The Pitch That is Most Important to Tyler Glasnow’s Development

Lost in all of the hitting that the Altoona Curve position players did in Game One of their Tuesday doubleheader, Tyler Glasnow had his fifth post-DL start for the Altoona Curve.

Glasnow ended up going six innings, giving up three earned runs on four walks and ten strikeouts. Ten strikeouts are a season-high for Glasnow, who struck out nine in his previous start in seven innings. Four walks are tied for his season-high as well. Before Tuesday’s game, Glasnow only allowed three walks in his four starts since returning from the disabled list.

Glasnow spoke candidly after the game about feeling uncomfortable in the windup with no runners on, but he was much better from the stretch. His four walks were all leadoff batters, in the first, fourth, fifth, and sixth. A lot of his inconsistencies could be a result of having to wait for long stretches between innings when the Curve were busy putting up crooked numbers on three separate occasions before Glasnow went back out to pitch (four, four, and six runs scored in the 2nd, 3rd, and 5th).

“My windup was the worst it’s been in a really long time,” Glasnow said. “I felt good in the stretch, but something about the windup – it was just one of those days. I could not find it at all in the windup; luckily, I felt really good in the stretch. If it wasn’t for those leadoff walks, [things would’ve went better].”

Aside from the erratic fastball command and walks, Glasnow still had dominating stuff. The fastball velocity was pretty much where you would expect it, sitting between 94-98 MPH. More importantly, he threw the curveball seven times early in the count throughout his outing. Not only did he throw the curveball early in the count, he threw it for strikes. The curveball command has drastically improved from only consistently throwing it in the dirt for swings-and-misses to throwing it in the strike zone for calls looking.

After Glasnow’s start on July 10th in Altoona, Pitching Coach Justin Meccage talked a lot about Glasnow needing to be more effective with early count breaking balls.

“The one thing that we can build off of is the early count breaking ball,” Meccage said after Glasnow allowed one hit in six innings on the 10th. “He needs to throw it for a strike.”

Glasnow took that game plan into Tuesday night’s game and executed well with the curveball.

The pitch that Glasnow has yet to develop to it’s full potential is his changeup. He only threw it twice on Tuesday in Altoona, with one being driven for a base hit.

“The changeup needs to continue to be a priority,” Pitching Coach Justin Meccage said. “He only threw two tonight, so we need to continue to work that in a little bit more. It’s just understanding the development of the pitch over the guy not wanting to give it a chance.”

Meccage went on to say that he thinks Glasnow has the feeling he is giving batters a better chance to hit when he throws the changeup. The development of the pitch is probably the most important thing that Glasnow needs to continue to improve at this point in time. Manager Tom Prince, Meccage, and Pirates General Manager Neal Huntington have all talked about the importance of that changeup recently.

“It’s that fine line of competing because you want results, but the development of the pitch for the big leagues is most important,” said Meccage.

“The changeup continues to be a work in progess, which the sooner we can get that locked in, [the better],” said Neal Huntington. “But, he’s still doing Double-A hitters a favor when he throws it, so it’s hard to push him too much on that.”

Even after giving up three earned runs on Tuesday, Glasnow has a 1.95 ERA in five starts since his return to Altoona. He has a 41:7 K/BB ratio, and batters are only hitting .160 against him. Expect him to throw the changeup more often in his next start, as I feel it will be emphasized to him to throw it more by his coaches. They would like to see the changeup around 88 MPH, but slowing it down to 90 MPH would work well coupled with his fastball velocity.

As far as I see, Glasnow’s changeup and the lack of innings pitched this season would be the two things holding him back from a promotion to Triple-A.

  • Not only did he throw the curveball early in the count, he threw it for strikes. The curveball command has drastically improved from only consistently throwing it in the dirt for swings-and-misses to throwing it in the strike zone for calls looking.

    That is very encouraging to hear.

  • Altoona plays at Akron tonight on the cbssportsnetwork for any pne who likes changing channels.

  • Triple A isn’t a necessity with pitchers of this caliber. Michael Wacha had about 90 innings of minor league time total and he’s been a contributor to one of the strongest pitching teams in the league.
    If Glasnow can help, then let him help.

    • Wacha was also a major college first round draft pick with three plus pitches and great command.

      But other than that, yeah, he and Glasnow are exactly alike.

      • It’s that 3rd pitch that is the big issue…Glasnow has two plus pitches and improving command…its just that lack of a true third pitch, or at least a 3rd pitch that he’s willing to throw.

