Tyler Glasnow Preps For Off-Season, Looks Ahead to 2016

INDIANAPOLIS –– The Pirates put Tyler Glasnow on the fast track, promoting him to Indianapolis on August 1st, after just 63 innings with Altoona.

While those 63 innings were impressive, they did not carry over well to Indianapolis following the promotion. Glasnow’s stuff just did not look the same. He was walking more hitters, allowing more hits than usual and he was left looking for answers much of the time.

This continued in his final start of the season on Thursday night in the International League Governors’ Cup finals. In the contest, Glasnow did not show the ability to command either the curveball or change. This led to hitters sitting on the fastball and hammering it to the tone of three solo home runs. Prior to Thursday, he never allowed more than two homers in a game as a pro.

However, Glasnow welcomes the adversity and looks to use it moving forward into the off-season.

“I think that [in the final start], the breaking ball was bad the entire game,” Glasnow said. “I had to go out there and fight. I think this whole theme of Triple-A is that I have not been feeling very good at all. I have learned how to not have my best stuff and go out and battle innings instead of knowing that it’s not good and giving up. It has been a good learning experience for me.”

When his stuff isn’t there, the right-hander knows that contact will follow. However, he is pleased with how he responded in these situations.

“When the feel isn’t there, the velo isn’t there, and the breaking stuff is not crisp, stuff is going to get hit, so just try to keep my head up and not think about it,” Glasnow said. “I think that I have done a decent job of that.”

Glasnow’s hit rate was higher in Triple-A, and his walk rate was one of the highest rates of his career. This was highlighted in a start on September 1st when Glasnow retired just one hitter and allowed five walks and six runs. That may skew that number a bit, although Glasnow’s command was not strong at the level.

After throwing 111 pitches in his final start, 68 for strikes, Glasnow was adamant that his arm and body felt good. Just as he has been before and after every start with Indianapolis.

Glasnow attributes the issues to trying to be too fine and not having his best stuff. While he traveled to instructionals right after the Indianapolis season ended on Saturday, he looked forward to stepping away for a bit afterwards and clearing out all of the noise to gear up for 2016.

“I am going to [instructionals],” Glasnow said after Thursday’s start. “I think I will be going the whole time, I think it’s like a month this year. It has already started, so I will probably only be there for two or three weeks. I am going to go and get all of that stuff out of my head, get the mechanics down, and have something comfortable that I can go back to. Then, I am going to the off-season and not think about baseball for a little while and focus on doing well next season.”

Glasnow should return to Indianapolis at the start of the 2016 season. He’s unlikely to arrive in Pittsburgh before mid-season, and will need to show better control numbers and better command of his stuff before he’s ready for the majors. He’s still got the upside of a top of the rotation starter, but at this point he wouldn’t be close to that upside in the majors.

  • In the instructionals he needs to develop additional pitches. sliders, cutters with off speeds. I have said he should develop Melencon’s out-pitch ‘knuckle curve’. A J Burnett threw a few last night. Melencon picked up this pitch from Mariano Riviera when he was with the Yankees.

  • I do not like Alvarez but the team needs his power. Let him stay for the first half next year, hope he is productive in a platoon role and then move him if and when Bell is ready.

  • Are his innings totals unusually low for a guy that has reached AAA? He has never thrown more than 124 innings in a season. Realistically, how far would the Pirates push him beyond that? Up to about 160-165 next year? Should we expect there to be a magic number?
    I do think there is something to be said for how he mostly limited damage despite regressions in some areas (namely walks), but he still has to refine some things.
    Wondering if we think there is still quite a bit left to refine if an innings ceiling will limit potential of a call up? What are the chances next year is about refinement and pushing that innings bar a bit exclusively in Triple A?

    • Fairly certain he was up around 150 IP last year when AFL is included. I think the more concerning issue is his ability to hold velocity as the season progresses. You’d think he’d be rather fresh right now considering his time missed, but it sounds like the arm is struggling to hold up the third time through the order.

