Baseball America released their list of the top 20 prospects from the Eastern League and two players from the Altoona Curve made the list, although it might be surprising where one of them ended up. The EL was deep this year, so while Altoona had some strong prospects, it’s no surprise that they only had two players make the list.
Tyler Glasnow ranked fourth overall after dominating at the level. In 12 starts, he had a 2.43 ERA, with 82 strikeouts in 63 innings. He had an 0.95 WHIP and a .182 BAA. Glasnow was promoted to Indianapolis at the end of July and his time there exposed his biggest flaws. In his short time in AAA, he had his shortest career outing, gave up a career-high in hits in another game and allowed three homers for the first time in another outing. He also walked 27 batters in 52.2 innings, which includes his two playoff starts.
BA repeats what we have heard about Glasnow for years. Plus fastball, plus-plus curve at times and sometimes spotty command, while he also has trouble holding runners. He will have two months to work on refining his game before the Pirates even consider calling him up in 2016. Glasnow will need to throw his change-up more often than he was during his time in AAA. He will need that third pitch to have success in the majors as a starter.
Josh Bell made the list, though just barely. He was rated 20th overall, which seems really low, even in a very strong group. Bell hit .307/.376/.427 in 96 games with Altoona before being promoted to Indianapolis. In AAA, he hit .347/.441/.504 in 35 regular season games, then hit .444 in five playoff games and drew a walk in all five contests. Bell finished the year with 40 total extra-base hits and had both 65 walks and 65 strikeouts, with a combined .838 OPS.
He too has things to work on before he is ready for Pittsburgh. Playing his first year at first base, he needs plenty of work at the position. He makes errors on routine plays and has troubles with throws. Bell is also a singles hitter from the right side, with all of his power coming as a lefty. His last homer as a right-handed batter was in June of 2014. Just like Glasnow, Bell won’t be considered an option in Pittsburgh until early June. Usually that is due to Super 2 status with top prospects, but these two both have things to work on before they should be considered Major League ready.