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Pirates prospects Allie, Bell to begin 2012 with Power

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The Pittsburgh Pirates' two most recent second-round picks, Stetson Allie (2010) and Josh Bell (2011), have been assigned to the West Virginia Power.

Allie, the Pirates' No. 9 prospect according to Baseball America, is a 6-foot-2, 227-pound right-hander who turned 21 during spring training. He is expected to pitch in the Power's rotation after going 0-2 with a 6.58 earned run average in 15 games for State College last season.

The 19-year-old Bell will make his professional debut in full season baseball after commanding the largest bonus ($5 million) of any second-round draft pick in Major League history.

The Power opens the Charleston franchise's 26th South Atlantic League season Thursday night at Hagerstown. The club's home opener is scheduled April 12, when Greenville visits Appalachian Power Park.

Bell posted gaudy offensive statistics at Jesuit Preparatory High School in Dallas last season. He nearly hit three times as many home runs (14) as he had strikeouts (five) and he hit .556 in 139 at-bats.

He tumbled in last summer's amateur draft because of concerns teams had about signing him. Bell had pledged to attend the University of Texas on a baseball scholarship, which made teams wary of investing a high draft choice on him.

So, Bell plummeted into the laps of the Pirates after all 30 teams passed on him in the first round.

Baseball America placed Bell as the organization's third-best prospect behind 2011 first-round pick Gerrit Cole and 2010 first-round selection Jameson Taillon, the latter of whom spent all of last season with the Power.

Both are pitchers, which makes Bell the most highly regarded bat in the Pirates' system. Baseball America lists the 6-3, 213-pound switch hitter as the organization's top power hitter.

West Virginia's initial 2012 roster contains 13 position players and 12 pitchers.

The probable starting lineup consists of catcher Elias Diaz, first baseman Jose Osuna, second baseman Dan Gamache, shortstop Alen Henson, third baseman Kirk Singer, outfielder Willy Garcia, outfielder Gregory Polanco, Bell and designated hitter Chris Lashmet.

Third baseman Eric Avila, infielder Jodaneli Carvajal, catcher Jonathan Schwind and outfielder Junior Sosa are expected to come off the bench.

The starting rotation could include Allie, Zack Dodson, Nick Kingham and Zack Von Rosenberg. Matt Benedict and Zac Fuesser are also rotation candidates, and Fuesser made 11 starts for the Power last season.

The bullpen will boast Jordan Cooper, Emmanuel DeLeon, Justin Ennis, Mike Jefferson, Rinku Singh and Trent Stevenson.

Eight players - Diaz, Avila, Dodson, Von Rosenberg, Fuesser, Ennis, Singh and Stevenson - have played for West Virginia at some point in their minor league careers.

Contact sportswriter Chuck McGill at chuck.mcgill@dailymail.com or 304-348-1712.


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