    • His innings on paper this year are 109.1, but that doesn’t include two playoff starts, plus the throwing he will do in the instructional league. Next year, he will be in Pittsburgh at this time instead of Bradenton, but he’s still pitching now. He would have been higher if he didn’t miss a month with that ankle injury.

      Last year he pitched in the playoffs after the season, threw in the instructional league, then made seven starts in the Arizona Fall League, so he might be slightly limited next year, but it would be more like starting him with a slightly lower pitch count and maybe skipping him a start or pushing him back a few days here or there. It won’t be anything drastic like shutting him down when he hits 150 innings, he’s going to be able to go longer than that.

  • I’m curious to see who the Bucs’ project pitcher will be this year. I’d
    love to see Samadzjida under the tutelage of Searage but he may be too
    costly. I’m also of the opinion that is he looks good in spring training that Taillon should head north with the team but the odds on that are slim.

    • Just not worth it to lose an additional year of control for Taillon for the sake of 3 weeks of April games.

      With you on Samardzija, I think he would be a great fit with Searage – the stuff is there, but the whole is always less than the sum of its parts. His price tag is certainly lower after a disappointing season. I’d love to see him come to Pittsburgh on a 2-year “restore my value” contract,

      • I’ll be shocked if some team isnt still willing to offer Samardzija 3-4 years at 12-15 million. Everyone knows the stuff is there, an Ervin Santana deal could still happen.

        • In this market, with so many starters available? He’ll benefit from not having draft pick compensation attached, but that’s fairly rich for one of the least favorable mid-rotation starters on the market.

          I also disagree on your “stuff is there” comment. The arm strength is there, but he’s in his third season in a row of declining strikeouts and is allowing the hardest contact of his career. Bad timing for a contract year.

          • One opinion of what’s wrong with him:

            http://www.fangraphs.com/fantasy/what-has-happened-to-jeff-samardzija/

            If that’s the case, I’d imagine there are any number of pitching coaches who think they could fix that, even if it is a nagging mechanical issue Shark can’t overcome, or something about being in the stretch where he’s tipping.

            So yeah, while I don’t think he’ll be making more money next year, I also don’t think he’ll be making less. There will be competition for his services.

            • That’s a fine read, but there’s absolutely zero chance it’s that easy. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who says a bad thing about Don Cooper, and it probably says a lot that Shark has struggled under his watch.

              • No, it’s unlikely to be that easy, but the indicators give clues and there’s no issue with velocity. So I wouldn’t think a pillow contract is a necessity.

          • Not ideal time at all, but i dont see how he is the only pitcher that isnt overpaid. In his worst year he’s sitting at 2 WAR, so he’d actually be worth a 12-15 million dollar deal this year. He’s got issues, but a year removed from very valuable results.

            Its not his FB, but his offspeed stuff that failing him. I dont think he’s likely to be a 5 WAR pitcher year to year, but i cant see how a team wont see him with a floor of 2 WAR over the next 3-4 years. Thats worth over 10 million, and it’ll take one team who loses on plan A to go offer him 12 million over 3 years. For me, thats too much for PGH to out bid.

            • See Masterson, Justin.

              Now I don’t think that’s a perfect comp, but I also don’t think he’ll get anyweher near the contract he was lined up for heading into 2015. Not close. He could settle for a 2-3 year mid market deal, but it also wouldn’t surprise me at all to see him take a pillow contract.

              Like that Santana fellow you speak of.

              • I just see teams as perfectly willing to give the Santana’s of the world 3-4 years at 12 million per year. His down year really doesnt make me see any reason teams will pass on him enough to only offer 8-10 million over 2 years.

                If he gets a 3 year deal at 12 million, i dont see why he passes on it.

        • Could, certainly. He’ll get an 8-figure AAV, and I’m confident at least one team will offer 3 or 3+team option. I don’t think he “falls” to the Pirates for less than that – it would be a conscious strategy by Samardzija/Mark Rodgers to put him in a situation where he can maximize his earnings over the next 5-6 years by signing a shorter pact now at the lesser AAV, betting on the Searage effect, and cashing in as a 32-turning-33 year-old with a better recent track record. It’s a gamble, it always is.

