is for Florida catcher Mike Zunino to fall to them at No. 8, an industry source says. Zunino is regarded as the best collegiate hitter in the draft and hit .316 with 17 home runs and 56 RBI’s this season. Zunino could go as early as No. 3 but some believe there’s a chance he could fall to No. 8.
If Zunino were to fall (unlikely) to the Pirates and be the selection, it would be the second time in four drafts that the Pirates select a catcher in the first round. The Pirates selected Tony Sanchez with the No. 4 overall pick in the 2009 draft. Sanchez was just promoted to AAA yesterday.