When a player is listed as the top prospect in a team’s system, there are a lot of expectations. Those expectations could well become overwhelming, especially when a player is just about to turn 20 years old and is going to enter full season professional baseball for the first time. That is exactly the position that Tyler Glasnow found himself in heading into last season.
Given that Glasnow put together a 9-3 record with a 2.18 ERA, a 1.033 WHiP and struck out 164 batters in 111.1 innings last year, some regression was likely to be expected. Instead, Glasnow put together a season that was just as good, if not better, than his 2013 campaign. Pitching for the Bradenton Marauders, Glasnow put together a 12-5 record with a 1.74 ERA and a 1.055 WHiP. While the strikeout rate was not as high, he still struck out an impressive 157 batters in 124.1 innings of work.
Exactly how impressive was Tyler Glasnow last year? Despite being almost three and a half years younger than league average, Glasnow led the league in ERA and WHiP while finishing second in strikeouts behind Taylor Cole. That ERA was a full two runs better than the league average of 3.75. Yes, Glasnow certainly cemented his status as one of the Pirates top prospects.
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Glasnow’s dominance of the Florida State League goes beyond those statistics. He simply overmatched the opposition, holding them to a .174/.273/.226 batting line. Glasnow gave up all of three home runs all season, and gave up a mere 9.4% line drive rate. The isolated slugging against Glasnow was an absurd .052, as he simply did not allow any extra base hits.
With these impressive outings, it is difficult to find a negative in Tyler Glasnow’s 2014 campaign. However, if there is to be any concern, it is in his control. Over the course of his minor league career, Glasnow has walked 4.4 batters per nine innings. While there was a slight improvement in that mark last year, as Glasnow walked only 4.1 batters per nine, that number still seems high for someone with his ability and the pure dominance he had in the Florida State League.
That command may be the only thing holding Glasnow back. Considered to be one of the top arms in all of minor league baseball, it is expected that he will take his place as a top of the rotation starter for the Pirates at some point. Since Glasnow is likely to start next season at AA, he could well find himself in Pittsburgh towards the end of the 2016 season, and a part of the rotation in 2017.
Tyler Glasnow had a lot of expectations last year. Having topped his 2013 season, it will be interesting to see how he does compared to 2014.