Stetson Allie, a top pitching prospect who struggled with his control since the Pirates selected him in the second round of the 2010 Draft, reportedly is being converted to a hitter.
Pirates general manager Neal Huntington told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the decision to move Allie, presumably to the infield, was made recently.
"We believed his highest upside was as a pitcher. We obviously were very pleased to sign him as a pitcher. Since then, we've faced some challenges with him as a pitcher," Huntington said in a story posted on the newspaper's website late Sunday night.
Allie, a 21-year-old right-hander, made his professional debut last season with short-season State College. In 15 New York-Penn League appearances, including seven starts, he was 0-2 with a 6.58 ERA and issued 29 walks while striking out 28 over 26 innings.
Moved up to Class A West Virginia to start this season, Allie fared no better. He retired only two batters in two outings, walking eight and allowing four runs on one hit for a 54.00 ERA.
According to the Tribune-Review, the Ohio native recently took batting practice at the Pirates' complex in Bradenton, Fla.
"Through that process, the determination was made that our best next step is to make the conversion full-time to position player," Huntington told the newspaper.
While Huntington did not specify Allie's new position, he played the left side of the infield at St. Edward High School in Lakewood, Ohio.
Among those who have made the conversion from pitcher to position player in recent years are Rick Ankiel of the Nationals, Brian Bogusevic of the Astros and Adam Loewen, who is playing for the Mets' Triple-A affiliate.