          • Beat me to it, sir.

          • A gamble that he, unlike most guys that take the 1 year deal, doesnt need to make 40-50 million over the next 3 years and still be in line of a short term deal getting him another 10 million (assuming the price for arms continues going up and 10 million becomes what 7 million is today in 3 years).

            I dont see why he’s a good bet to take the 1 year risk when he can likely cash in well, if not ace well, right now. Its a gamble i dont think he needs to take at all to cash in well.

            • But if that’s the case, isn’t he now almost assured of getting the QO tagged on? Why wouldn’t the Sox take a free pick if they were assured he was moving elsewhere?

              And at that point, you’re exactly back to your original comp, Ervin Santana, who took the pillow contract.

              • In my mind, the issues there are that the pillow contract for Santana meant 14 million, so PGH is likely gonna have to pay 12-15 million for a one year “pillow” deal and that doesnt seem likely. They’ve valued 2-3 year deals over 1 year deals unless the 1 year deal is truly buy low. Jeff isnt taking a huge pay cut on a one year deal, and PGH isnt paying 4 years at 12-15 million.

                Id rather have Happ back at 8 million over 2-3 years honestly, with full awareness that he isnt as good as his current numbers but belief that he can be better than Morton.

            • His free agency and that of JA Happ will be really interesting to watch.

              • On Happ…just looking at his numbers on BBR,

                Interesting…

                He’s been traded 3 times in July in his career.

                Each time, his FIP and WHIP drop drastically and his K/9 shows a hard increase. Almost seems like this guy lives to be a mid-season acquisition.

              • It’ll be a fun SP market to see take shape, more so for the mid level guys imo.

      • It wouldn’t shock me either knowing that NH has attempted to acquire him in the past or at least has been rumored to.

    • I wonder if they consider bringing Taillon up for a month and then flip-flopping with Glasnow so that the 5th spot is covered but they only pitch for 3 months each. It would allow some teaching in between stints at the minor league level (as opposed to where games count)

  • We will need two starters next year. I do not have a clue which way they will go. Replacing both AJ/JA will be difficult.

    • Not sure they need TWO – you can start the year with Cole, Frankie, #3 starter, Morton, Locke and by June/July start to ease Taillon and/or Glasnow in, with Brault and Sadler providing depth. With this winter’s free agent SP crop, they should be able to afford one of the many #3 types who will be available. (Leake, Latos, Wei-Yin Chen, Shark, Kennedy, Lackey…the list is longer, but I’m avoiding guys like Gallardo and Fister as they don’t fit the Pirate SP mold, mostly because of declining velocity) Or Happ could just re-sign here.

      Lot of net money coming off the books, and a trade of Walker and/or Alvarez would give NH additional flexibility to make an acquisition.

      • If they don’t need two, then Walker and Melancon – at least – better be on the 2016 club. Surprises me how quickly some folks, media and otherwise, are moving on to Hanson/JHay/Mercer/Kang. Walker isn’t have a great season by any means, but that doesn’t mean replacing a 2-3 win second baseman will be easy.

        • Positive note on the “not a great season from Walker” is that even without terrific numbers he’s very much a top 3-4 NL 2Bmen on offense.

          2nd in wRC+, 3rd in WAR, 3rd in OBP, 2nd in SLG, 2nd in HRs, 3rd in OPS, all with a reasonable BABIP.

          His defense drives me crazy, but one more season of him at 2B wouldnt really be the craziest thing.

          • So move Walker back to 3B? JHay would be a better choice defensively at 2B. I’m not sure when Kang will be MLB ready, after the All Star break?

            • Kang should be ready by start of season, if the Pirates are extra careful he might miss all if not most of april

              • Nobody knows that with any degree of certainty. Six to eight months until return to competition does not equate to a return to MLB-level play. Odds are fair he misses most, if not all, of spring training. I don’t think it’s prudent to expect better than a June return.

                • Actually, doctors know with a much better certainty than you or i and thats why they put that range of return dates.

