Pittsburgh Pirates 2015 Top Prospects: #1 – Tyler Glasnow

The Pirates Prospects 2015 Prospect Guide is now on sale. The book features prospect reports on everyone in the system, the 2015 top 50 prospects, and the most comprehensive coverage of the Pirates’ farm system that you can find. While the top 50 prospects are exclusive to the book, we will be releasing the top 20 prospects over the next few weeks. Be sure to purchase your copy of the book on the products page of the site.

To recap the countdown so far:

20. Luis Heredia, RHP
19. JaCoby Jones, SS
18. Willy Garcia, OF
17. Clay Holmes, RHP
16. Gage Hinsz, RHP
15. Trey Supak, RHP
14. Cody Dickson, LHP
13. John Holdzkom, RHP
12. Adrian Sampson, RHP
11. Harold Ramirez, OF
10. Elias Diaz, C
9. Cole Tucker, SS
8. Mitch Keller, RHP
7. Alen Hanson, 2B
6. Nick Kingham, RHP
5. Reese McGuire, C
4. Josh Bell, 1B
3. Austin Meadows, OF
2. Jameson Taillon, RHP

We continue the countdown with the number 1 prospect, Tyler Glasnow.

1. Tyler Glasnow, RHP

Glasnow has made a lot of progress with his development over the last three years. He entered pro ball largely unknown, with no top draft prospect status, and nothing more than a tall, projectable frame to like. Not all projectable pitchers add velocity. Some take years to see an increase. In Glasnow’s case, it happened almost immediately. He went from a pitcher who threw 88-92 MPH to a guy who was routinely hitting 96 MPH at the end of his first pro season.

Glasnow now consistently works in the 94-96 MPH range, touching as high as 100 MPH. He pairs that fastball with a big breaking curveball that can be a plus offering when he has full command of the pitch. He didn’t have much need for a changeup in high school with those two offerings, so the last two seasons have been about adding that pitch.

The Pirates have pushed the changeup development in High-A with Jameson Taillon and Adrian Sampson in the past, and it was no different with Glasnow in 2014. He was throwing the pitch 10-15 times per start to get comfortable with the offering, and by the end of the season he was showing some progress.

A bigger focus for Glasnow has been his control. While he has amazing stuff, the main thing holding him back right now is a lack of control, which has gotten slightly better over the last two years. The issue here is repeating his delivery, which can be a problem for tall pitchers who aren’t used to their frames. Glasnow shot up eight inches in high school, and has been adjusting ever since.

Glasnow has the best stuff of any starter in the Pirates’ system, and the highest upside. He will go to Altoona in 2015, and should spend the entire season there, working on his control issues. This will be a big step, as his stuff has allowed him to dominate the lower levels, even with control issues. It might not be as easy in Double-A. He could make the jump to Indianapolis by the end of the year, and will probably spend half a season there in 2016. He’s projected to arrive in the majors by the middle of 2016, with the upside of a number one starter, potentially giving the Pirates a devastating trio when paired with Cole and Taillon.

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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.

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IMO Glasnow will be a bust. Too many control issues, and not good enough secondary stuff to be a #1 starter. I think he could be a lights out reliever, but don’t think he’ll ever be a top of the rotation starter.


A 5th round draft pick that is even if he’s the back end of the rotation is not a bust.


ddo, I would say if he turns out to be Adrian Sampson and not a Zimmerman or a Greinke, he might not be a bust, but he sure would be a major disappointment.


I agree, I just thought bust was too much


ddo,I couldn’t agree with you more. I do know that I can hardly wait to see him in AA.


It is when they are ranked top 15 in most lists


Don’t think, it will only hurt the team.Great definitive statement here. What that statement tells me is that you are pretty dumb coming out and saying any prospect will definitely be a star or a bust. Go do your homework.


a ceiling or aroldis chapman/ kimbrel is a bust?


Whew ! Looked like a quick walk back didn’t it N ?


I mean, Glasnow turning into a dominate Craig Kimbrel-esq closer, which is what I think happens, isn’t exactly the worst thing in the world. Still a lot of value there for the Bucs. I just don’t believe he’ll be a top of the rotation starter. If that makes me dumb, then so be it. Sorry my opinion isn’t the same as the great, almighty, all knowing, omnipotent leowalter.


Reading comprehension certainly isn’t your strong suit, is it ? I guess I am the only person in the world who thinks Glasnow is a TOR prospect ? Don’t make stupid statements, and you won’t be considered stupid.


Hey Leo… Off topic here.. I wanted to know if you had seen alot of Adrian Sampson and some of the other pitching prospects? My interest is mostly w Sampson.. If you did see a lot of him, can you give me your take on him? If you have any relevant comparisons to other pitching prospects or guys that you’ve seen in the past that draw a likeness too…. Thanks Leo.


