Yesterday, the Pittsburgh Pirates announced right-handed starter Tyler Glasnow as the organization’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year following his 9-3 season at Single-A West Virginia. Glasnow compiled a 2.18 ERA and struck out 164 batters in 111 and one-third innings.
Glasnow’s award was correctly predicted here on Pirates Prospects, and Tim Williams posted a full breakdown of Glasnow’s stellar 2013 season.
“I’m extremely honored, I got called by Larry Broadway and was just ecstatic. It was a really good moment,” Glasnow said. “Honestly if you asked me two years ago what I thought would happen, I wouldn’t think it’d be this. I’m just really excited with how things are turning out this year.”
Glasnow was drafted by the Pirates in the fifth round of the 2011 entry draft out of Hart High School in Santa Clarita, Calif. Glasnow didn’t start pitching in the organization, as he wasn’t signed to a deal until August of 2011.
Glasnow threw 34 and one-third innings in rookie-level ball as a member of the GCL Pirates, then made one start in the New York-Penn League for the State College Spikes.
This year was his breakout year, and it came from Glasnow keeping his eyes focused not on results, but just making himself a better pitcher.
“The focus in the beginning of the year was not really think of results, not think of stats just kind of find something that I was working on and just go out there and really try to work on something,” Glasnow said. “So, just having a good year was a plus. I feel like I learned a lot this year, so that was my main goal.”
Part of Glasnow’s learning process this season came from a mechanical adjustment, and the addition of a changeup to his pitching repertoire.
“I was really working on downward-angle, and my changeup a lot this year. I didn’t have one last year,” Glasnow said. “So the main thing, even if it was uncomfortable to throw, I really had to throw my changeup to get the game rep and I think that really helped a lot this year. Forcing me to throw it, it really came along well.”
The addition of a quality changeup to Glasnow’s fastball that tops out at 96 to 97 miles per hour and a plus curve may very well have had a lot to deal with the fact that Glasnow struck out 36.3 percent of all the hitters he faced this season. Glasnow attributed his high strikeout totals not to a mindset focused on striking a lot of batters out, but just getting ahead in the count.
“I don’t think going out there like ‘ok, today I’m going to strike out a bunch of people,'” Glasnow said. “A lot of it was getting ahead, so a lot of them came out not getting ahead, but I feel like the games I got ahead well they kind of just came along.”
While Glasnow wanted to improve himself as an overall pitcher throughout 2013, his goal heading into spring training was to get sent to the West Virginia Power.
“I was really excited,” Glasnow said. “It feels like real baseball. Not like short season didn’t, but I really felt like a minor-league baseball player and it was really special.”
From here, Glasnow still has a few rungs to climb on the ladder to his appearance as a pitcher on the mound at PNC Park. MLB.com’s Prospect Watch has Glasnow ranked as the No. 96-overall prospect in baseball (one of six the Pirates’ organization has in the Top 100), and projects Glasnow to make his major-league debut in 2016
“Definitely first-pitch strikes, command, obviously. Really getting on top of the ball, keeping my form really consistent and not changing anything,” Glasnow said. “If the going gets tough, just really keeping one thing and just staying focused.”
As of now, Glasnow is slated to do some instructional work in the fall and then will keep his off-season low-key.
“After instructs I’ll probably take a little bit of time off but I’ll probably do the same stuff I did last year,” Glasnow said. “I’m pretty boring in the offseason, I just sleep and work out I guess. And eat, that’s always fun.”
In the meantime Glasnow’s name will begin to make its appearance not only in lists of the game’s top prospects, but also make him a hot commodity if the Pirates are players in the trade deadline next season.
“Yeah I really don’t look into a lot of that, really,” Glasnow said. “I try to stay away from googling my name and stuff. I think I’ll be ok.”
What Glasnow does pay attention to, along with the rest of Pittsburgh’s minor-league affiliates, is the increasing success the Pirates have enjoyed from 2011 through now. The Pirates’ winning is something Glasnow said “definitely” motivates the younger players in the organization to reach the major leagues and contribute.
“Watching the team do good is always good motivation, just seeing it,” Glasnow said. “The Pirates are a really close-knit organization and you really, at every single level, feel a part of it all.”
As for Glasnow’s personal next level, one would expect him to rise out of the A-level ranks in 2014 and begin his career in Double-A Altoona.
“I hope so,” Glasnow said. “I hope so, but we’ll see what happens.”
Starling Marte is back in the starting lineup for the Pirates today, batting leadoff and playing left field. Manager Clint Hurdle said pre-game the Pirates are a “more dynamic team” with him the lineup, but acknowledged the concerns regarding Marte’s injury.
“There comes a point in time where the conversations just got to end and the young man needs to go out and play and figure things out as he goes along. There might be periods where there isn’t pain just a well. I don’t know if he’s going to have to wait to February to feel as good, the healing will definitely start once there’s no more over use of the hand. He’s worked extremely hard, he’s done everything we’ve asked him to do, so this is the next test. It’s the next test for him to go out and play, and see how he can perform, see what gets brought his way from a challenging part of whether there’s pain management or not, how much is it, when it happens how is he able to get through it and fight back.”
Hurdle added that “the hitting is the last question to get answered” as Marte has seen game action lately as a defensive replacement in left field and a pinch-runner late in games.
- Starling Marte LF
- Jordy Mercer SS
- Andrew McCutchen CF
- Marlon Byrd RF
- Gaby Sanchez 1B
- Russell Martin C
- Pedro Alvarez 3B
- Josh Harrison 2B
- Jeff Locke P
- Chris Denorfia LF
- Will Venable CF
- Jedd Gyorko 2B
- Chase Headley 3B
- Tommy Medica 1B
- Kyle Blanks RF
- Ronny Cedeno SS
- Nick Hundley C
- Eric Stults P