                  Sure, he might not be amazing once he returns. But he will be healthy and likely on the roster either on OD on within a month after that.

                  • Bullshit, Luke. You’ve never seen a player miss more time due to setbacks in his recovery? Come on.

                    Kang had he knee blown up. You can’t make light of that sort of injury. It would be extremely risky to count on him full speed before the second half of 2016.

                    • It’s the combination of the three injuries that complicates everything. You can’t rehab the tibia without an otherwise intact knee, so problems could arise in how the fracture heals. And you can’t rehab the knee properly unless the tibia can fully support it. So there’s plenty that could go wrong here – it’s not a set of injuries that many pro athletes experience.

                    • Yeah, I thought a smarmy “BUT DOCTORS” retort was particularly misplaced for Kang’s situation. I don’t want to admit it as much as Luke doesn’t, but that is a serious, serious injury. You hope he comes back full speed, period.

                    • Of course its serious. Its complicated. But right now, it looks like we have decided that we know as much as doctors. We can hypothesize and assume away and laugh off the fact that the guy doing the surgery knows more than any of us. Yes, i defer to professional when i dont know as much as them.

                      Its not an easy rehab, but im not going to assume it’ll go wrong until it does. If he rehabs as expected, he’ll be playing more than half a season. Im fully on board with the idea that his rehab could be poorly, but this seems to be different than acting like its highly likely to and we cant trust the timetable the doctor gave him.

                    • Of course setbacks happen, but until they do its absurd to say he’s likely to have those setbacks. Right now, doctors put him at the timetable they have. No reason for us to go “well, setbacks have happened before so X,Y, or Z.”

                      Right now, we should expect him to be back around OD or within 3-4 weeks after that. Until a setback alters that, assuming he misses half a year or 2-3 months is assuming something that doesnt happen on a large scale.

                    • Wait, wasn’t his prognosis 6-8 months? Unless I’m doing my math wrong, that alone could have him out for two months of the season, before even starting to talk about setbacks.

                      In the context of infield depth, yes, you sure as hell better be planning for Kang to miss as much as half a year. They’ll have nobody to blame but themselves for taking an ultra-optimistic view otherwise.

            • Kang recovery at worst likely to put him back on the field after a month of the season. Not likely to miss half the season due to injury.

              Walker at 3B takes a ton of his offensive value away. Walker really just is what he is right now, good hitter at 2B with poor defense but likely more average hitter at a corner IF spot with average defense.

        • I think the Kang injury all but ensures Walker will be around in 2016. Assuming Harrison moves to full time 3b duties in Kang’s absence, Bucs won’t have a 2b who hits LH pitching. Nor will they have IF depth. Dropping Walker for Hanson doesn’t solve that.

          I do think Walker takes balls at 1b. Bucs will have Morse, but I don’t see them keeping both Pedro AND Walker. Morse might get flipped to an AL contender once Bell arrives.

          And Bartolo Colon, because it makes too much sense not to. He’s got another 2+ WAR season in him at a reasonable $10 mill. And who doesn’t want to see Big Sexy t-shirts and signs at PNC?

          • Bell doesn’t hit right handers and doesn’t field well so no reason to shove Morse out the door. Plus if we do ship or release Pedro, we could always keep Ishikawa until Bell is promo’d

          • Fair comments bucs- I do think Walker returns, but I think he was going to return either way. This will give Hanson a chance to at least make the team if he impresses in spring training, and Alvarez has had a much better offensive year and does now have value to the AL in a trade- I’d expect that as I don’t think we want to pay what he will make in arbitration, the trick here, is not waiting until the tender deadline to make the move when our hand is played out. I truthfully feel that Morse is probably a better or equal ALL around player than Alvarez, not as horrible at first (because noone is) and right handed power is nearly equal to alvarez, especially considering that Morse has oppo power and will use the wall to his advantage. Keep in mind that after a full off-season, we will once again see the Lambo record playing on the turntable, and it could be his last chance and making a major league roster as a left handed platoon option for Morse if Alvarez is dealt

        • It’s going to be interesting to see how Alvarez/Walker/Melancon play out. I can envision all three being dealt, I can also imagine all being kept.

