Tyler Glasnow has been phenomenal this year. On the season he has a 1.43 ERA in 113.1 innings, with 140 strikeouts and 55 walks. The 140 strikeouts not only leads the Pittsburgh Pirates’ minor league system, but is the best in the organization this year, with Francisco Liriano’s 123 (in 114.1 innings) ranking second.
On May 28th, Glasnow really started picking up the pace. He struck out 12 batters in 5.2 shutout innings that night. That started a month-long stretch where he didn’t give up a run, and also started a stretch where he saw improved control. Since that start, Glasnow has an 0.94 ERA in 86.1 innings, with a 12.0 K/9 and a 3.6 BB/9.
Things have only gotten better for Glasnow this month. After throwing seven shutout innings last night, the right-hander has an 0.36 ERA in 25.1 innings, with a 34:10 K/BB ratio.
All of these numbers raise the question: When is Tyler Glasnow getting promoted to Altoona? The answer might be “next year.” At least that’s what Glasnow thinks.
“I’m pretty sure I’ll be in [Bradenton] this entire year,” Glasnow said, referencing the playoff race. “I don’t think I’ll be going to Double-A. That’s cool with me.”
All year, Glasnow has said that he doesn’t think about when he’ll move up to Altoona. He repeated yesterday that it doesn’t bother him when he’ll move up. He may believe that, or that might just be the right thing to say to the question that he’s asked constantly. That said, there is a good reason why he would be in Bradenton for the remainder of the season.
The Marauders are currently in first place in the second half standings, with a two game lead over Palm Beach. Meanwhile, Altoona has no shot at the playoffs. Glasnow will most likely spend the entire 2015 season in Altoona, getting the same full-season of work at the Double-A level that pretty much every other pitching prospect in the Pirates’ system gets. He might have a shot at Indianapolis by the end of the year, much like Adrian Sampson this year and Jameson Taillon and Casey Sadler did in 2013. He is on pace to arrive in the majors by the middle of the 2016 season. That won’t change if he goes up to Altoona for a few starts this year.
The playoffs aren’t new for Glasnow. He made a post-season start last year for West Virginia. It didn’t go well, as he gave up four runs on three walks and three hits in 2.2 innings of work. This came after a dominant season that was just as good as his current performance in Bradenton. Glasnow spoke about his limited playoff experience yesterday, noting that the games in the playoffs mattered more than the regular season games.
“I think emotions are harder to control in a playoff game,” Glasnow said. “I know last year it was a little different. You could tell just the energy was more, everyone wants to win a lot more, and there’s a lot more fans. It was one of the best feelings pitching last year, because it actually mattered. Games over the season get a little tedious. It’s definitely different emotions, and I feel like it would almost be better just to kind of simulate that, maybe in the future get me ready for it.”
The Marauders have two weeks left in their season. The way the schedule lines up, Glasnow will have two more regular season starts remaining, and will be in line to start one of the early playoff games, if the team makes the post season. You can expect him to continue putting up amazing numbers in those final two regular season starts, because right now High-A isn’t looking like a challenge for Glasnow. But don’t expect him to move up to Altoona, since the playoff atmosphere in Bradenton this season will be more valuable than two early starts at the Double-A level.
Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.
Sensible management of the whole system would point towards pacing the arrival in Pittsburgh of top pitching prospects if possible so that when they reach maturity and the Pirates can’t afford them in FA when the leave they are replaced by the next man up. The Pirates have a parade lined up. Kingham, Taillon, Sampson, Glasnow. What’s the point of rushing Glasnow?
While it is frustrating to see him finish the year in A ball, remember he STARTED the year on the DL. If he would have started healthy, I am sure he would have been moved up. However, he didn’t, so he won’t, and that is not really a huge deal. Like Tim wrote, this will most likely have 0 effect on when he arrives in Pittsburgh which is what really matters. Especially if he understands and is not phased as seems to be the case.
I want him here in Bradenton to finish out our season and the playoffs. Nice guy too. You can have him next season!
Bradenton Marauder fan page -> http://LetsGoMarauders.com
I’m in Bradenton so I want him here to finish out the playoffs. Nice guy too. You guys can have him nest season 🙂
If Glasnow played the whole season he would be challenging for #1 in all minor league baseball for Ks.
