Tyler Glasnow is Baseball America’s Top Prospect in the FSL

Baseball America has released their top 20 prospects in the Florida State League. The full list can be seen here, and scouting reports can be found in this article for subscribers. The Pittsburgh Pirates had two players on the list, including Tyler Glasnow, who was the top prospect in the league. Josh Bell was the other player on the list, finishing in the top 10.

Glasnow led the FSL in a lot of categories, mostly due to his upper 90s fastball. He worked a lot this year on his command, and on improving his changeup. His control numbers improved in the second half, and the changeup also saw improvements throughout the year, with Glasnow getting more comfortable with the pitch. He’s got the upside of an ace in the majors, but needs to work on the changeup more, and needs to continue improving his control. BA noted that he needs to throw the changeup and curveball more often for strikes to reach his upside.

Josh Bell was ranked eighth overall, and finally had a breakout season at the plate, leading the FSL in batting average (.335) and slugging (.502). There is no room for Bell in the Pittsburgh outfield, which means his future is likely at first base. He will make the move to first in the Arizona Fall League this off-season, and likely will play the position next year in the minors. Bell has a lot of potential with his bat, with BA saying he could hit 20-25 homers per year. He should return to Altoona to start the 2015 season, after struggling to hit for power at the level in his debut. A conservative projection has him reaching the majors in mid-2016, although if he has a breakout off-season like Gregory Polanco had last year, Bell could speed that timetable up to mid-2015, depending on the first base situation in Pittsburgh.

  • With Josh Bell slotted for 1B at Altoona next year, and Stetson Allie having a reasonable year there in 2014, we are to expect Allie to start 2015 in Indy, no? And if he does well he could be in the 1B mix in PGH before Bell is. A candidate for G. Sanchez’s job perhaps?

    • I briefly brought this up with John Dreker on the site and I’m pretty sure all agreed that the timing probably isn’t great regarding Allie taking over the RH 1B platoon spot this season, at least initially.

      However, he did start showing a split in AA with much greater success against LHP than RHP, as you’d expect, and a young pre-arbitration bat is the kind you’d love to fill a minor role such as that.

  • I’m ordinarily a great believer in delaying an elite prospect’s debut in the majors as long as possible to maximize his service time in Pittsburgh. But after watching Taillon miss last season following Tommy John surgery, I’d be inclined to fast track someone like Glasnow.

    I’m not saying bring him up before he’s ready, but I wouldn’t keep him in the minors just to push back his arbitration clock as we did with Polanco. As we’ve seen, pitchers are a much more combustible commodity than position players, and the window during which they’re an effective starter can close very quickly.

    Barring a trade or contract extension, Glasnow will be a Pirate for six years — which is a fairly long time by the standards of a Major League pitcher. He’s 21 now and he’ll turn 22 by the end of next season. It might be a little aggressive to bring him to Pittsburgh in 2015, but I wouldn’t rule it out. Which means he’ll be 28 or 29 when he’s ready to leave. And who knows how six years of pitching will have treated his arm by then?

    Even if he’s only moderately effective early in his career, that’s more than a lot of pitchers who hang around the league for years can say. The point is, who’s to say his arm won’t be shot by the time he’s 28? Statistically speaking, that’s a strong possibility.

    Again, I’m not saying bring him up before he could possibly be effective. I’m just saying bring him up as soon as you think he can be and capitalize on his formative years rather than ensuring you’ll still control him at age 29 when there’s no guarantee he’ll still be any good then (and plenty of historical evidence to suggest he might not be).

    • One month is really gonna make a difference?

      • If you decide he’s ready for the big time and you’re within a month of the cutoff date, then fine, hold him back for a couple more weeks.

        But if he starts next year in Altoona, fr example, jumps to Indy by June and is tearing it up there by August, I don’t see why we should wait until the following June to bring him up rather than letting him contribute for two months in a pennant race.

        I could maybe understand that logic with a position player, who’s likely to be productive at least into his early 30s. But a pitcher can lose his stuff tomorrow. If Glasnow — or any pitcher — can help you today, go ahead and call them up. Why worry about whether he’ll still be a Pirate when he’s 30 if there’s no guarantee you’ll still care by then?