I liked what I saw of him C. He looks more like a # 4 or 5, but if he is reliable back there, he is an asset.


Thanks Leo. Still nothing like the eyeball test when the source knows what he is looking at. It is the kids unspectacular means of success that interests me. The efficiency of the remarkably low pitch counts often enough to be more then coincidental seems like a potential major league commodity .
I know you like Cumpton as well. They both have that under the radar potential. Statistically unremarkable, either/both could develop into 4 and/or 5 starters that quietly eat 200 innings, while giving the club a chance to compete every time out…


Yes, C.,that is why I have been very positive about both of them. No ASGs or HOF in their future, but just as you say, a chance to provide a lot of innings at the backend of the rotation. And I have to admit, pitchers like those two ( and the more highly regarded Kingham ) always impress me more than a Pimental, who actually does have a higher ceiling…..but a lot better chance of flaming out due to lack of control, let alone command.


He’s a Blue Jays’ prospect now? And I’m the stupid one? Ha, you’re a know it all smart ass punk. All I said is that I do not believe Glasnow will be a top of the rotation starter. But expressing my opinion makes me stupid in your mind, because you’re a smart ass know it all punk.


Heh heh…..did you ever stop and think how much that description fits you ?


Well, unlike you, I’m not a pompous jackass who believes they’re smarter/better than everyone else in the world. Also, when did Glasnow become a Blue Jays’ prospect? I had no idea he was a ‘TOR prospect,’ as you state.

Bill Kline

Tim I got my prospect book today and as usual love it. One thing I’d like to see is an MLB ETA for the players based on when they’re projected to be ready for the show. That’s be great for projecting guys.

dr dng

Tim, still waiting for mine so I can stop asking stupid questions.

Travis Persinger

I get what you’re all “hoping” for but to get a FLA Marlin Burnett…out of a player who had projections from ALL the professionals in the business that he’d be nothing close to that….I think would be a great get for this front office. IMO


As Tim stated, Glasnow has spent his past two seasons learning to throw a plus offering curveball, and a change-up from scratch. Evidently, he was leaning how to throw the change-up in actual games. In this way, the numbers should reflect a pitcher who is not fully developed. This must be expected.

Therefore, I expect his year at Altoona will show improvement with the change-up. However, his stats may not reflect his true talent. He may need more time to fully command the change-up, while progressing to Indy next season.


I agree

Kenny Moore

How great would it be for both Bell and Glasnow to get to the majors at the same time next year?Buc fans think I am crazy because I keep saying that Glasnow will be better than both JT and Cole. I just love his upside and I hope he dominates AA this season. Huntington has quite the collection of RHP who cn blow you away. I can’t wait for the season to kick off!


He won’t dominate AA till he has better command.


He could dominate if he wanted to, all he has to do is stick to what he does best, but he won’t because he will be working on that 3rd pitch and his control, the key words here are “Working On”.


You don’t agree with me about command, but you agree when NorCal says he ” may need more time to fully command….” ??? Didn’t I phrase it correctly enough to suit you ? Or are you just being an…..uhhh…stubborn ? I would guess the key word here would be ” command ” myself.


Now we are back to the old format?


I generally post via my iPhone and this new format is different. I like the black background, but I don’t see where you can like a comment.


You must have good eyes!!! Can hardly read the grey on black


Anyone have a comp of a pitcher in the show that Glasnow is similar ?


Peak AJ Burnett is actually a great comp. Both two-pitch tall righties with plus-plus velo and shaky control.

Lee Foo Young

NMR…and like I said above, I am hoping for better than peak AJ.


Fla marlins AJ? Guess that makes sense.



Lee Foo Young

I see ZIPS makes Tyler equal to AJ. I sure hope he is a lot better than AJ. Even in AJ’s prime, he was rarely any better than a #2 and mostly was a disappointing #3 ′ Imho.


I’ll ne pleasantly surprised if he becomes Aj Burnett.


No big league #1 ’s have Glasnow’s control, Foo.

Lee Foo Young

NMR…doesn’t mean it can’t get better. I remember somebody named Randy J who had similar control problems. I just have real high hopes for Tyler, that’s all.


Exactly !

The Tony

If everything pans out, Cole, Glasnow, Taillon, Kingham makes my mouth water

Lee Foo Young

Wow, does this site look a whole lot different on the IPad. Black column on the left and the comments in grey on black underneath. Anyone else seeing it that way?

However, on the PLUS side, I see my ‘oft-requested’ home button. 🐥🐗🌞


Same….very hard to read.


That foot-strike looks awkward.

Love the formatting changes.


There is no such thing as a pitching prospect.

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