Tim, could you comment on the value of slow tracking elite SP prospects? In another organization (Toronto, Miami, etc) he would have been in AA in June and MLB this fall. It seems that some teams promote rapidly almost in fear of future injury. There is also less benefit of gaming team control with pitchers due to high attrition/injury rate. Do you think the patient approach pays off, I imagine command is the big difference. I’m not saying I think he should be in the pen next month, just thinking about how differently other teams do things.
The Pirates cannot afford to bring up prospects before they are ready. Glasnow needs a change-up to dominate in the major leagues. He will work on the change up only until he gets to AAA. When players get to AAA they are so close to the majors that they try to impress with there stuff they have developed and don’t work on it as much. There is no harm in keeping him in high A. We won’t see in Pittsburgh until 2016 at the earliest anyway. Let him work on the change up and increase his chances to be an ace rather than rushing him and potentially ruining his confidence.
Think of it as a blessing that Taillon was not fast tracked. He could have had a whole year of his ML career lost due to TJ. I doubt injury plays much of a role in their decision making other than the innings and pitches per inning restrictions. Team need rarely plays a part as well. I think the slow and tedious pace is the right way to go, but it is frustrating to many fans. Some say saving money is a factor with the slower approach, but I argue that bringing up a prospect quicker could reduce payroll as they could replace a higher priced veteran. There are all kind of examples of both methods. If I can recall correctly, the Angels waited longer than the baseball community wanted to bring Trout up while the Nationals fast paced Harper. Remember all those discussions on who is the better player between the two.
Trout was in MLB at age 19, not sure that really works as a comp. Jose Fernandez would be the better comp, he certainly dominated right from day 1, but is now rehabbing.
Glasnow is 20. If you bring him up now, he’ll be gone when he’s hitting his prime around 27. If you wait til he’s 22 or 23, you’ll get more of his prime years, until hes 29 or 30.
That is not how pitcher aging curves work. Especially for a hard thrower, velocity only declines. Age 27 season is around the time when appreciably declines start to become noticeable, the better pitchers learn to compensate. Based on attrition rates it is foolish to tie development and promotions too much years of team control.
Great reference Andrew! Thanks.
Doug, I am not promoting the idea, just curious about it. He also could blow up his arm at age 26 and we would only get 2-3 years of him in MLB instead of 5. Jose Fernandez came up fast, dominated, and got hurt. You really can’t just rely on the gaming of team control for SP, it is way too much of a crapshoot regarding injury. One can easily argue that we shouldn’t be “wasting” his healthy innings in A ball.
He also missed the beginning of the season due to injury. People are overreacting a little too much to him not being in AA.
I would argue that you are wrong here. What is he gaining from overpowering A+ hitters right now? He needs to pitch to better professional hitters and work on his command against guys that are a challenge. He should have been in AA a month ago.
Its about developing his secondary pitches, not about outcome. He could dominate the hitters at this level without a great changeup and get the call up and struggle due to lack of work on his change. Instead, the pirates believe in allowing a guy to get a full year at each level to work on certain things and get the innings count up each year. Im far more interested in him working on his weak areas than him getting 5 starts in AA this year. He doesnt get to the bigs any faster by getting promoted and not working on things like command and secondary pitches.
To each their own. In no particular order, these are the reasons why I’m OK with him spending the year in Bradenton: lack of fastball command as evidenced by his high walk rate, development of the changeup, a chance to build up innings, time missed at the beginning of the season due to injury, and a chance to pitch in meaningful game(s) in the postseason.
All that being said, I can see the argument as to why he is ready for the challenge at AA. But I think by the time he was ready, the end of the season was close and they wanted him to get playoff experience. He also likely would have spent all of next year at AA anyways given the track record of Taillon and Kingham, so missing out on 3 or 4 starts at AA this year will have very little (if any) impact on his development. Who knows, but just my thoughts.
Well I agree, jal. However, he wasn’t, so at this point it makes sense to get him a couple of extra starts in the playoffs.
Oh I know, I’m not complaining, just curious what Tim thinks of the strategy the Pirates use. It’s not like the Bucs have a ton of homegrown successful MLB SP right now. There are many ways to groom these young arms, I’d like to know how Tim would do it. I am not aware of any studies that favor a single approach.
I think the value of him staying in Bradenton is more the additional innings than anything. The more we can stretch him out in games that matter, the better since he got a late start to the year. If he didn’t miss any time this year, I think he would have been in Altoona 2-3 weeks ago as the innings wouldn’t have been as important. if he can get 2-3 more starts in Bradenton than Altoona, that’s more important, and even moreso when its playoff atmosphere