        • That’s logic that fans love and gets GM’s fired.

          • Again, if we were talking about a position player, I’d absolutely agree with you. But pitchers simply have a shorter shelf life, and that needs to be taken into consideration.

            The annals of baseball are littered with the stories of young pitchers who had a dominating three-, four- or five-year run in their mid-20s only to fall off the earth before they turned 30. There’s no guarantee Taillon’s career will be like that, but a smart general manager plays the sure thing in his hand now rather than worrying about what might happen six years from now.

            • The Pirates will bring up Glasnow or anybody else when they deem it is the right time.
              If Glasnow is a great success the fact of the matter is the Pirates will have no choice but to trade him in year four because they don’t have the ability to offer him the money he will demand if he is successful and his highest value will be when he has two yrs. left.
              So all your talk about the Pirates having him for six yrs. is wrong, they may keep him for one more year if they think there maybe a chance foe a WS run.
              You also seem to make it a sure thing that he will one way or another will suffer an injury or a steep decline after six yrs. which to me has

          • With all respect nmr.. do you recall a gm getting fired for calling someone up early, even though the player performed to expectations? Most quality players get extended before arbitration. . So the callup adds something like $3m to his 6 year contract (guess, plus I think tim did something on the value. Very few players to use though).. and if jeff’s point is valid about longevity of pitchers, it just seems worth considering

            • The cost of Super Two is a lot more than $3 million over 7 years.

              http://www.amazinavenue.com/2013/3/11/4080186/mets-travis-darnaud-super-two-opening-day

              Additionally pitcher aging is not a cliff. If you think about the nature of pitcher injuries, seasons are lost due to surgery, a team is not going to non-tender a guy going through rehab, but if they called them up two months earlier in their rookie year, that rehab will be more expensive.

              http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/pitcher-aging-curves-introduction/

              I can understand Jeff’s argument but it requires a lot more knowledge about pitchers injuries than we really know.

              • That’s the cost of super two if the player goes thru arbitration.. the impact of super two if a player signs an early extension isn’t near that level.. though there weren’t many extensions to use for the estimation

                • fyi- i had already conceded that polanco would be more like marte and be motivated to sign a team friendly contract, therefore not fully leveraging the super two status. unlike Cole, who has boras as an agent so is very unlikely to sign.. to be clear, the discussion had nothing to do with what we thought of NH, only what was best for the team given polanco was ready..

                • The article also covered buyouts.

            • Fair comment, and I’ll turn it around on you…

              Do you recall a pitcher good enough to warrant a call-up being held back and then actually blowing out his arm in that sixth year?

              Jeff’s comment is absolutely worth considering, I just don’t believe it’s particularly practical.

    • After watching Polanco struggle most of the year, are you still expecting everyone to take it as “gospel” that he was being held back?

      I’m a Polanco believer, and I’m glad he got some reps in at the MLB level this year, but I think sometime mid-next year is when things are really going to start to click for him. Any more of this talk of him being “held back” and it hurting the club are just nonsense from my perspective.

      • I’m quite certain the Pirates brain trust knows far more than I do, and in hindsight the case can certainly be made that GPo wasn’t quite ready for prime time when he appeared in mid-June. But you can’t convince me his taking that long to arrive despite hitting about .350 in AAA and the struggles of Snider and Tabata in right was entirely coincidental.

        • Harrison was playing RF in May hitting .317/.356/.488.

          • Yeah, but at that point no one seriously believed he could sustain it. And he wasn’t playing right exclusively. He was still filling in wherever he was needed.

            • Jeff you quote polanco’s batting avg.. but Huntington reasons were his glove in rf.. and after giving him time in rf in aaa.. polancos play in rf was still convincing that he wasn’t quite ready.. he looked lost for a while.. if they called him up a month earlier his shady defense would have cost us.. a lot of people thought it was an excuse. It wasn’t

            • Harrison played right field pretty exclusively until Neil Walker was injured and when Walker went on the DL, Polanco was called up.

        • You say the Pirates know more than you but by what you print actually think you know more than them

      • I didn’t see the reference to polanco in jeff’s comments?

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