          Pedro? We’ve got Morse until Bell is ready…on the other hand…we’ve got Morse.

          Walker? Ugh. The Kang injury really throws a wrench into that. Ideally, I don’t mind the quartet you mention.

          Melancon? With Soria and Bastardo leaving? Makes sense to deal him as his value is never going to be higher, but there are going to be a lot of holes in the bullpen already.

          • I like Morse for the starting 1B job next year. You don’t even need to platoon him – he hits RHP just fine (better than Pedro, as a matter of fact). Not to mention, he’s basically free.

            Melancon is a keeper.

            • I thought trading for Morse was super smart (assuming the Dodgers actually ate most the balance of his contract- Tabata), but how long can you really trust Mike Morse to be both healthy and productive, at the same time? Better than nothing, but by going with Morse you’re really just banking on Josh Bell hitting the ground running in June.

              @bucs – my thoughts exactly on Kang injury/Walker.

              @Blaine – I thought it made sense to deal a rapidly declining Joel Hanrahan poised to $7m in his final year, but that was on a team with a $70m payroll. Melancon is easily the most under-appreciated piece of this club, and should easily fit into the Pirate’s budget next year as a $100m or so ballclub.

              As for Alvarez, shit. I don’t know. If the defense is improving, it’s only because he now seems capable of catching baseballs that hit his glove, but he’s also somewhat quietly return to 2012/2013 Pedro in the second half. This is strictly anecdotal, mind you, but it seems around the deadline like he finally had enough with the hitter they turned him into over the previous year and a half. 2nd half Alvarez is back to walking a bit less and striking out a bit more, but the power has also returned in spades. Might be a luxury they can’t afford, but having that bat as a backup plan wouldn’t the worst use of $8m or so.

              • There’s an argument for keeping Walker and Pedro, but when you consider Morse and think about the right side of the IF costing $26 million… that would be very un-Bucs like. Not that they couldn’t afford it, but I think Neal would be fighting chronic nausea until such time as he could trade one of them.

                • You’re assuming the Dodgers didn’t pay down any of Morse’s 2016 salary? It’s odd that the exact details of cash exchanged haven’t been announced, but didn’t Huntington allude to Morse being on no more than a tryout basis when he was acquired?

                  I can’t see any way Morse was acquired without most or all of 2016 being covered by the Dodgers, but yeah, if it wasn’t this discussion changes quiiiite a bit.

                  • My understanding – and it could be wrong – is that Dodgers sent cash to equal out the contract money due Morse less whatever Tabata was due.

                    This site says LA sent Pirates $4,332,000.
                    http://www.truebluela.com/2013/10/21/4861112/los-angeles-dodgers-payroll

                    That could be an assumption, but it’s something.

                    • The LA Times reports $7.5M, which, if true, is another way of saying Pittsburgh took on Morse’s remaining ’15 salary and has him on the books for $1M in ’16. They ate a little over $4M and shed Tabata’s ~ $6.75M.

                      http://www.latimes.com/sports/dodgers/la-sp-dodgers-salary-chart-20150731-story.html

                    • Thanks, gents.

                    • I saw that LA Times figure right after the trade was made. I was skeptical, due to the finances involved.

                      The Pirates swapped Tabata for Morse. Tabata had about $6.3 M remaining on his deal. Morse had about $11 M. So there’s about a $5 M difference in salaries.

                      The $7.5 M figure means the Dodgers would have been essentially paying the Pirates to take Morse off their hands. If that figure is true, then the Pirates went from spending $6.3 M on Tabata in the future, to spending $3.5 M on Morse.

                      That sounds too good to be true. Why would the Dodgers choose Tabata over Morse and an extra $2.5-3 M?

                    • Yeah, the break even for that transaction is a lot less than $7.5M, even considering LA had already DFA’d Morse so they would’ve been on the hook for $11M less the league minimum over the balance of Morse’s contract. Back of the envelope, Morse costs the Dodgers $10.3M, while Tábata had $6.3M remaining so paying down any more than $4M would be a gift.