        • 99% of the time I’d agree, but I think the two pitches Glasnow does have combined with the insane angle he gets out of the hand would be enough to have success *if* he could command the pitches.

          While his *control* is certainly getting better, I haven’t ready any reports that he’s actually better at commanding the ball on any sort of consistent basis. I’d still put his floor as a #4 (league average) with what he has right now, which is awfully aggressive but does speak to how good I think these two pitches are.

          • I agree with you on that NMR. His start Tuesday night was proof of that.

        • The big issue with Glasnow is not the third pitch, but consistent command of his fastball from start to start.

      • Wacha is about 3″ shorter too NMR.

    • I don’t know if you have seen this before, but, he is not ready for MLB yet.

  • Two questions – 1) can they just force you to use the change up 10 times a game for example…….which I thought Bradenton was for and 2) can you improve your change up outside of game situations (in-between starts) or do you have to throw it in a game in order to really gauge it’s effectiveness?

    • He did that a lot last year in Bradenton. But they’ve been focusing on mixing up pitches and knowing when to throw each pitch in Altoona. Hard to do both at the same time.

      • Does the Altoona team not face left handed hitters?

        That, obviously, is when a right handed pitcher should be throwing changeups. Assuming my question was rhetorical, the whole “knowing when to throw each pitch” logic is an excuse (not yours, mind you).

        They clearly seem to be having trouble getting Glasnow to listen.

        • It sounds like he’s too afraid of getting hit, which doesn’t sound good.

          • Could be…but more likely (IMO) he’s like any number of ultra-competitive stud pitching prospects over the years who would rather get good results than develop into a more complete pitcher. Takes a lot of maturity to *accept* doing worse now so that you can be better in the future.

            The reason the Pirates send players down to extended to truly work through flaws is that game competition is the absolute worst time to make adjustments. It’s only human nature to revert back to what is comfortable, and it sometimes takes thousands of reps for a legitimate change to feel that way.

          • I’ve always, always respected the hell out of Gerrit Cole for how he handled his time being developed. We all see the fire inside him, and it’s quite obvious that he wasn’t in all-out win mode while progressing through the system. Luckily he was smart enough and mature enough to see that what he was doing back then would get the results he’s seeing now.

        • Other teams seem to resort to calling their guys up and have them knocked around a bit to make them realize they need to learn the change. I like the Bucs’ approach better, hopefully it will work on Glasnow.

  • Any info on Moroff? Why hasn’t he played last couple of games?

    • Sean McCool
      July 23, 2015 2:18 pm

      No info on him as of right now. He deferred to Manager Tom Prince after the game when I asked about it, and Prince stuck with it being a “manager’s decision”.

    • Three possible answers.

      1. He has a minor injury.

      2. He is being disciplined for some side issue.

      3. He is a part of a trade that is in the works.

      I like 3, personally. He probably has serious trade value right now, as a 21 year old middle infielder raking AA pitching.

  • Well I guess I will check out that changeup as I am headed to Akron on sunday to watch the Curve. Looking forward to seeing Glasnow and Bell in person.

  • Tyler, some advice for you…Just throw the damn changeup more and get your promotion. It IS ok if the opponents put the ball in play…that’s OK. You don’t have to have a 1.02 WHIP forever.

  • Why not ditch the windup altogether and just throw from the stretch on all pitches? For a guy his size it has to be hard to get all the parts synced together to execute the windup. What does the windup add any way? Deception? Velocity?

    • Sean McCool
      July 23, 2015 2:06 pm

      I hadn’t seen any problems out of the windup this before Tuesday. I’ll chalk it up to some strange game situations, start time, and Glasnow just plain old feeling off.

    • I wonder if there are or have been any successful pro starting pitchers that throw from the stretch all the time. I know there are some relievers that do. Tony Watson and Jared Hughes come to mind. I don’t catch a ton of games out here in Delaware but from the games I’ve seen I’ve never seen either throw from the windup.

  • power pitchers need a 2 seem fast ball a 4 seam fast ball and a curve ball or slider. they can work the curve as a change of pace pitch by adding and subtracting speed, if they choose. Its hard for power pitchers to throw a good change up with some fade to them because they have so much arm speed.tyler’s change up is 86-88 mph with no fade, it should be 84 tops and dive or fade away from lefties. but many power pitchers only throw change ups 5-8% of the time. ask a young aj burnett or Mr cole.