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Bucs' Allie slugs two more home runs
Converted pitcher rediscovers approach after power outage
05/21/2013 11:25 PM ET
Stetson Allie leads the South Atlantic League with 38 RBIs.
Stetson Allie leads the South Atlantic League with 38 RBIs. (Matt Burton/MiLB.com)

The biggest adjustment Stetson Allie has had to make this season has been trying to keep everything the same.

The former pitcher has been perhaps the Minor League's most intriguing story, breaking out as one of the South Atlantic League's premier sluggers after retooling his plate approach to seek and destroy outside fastballs.

After struggling to maintain that approach over the past couple of weeks, the West Virginia first baseman has rediscovered his stroke, blasting a pair of homers in Tuesday night's 9-3 triumph over Kannapolis.

The 6-foot-2, 238-pound Pirates prospect has four homers in his last five games after failing to go deep in his previous 14 contests. With 12 homers, he's tied with Hickory's Joey Gallo for second in the South Atlantic League.

"The past week or so, I had been getting away from my approach," Allie said. "Over the past three or so days, I've gotten back to it. I'm working hard in my early work on seeing the ball and sticking to what I do best."

What Allie has done best is abuse South Atlantic League pitchers who decide to throw him fastballs away. The Ohio native discovered this spring that he has more than enough power to drive balls the opposite way with authority. He also had found himself susceptible to professional breaking balls last year in a 42-game stint in the Gulf Coast League as he tried hitting from his heels -- like he did in high school.

Former Major Leaguer Orlando Merced coached Allie, preaching to him to look for fastballs away. The goal is for Allie to punish those heaters when he gets them in a hittable location. And because he's already focused on staying back and waiting for those balls to travel further, he's found more success timing off-speed pitches.

"If I stay with the same thing, I can see breaking pitches and changeups better," he explained. "It just works out that way."

As the power numbers piled up, Allie found himself abandoning the approach. He batted .213 (10-for-47) with only three extra-base hits during the 14-game homer drought.

"That just kind of crept in," he said. "I just tried to do too much. What I do best is hit balls to right field, and I got away from it, trying to hit that 500-foot bomb. When I do that, it's not me."

Extra work in batting practice corrected Allie's mind-set in short order. And ever since he homered in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday, he's been back on track. Allie hit his drought-ender on a 3-2 changeup, driving the ball to left field in exactly the fashion he game-plans.

"Most of the home runs I hit to right or center field are off fastballs," he said. "If I pull the ball, usually it's a breaking ball or a changeup. When I'm on the fastball and hit it to right field, I know everything is all timed up and I'm on. I just need to keep doing that every day."

That held true Tuesday. Allie connected off Intimidators starter Euclides Leyer in the first inning, driving an outside fastball out to right field. In the sixth, Ryan Bollinger challenged Allie with a breaking ball and left it middle-in, and Allie pulled it for a solo shot to left.

The latter home run was the Power's second of the inning, as Dilson Herrera also took Bollinger deep. Herrera, the Pirates' No. 20 prospect, has three homers in his last nine games and five for the season. He's hitting .305 with an .844 OPS.

"He's got some tremendous hands," Allie said. "He's a tremendous player. He has all the tools as a second baseman. He has power, a big glove, he can run and he's just a great ballplayer."

Jake Seiner is a contributor to MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @Jake_Seiner. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.
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