CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- On the 20-80 baseball scouting scale, Stetson Allie's hitting power is considered 80 by his first-year manager.
A year ago that kind of number might've been mistaken for Allie's unsightly earned run average, which is why when the West Virginia Power opens the regular season tonight, you'll see the erstwhile pitcher playing first base and perhaps launching tape-measure blasts at warehouses beyond the walls of Appalachian Power Park.
"As a starting pitcher, I was pretty much terrible," Allie bluntly said Tuesday, two days before he was scheduled to make his debut as a position player in full-season minor league baseball.
"When (the Pittsburgh Pirates) told me I was going back to being a hitter, I was thrilled."
The Pirates appear to feel the same way after Allie's impressive spring training.
The 6-foot-2, 238-pound 2010 second-round draft pick is noticeably more comfortable away from the rubber because he can play baseball daily. Wayward 100 mile-per-hour fastballs are a thing of the past.
He flashed his prodigious power in Bradenton, Fla. - the Pirates' spring training home - but also athleticism around the bag at first. At the plate he is focused on using all fields and being patient, while keeping his mind and body in shape to handle the rigors of being an everyday player.
So far, so good.
"The impressive thing for him during spring training is how much he's improved around first base with his defense," said Michael Ryan, the Power's first-year manager and a former major leaguer. "The guy can obviously hit. He has crazy power and he can hit it out of any park to any field, so we're concentrating on defense."
Allie's stock drop has been precipitous since he commanded a $2.25 million signing bonus as the Pirates' second selection in the 2010 draft behind another power arm, Jameson Taillon.
Allie debuted as Baseball America's No. 3 prospect in the organization in 2011.
That year, Baseball America wrote about the Pirates' enthusiasm in the raw pitcher lasting 52 picks in the draft despite having "a live arm to rival Jameson Taillon's."
They did, however, note that teams were scared off by Allie's lack of command.