CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Most Major League baseball players have gone through quite a journey through the minors, usually starting at the rookie-league level before moving up to Class A.
But in the case of West Virginia Power first baseman/designated hitter Stetson Allie, it's taken a trek off the beaten path just to get to back to this point.
Allie was selected out of high school in the first round of the 2010 draft and was given a $2.25 million signing bonus to pass up a scholarship to North Carolina, but not as the middle-of-the-lineup power hitter he's turned into - the Pittsburgh Pirates drafted him as a pitcher.
The product of St. Edward High School in Lakewood, Ohio, Allie compiled a 9-1 record with a 1.29 ERA in his senior season, featuring a fastball that topped out in triple digits and a devastating slider in the low 90s. They produced 134 strikeouts in 60 innings pitched, more than two per inning.
He struggled in his first season at State College as a 20-year-old in 2011, posting a 6.58 ERA in 26 innings in the short-season New York-Penn League. Despite that, he was promoted to the Power last year, making just two appearances. They also didn't go well - he retired two hitters, walked eight, hit one with a pitch and threw three wild pitches.
A pitching prospect once mentioned in the same breath within the Pirates organization as Gerrit Cole and Jameson Taillon, Allie soon found himself in the rookie-level Gulf Coast League, trying to reinvent himself as a hitter.
As challenging as that situation might seem, Allie welcomed it with open arms.
"Mentally I was prepared to do it - I was excited to do it, actually," Allie said. "It fits more of my personality of playing every day, I was excited. [The toughest part] was just getting back into it."
It wasn't smooth sailing at first.
Allie also struggled as a hitter in the GCL, batting just .213 with three home runs and 19 RBIs in 42 games.
But Allie said it was this experience that enabled him to put it together this year, and put it together he has.
Through just 19 games in his return to West Virginia this season, Allie has already hit twice as many home runs (six), has more RBIs (20) than he did in more than twice as many games last year, and is hitting at a .367 clip.
It's been quite a turnaround.
"[The time in the GCL helped] a ton," Allie said. "In the Gulf Coast League there's a lot of guys that throw hard, but they don't know where it's going. Here they have a little more idea where it's coming and where it's going so it's a little easier to hit. Obviously you're going to have your ups and downs, but I'm just going to stick with it and hopefully continue what I'm doing."