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Saturday, December 3, 2022

AFL: Control Issues For Tyler Glasnow in Season Opener

The opener of the Arizona Fall League had two big stories for the Pittsburgh Pirates, one we have heard before and one is new. Tyler Glasnow got the start and had command issues, getting knocked out in the first inning due to his pitch count. On the other side of things, Josh Bell played his first real game at first base. He had played a little in the Fall Instructional League before leaving for the AFL, but this is the first game where the stats actually count. Scottsdale ended up winning the game 7-4, scoring three runs in the first and another three in the fifth.

Glasnow faced five batters before being removed and threw a total of 29 pitches, 14 went for strikes. He had a 3-0 lead to start the bottom of the first and immediately issued a lead-off walk to Byron Buxton. That was followed by a stolen base, then Buxton scored on a throwing error by Glasnow. After getting a strikeout looking, he walked the next batter, but got an out when Elias Diaz threw the lead runner out at third base. Glasnow then gave up his third walk before being pulled. He recorded two outs(one by Diaz), gave up one run and three walks, with one strikeout.

Eric Longenhagen from Fangraphs posted a video of a handful of pitches from Glasnow

Three Pirates were in the starting lineup on Tuesday night. Elias Diaz caught and batted third. Josh Bell manned first base and batted fifth, while Dan Gamache was at third base and he hit seventh in the order.

Starting at the top, Diaz reached on a throwing error in his first at-bat and ended up coming around to score. He flew out to right field next time up and walked in his third plate appearance, coming around to score his second run. Diaz struck out in the seventh inning, then lined a single into right field with two outs in the ninth. He finished 1-for-4 and allowed two stolen bases.

Josh Bell batted left/right/left/right in his four at-bats and struck out the first two times up, then grounded out to third base. In his fourth at-bat, he grounded out to second base. In the field, Bell handled all seven chances he had cleanly, including a line drive hit to him in the fourth inning.

Dan Gamache walked his first time up. He flew out to center field in the fourth inning, then grounded into a double play to end the fifth. In the eighth inning, he picked up the first hit by a Pirate, collecting a one-out double. He was 1-for-3 with a walk.

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John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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NMR

Quick report on Glasnow last night by Eric Longenhagen(referenced above):

“A lot like Bradley, actually. Fastball 94-97, plus curveball that falls off the table in the 77-80mph range. Control was bad, his arm comes through very late, doesn’t repeat. Going to be a rough Fall for him unless he starts throwing strikes in a hurry. No tertiary pitch last night. You’ll get a full report sometime this month for sure.”

Pretty much what we already knew. Lotta work to be done.

FrankRestly

Stop the video at 0:03.
Front foot is up and ball is in glove against his body. Ball should be behind him waist level.

Stop the video at 0:21.
Front foot is planted and ball is still behind his head just starting to move forward. Ball should be past his ear close to release.

Based on his delivery, he would be better off starting with the glove and ball behind his back when he goes for a grip. Most pitchers don’t like to do it, but it will speed up his delivery, it will synchronize his footwork and arm motion better, and it adds a bit of deception.

NMR

Interesting. Thanks for the input.

The arm action in general looks shorter this year than last, so it sounds like the organization believes this is a problem they’re working to correct as well.

FrankRestly

Pitchers that really like to reach back for velocity need either a high leg kick or a hip turn to keep their arm action in sync with their footwork. This creates a problem for them with runners on base (as was the case here with a runner on first). That is why I would suggest starting with the glove and ball behind the back (at least from the stretch) – less arm movement to get to a loaded throwing position. It takes some practice gripping the baseball with glove and ball behind the back and even more practice doing it without tipping base runners.

NMR

If I’m picturing this correctly, it reminds me of Madison Bumgarner.

He does an uncanny job of keeping both hands high and toward his back shoulder such that they’re ready to separate at the same point and position in the delivery every time.

johndw28

It’s very early on TG but I’ve always been concerned people were too optimistic assuming he will eventually be TOR guy with his control issues. Hopefully we see great improvement in that area in Altoona this year.

Doug

Agreed. Until he fixes his control, he’s an AJ Burnett type of pitcher. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s not an ace.

johndw28

Actually I think projecting him to be an AJ Burnett type pitcher is quite optimistic at this point in time. His ceiling is clearly higher than AJ but his floor is MUCH lower imo. He has a lot of time to harness his control but if he doesn’t improve it I don’t think he is a starter at MLB level.

csnumber23

I think he will be better than Burnett was most of his career. Time will tell

Steve Williams

This makes no sense at all. Glasnow was 20 years-old this year. His control was not great but was also not terrible. Many tall pitchers who became all-stars had much worse control at that age. For example, at Age 20, AJ Burnett’s control was a lot worse than Glasnow’s.

johndw28

LOL, OK it’s silly to say his floor is below AJ Burnett who has been a successful MLB pitcher for almost 15 years. I should just assume he will at least be that good or better as worst case scenario.

NMR

Not really sure why the AJ Burnett comp got thrown around in the first place, but AJ Burnett was a damn good pitcher.

We should all be very happy if Tyler Glasnow ends up having a career like that of AJ Burnett.

NMR

But my goodness, the plane he gets on that fastball down in the zone.

NMR

It’s going to take patience.

6′-8″ guys with levers as long as his don’t get them all moving in sync without thousands and thousands and thousands of reps.

Glasnow’s control will improve if and when he learns to repeat his delivery, and that doesn’t happen over night.

Steve Williams

Absolutely right. This hand-wringing over control issues for a 6-8 pitcher who just turned 21 a few weeks ago is absurd. One example: When Randy Johnson was 22 and 23, he was walking more than 7 batters per 9 innings. (Glasnow walked about 4 per 9 this year.) It wasn’t until Johnson was 29 years old that his walk rate got down to where Glasnow’s is right now. There have been dozens of All-star pitchers in the last decade whose control was far worse than Glasnow’s at the age of 20.

Doug

Should’ve traded him for Bud Norris…

csnumber23

I hope this is a joke!

Lee Foo Rug Bug

Not good news about TG

csnumber23

Not a big deal, it’s his first start in over a month.

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