Pitcher and catchers have finally reported after a long offseason. One of the main questions around the Pittsburgh Pirates will be if Tyler Glasnow is in the rotation or not.
If there is one area that Pittsburgh Pirates fans are concerned about for this upcoming season it is the starting rotation. The 2017 season saw the Pittsburgh Pirates pitching staff sit in the middle of the pack in terms of team statistics. They were ranked 13th in ERA, 19th in strikeouts, and 19th in innings pitched. That was a rotation that was led under former number one overall pick Gerrit Cole. Now Cole has moved on to the Houston Astros, and the Pittsburgh Pirates have to hope that another pitcher steps up to be a number one.
The team did not really add anything in terms of starting pitching this offseason. The only move they did make for the rotation was addition by subtraction. When they dealt away Gerrit Cole, the club replaced him with another starting pitcher in Joe Musgrove. Of course, this was not met with positive feedback. More of the same rhetoric came out, that the Pittsburgh Pirates did not upgrade this team’s rotation and therefore are not trying to win. Because of the group returning essentially intact from last year, there are many questions that will surround the Pittsburgh Pirates pitching staff this upcoming Spring Training.
The first question is one that many would have hoped would be answered by now. Will Tyler Glasnow be a part of this team’s rotation going forward? There is no clear cut answer. As of now, the team’s rotation seems set, barring any really poor spring training performances or injuries. It is kind of weird honestly. Over the last few seasons, the Pittsburgh Pirates have had battles for the number five spot in the rotation. However, this year it does not appear to be likely. The rotation currently has Jameson Taillon, Ivan Nova, Chad Kuhl, Trevor Williams, and Joe Musgrove.
So really, is there a spot for Glasnow? Well, obviously, he could earn a spot based on his performance, other’s lack of performance, and possibly injuries. It is quite a unique situation that the Pittsburgh Pirates and Glasnow are in. He has nothing left to prove at Triple-A after dominating the level these past two years. He made 15 starts at Triple-A and had a 1.93 ERA in 93.1 innings in 2017, and he struck out a ridiculous amount of hitters, throwing 140 chairs to opposing batters. Yet, at the MLB level, he seemed to lacked confidence. He pitched to an ERA over 7.00 in 62 innings.
If Tyler Glasnow wants to have success at the big league level, this year he needs to trust his stuff and not worry about being careful. He has some of the best stuff in terms of pitching prospects, and he has to rely on it. If he does, the talent and upside is too much to keep him out of the rotation. If he continues to be inconsistent, then it might be time for a change to relief.