Pittsburgh Pirates: Top Five Prospects RHP

Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /
6 of 7
Pittsburgh Pirates Glasnow
Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports /

#1 Tyler Glasnow

Number one and two are interchangeable.  Taillon is the most polished of the two, but with Glasnow’s height and ability to ramp his fastball up to 98 miles per hour, he has the highest ceiling.  The former 5th round pick has gone from a tall, raw right-handed pitcher to a top 20 prospect in all of baseball.  He signed a 600,000 dollar bonus which led to him passing on his commitment to the University of Portland.

Glasnow has a four pitch mix including a four-seam fastball, a curve-ball, a slider, and a change-up.  The biggest concern that has faced Glasnow all through the minors is the ability to throw a change-up.  With his fastball, he needs a change to succeed.  A plus change-up would give him a nice complement to stop hitters from sitting on his fastball.  This is the one thing holding him in AAA, other than Super Two of course.  Glasnow’s change is very inconsistent and until he shows that he can command the pitch the Pirates will continue to keep him down and work on it.

His minor league career is quite impressive.  His career ERA is an amazing 2.03 with a WHIP of 1.06.  He also has struck out 12 batters per nine innings pitched.  One of the biggest concerns with Glasnow is his ability to command his pitches, as mentioned above with his change-up.  Glasnow has a career walk rate of 4.1 per nine innings.  This numbers has gone down over the last year, but still we have seen him walk five in a game this year.  It has never hurt him because of his ability to strikeout batters and get out of jams in doing so.  This will not always be the case in the major leagues.

So far this year he has been very good.  On the year in AAA his ERA is 1.64 in six starts and he also has a WHIP of 1.03, which shows he is limiting base runners as well.  What is eve better is his strikeout rate is up to 13 per nine innings and his walk rate is down to 3.5 per nine innings, both numbers have moved in the direction you want to see.

If Glasnow continues to show better command of his pitches and continue to dominate the AAA level, we most likley could see him up in June.  The one thing that may hold him back is whether or not there will be a spot for him.  It is easy to say replace Lock and move Nicasio to the bullpen, but those moves are easier to say to do then to actually make the move.  Regardless we will likely see Taillon up first, then Glasnow as he needs more work on refining his game.

Next: What is next?