                      Unless the transaction also included an offset from Pittsburgh for Tabata’s contract, in which case the $7.5 could have been accurate but not telling the whole story. Not like the LAT has never done that before…

          • I do not think you will see Melancon dealt- There is nothing to gain from it. We will keep him and only deal him near the deadline if we are struggling. Soria hasn’t been good, so i’m not really worried about losing him. Watson quite simply does not have closer stuff, I don’t care what anyone says, and Caminero just isn’t ready for that role.

            • I would say there is plenty to be gained.

              Incoming prospects.
              ~$8M in payroll flexibility.

              I don’t think the team is ready to extend a QO to him after 2016. ~$14M? Don’t see that happening. So, if he stays with the team, the Pirates have to assume they’re losing him for nothing.

              As well, his value is never going to be higher than it will be this offseason…

              3 consecutive seasons with a sub 2.00 ERA?
              MLB saves leader for 2015?
              Low cost for even moderate spenders?

              Of course, there’s the downside…what the heck happens to the bullpen if you pull that trigger?

              Heck if I know.

              This is why the FO gets paid the big bucks…were it on me, none of the three would be off-limits, for Melancon, you’d have to blow me away, for Walker..impress me, for Alvarez…gimme something that has some reasonable potential of working out.

              • I should have been more specific Blaine, your points are well taken and I completely agree with your last paragraph. When I say nothing to gain, what i mean is:

                There is no way to trade Melancon that won’t make our team weaker next year, which is the exact opposite we need to do with young teams like the Mets and Cubs that are only going to get better, and the Cardinals whom aren’t going away. If we want to win a championship, our opportunity to be the “best team” is very slim. Gaining 8 million dollars won’t replace Melancon, we’d have to pay twice that to replace him. Prospects- quite honestly, we don’t need. We have pitching, outfield, and catching prospects literally growing like weeds, and few if any real needs at the major league level outside of first base which will be taken care of by Bell (hopefully but said with doubt). What you’d be doing in effect, is selling your only dairy cow in order to continue hoarding an overflowing barn full of hay. It just doesn’t make any sense.

        • Walker is paying for his fluke-ishly good ISO in 2014. He is basically the same player he was from 2010-2013, give or take a RC. In a vacuum, sure you pay that guy $10M. I think it would certainly be worth seeing what you could get for Walker, though, in an effort to resource plan for 2016 and beyond.

          • Sure, my perception is just that you find yourself in a bit of a contradiction there. Walker isn’t the 4-ish win guy he was with that homerun spike last year, he will be making decent money, and he’s far from a flashy player. Is that a profile teams will be jumping to give up a future starter for only one year? I don’t know, maybe.

            To me, chances of getting a good return are about as high as the chances he hits a midpoint between ’14-’15 and is worth a QO before turning it down and testing the market. His straight up production next year, on a contending team, moves the needle for me, I guess.

            • The Angels got Andrew Heaney for Howie Kendrick’s walk year. Kendrick is not a terrible comp for Walker – his peaks have been higher, but average out their last 6 seasons and there’s a little more than 1/2 win difference, with Kendrick getting the advantage. Walker is 2 years younger, salaries are close to the same (Kendrick is making $9.5M this year).

              Andrew Heaney was ranked in the #30 – #50 range as a prospect after each of the last 3 seasons. Given the -1/2 WAR difference in value, maybe the equivalent return for Walker would be a player in the back half of the Top 100, but that’s still a damn fine prospect to have – especially if it helps you afford a #3 SP.

              I’m not stumping for it, but I do think there’s more than a shadow of a possibility this could be put into play, even with Kang’s uncertain status.

        • Agreed, If we let Walker go, we are one early season injury (Harrison, Mercer, Hansen) away from a Florimon-type sub. Granted they could look at Moroff/Frazier but that is not their style

  • I agree with that last paragraph, but as long as his current projection has him as one of our 5 best SPs (not unlike Cole when he came up), I am assuming he’ll be in Pgh?

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