Top Prospect, what Makes Tyler Glasnow One?

Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports /

What makes Tyler Glasnow a Top Prospect? This is a question that needs to be answered.

It is consensus, no matter what list you would look at, you would find Glasnow ranked number one.  However, when you hear scouts and people inside of baseball talk about him, you hear a lot more about his negatives than his positives.  

Who is Tyler Glasnow?  We all know he is the Pirate’s top prospect, but he was not always considered to be one.  The 6’7” right-handed pitcher was selected in the 5th round of the 2011 draft.  Glasnow was picked out of Hart High School in California. The righty passed on his commitment to the University of Portland and signed for a $600K bonus with the Pirates.  A sizable bonus suggests that the Pirates knew that Glasnow had a high ceiling and there was a chance to develop him into a solid prospect.  However, did they believe that he would turn into a top prospect in all of baseball?  Most likely not.  Glasnow has developed through the system showing a fastball that has reached as high as 100 miles per hour and a breaking pitch that is a plus offering.  The biggest issue that we have all read about is, he needs to work on his change-up and his command to reach that ace level.

Glasnow's size and arm make him a top prospect
Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports /

There are many faults Tyler Glasnow has as a prospect, but even with some faults he is still considered a top prospect. As I mentioned above, Glasnow seems to have a lot of knocks against him.  When you read about Jameson Taillon you see a lot about how polished his mechanics are, and that he has a strong four pitch mix, but yet he is ranked lower than Glasnow in rankings.  How can this be?  There are many reasons as to why.  First stats at each level.  Glasnow’s stat line has never been bad at any level he has pitched.   Since joining the system in 2012 he has never pitched above a 2.49 ERA.  That alone is going to catch the eye of any evaluator and start to warrant the classification of being a top prospect.  His stats do not fluctuate, even though he gives up a lot of walks, he works around them.  He has not had a year where all of a sudden his ERA jumps to a mid-3.  When scouts see consistency in numbers that impressive then they are going to take a closer look.  Next is his physical build.  Glasnow has the frame that scouts love.  He is 6’7” and 225 lbs.  When he was drafted he was 6’7” and 200lbs.  The scouts have seen him fill into his frame, which one was one of the important things for Glasnow to do.  With this he obviously has the top of the rotation size that teams and scouts like to see.  Frames like this suggest that he can eat up 200 plus innings every year.  He also throws very hard as I stated before.  When scouts see him throwing 96-98 with his 6’7” frame they are impressed.  With the length he has in his body he is able to make a 97 miles per hour fastball seem even faster.  Look at Aroldis Chapman, he throws 100mph but what makes him different than Caminero, who also does?  Chapman is tall and lanky which makes his fastball even more deceptive and quicker to the plate.  Because of Glasnow’s size he is believed to be more deceptive and effective.    The last thing is his overall ceiling which encompasses the reasons above.  When scouts look at Glasnow they see a huge potential.  Still just 22 years of age, scouts look at what he currently does and believe that he will keep improving.  Many believe he is still developing into his frame and learning how to use all his pitches.  

The knocks on him are that he has not developed his change-up and needs to better command on all of his pitches.  Scouts are not looking at that when judging him.  They believe that he will improve on those.  They are not looking at him now and saying he is a top prospect because he is perfect, no.  What they are looking at is that they believe in 3 years or so that he will reach that ceiling of a hard throwing, top of the rotation arm.  Top prospect will have overcome their issues, in Glasnow’s case his command issue.  In fact he has already improved his command issues.  So far this year, he has struck out 30 batters while walking only seven, which is top prospect like. What happens is baseball is that fans become spoiled.  People see players like Bryce Harper and Mike Trout come up at the age of 19 and 20 and make immediate impacts.  Then fans expect every top prospect to follow suit and make immediate impacts.  This is not realistic.  Young players need to be exposed before they can become the players they are projected to be.  What matters is if the players reach their ceiling while being able to make adjustments that face them.  So yes, Tyler Glasnow is not perfect now, but he does have the stats, the stuff, and the potential that makes him a top  prospect.  If he is able to develop and fix the issues that he has now, he will be a no-doubt top of the rotation arm, if he does not, then he could be a dominant relief pitcher.  Either way he is a top prospect and it is because of what he could be in his prime, not what he is right now.