Pittsburgh Pirates 2014 Top Prospects: #3 – Tyler Glasnow

The Pirates Prospects 2014 Prospect Guide is now on sale. The book features prospect reports on everyone in the system, the 2014 top 50 prospects, and the most comprehensive coverage of the Pirates’ farm system that you can find.  While the top 50 prospects are exclusive to the book, we will be releasing the top 20 prospects over the next few weeks.  Be sure to purchase your copy of the book on the products page of the site.

To recap the countdown so far:

20. Michael De La Cruz, OF
19. JaCoby Jones, OF
18. Barrett Barnes, OF
17. Cody Dickson, LHP
16. Blake Taylor, LHP
15. Joely Rodriguez, LHP
14. Andrew Lambo, OF
13. Stolmy Pimentel, RHP
12. Clay Holmes, RHP
11. Tony Sanchez, C
10. Harold Ramirez, OF
9. Luis Heredia, RHP
8. Josh Bell, OF
7. Reese McGuire, C
6. Nick Kingham, RHP
5. Alen Hanson, SS
4. Austin Meadows, OF

We continue the countdown with the number 3 prospect, Tyler Glasnow.

Tyler Glasnow struck out 36% of the batters he faced in 2013. (Photo Credit: Tom Bragg)

Tyler Glasnow struck out 36% of the batters he faced in 2013. (Photo Credit: Tom Bragg)

3. Tyler Glasnow, RHP

When Tyler Glasnow was drafted by the Pirates, he was just another tall, projectable right-handed pitcher signed to an over-slot deal. There wasn’t much information available on him, and he didn’t make any of the top draft prospect lists, or even the regional prospect lists. He was a tall pitcher with an upper 80s to lower 90s fastball that touched 93 MPH.

In his two years as a pro, Glasnow has improved at the rapid rate that you hope for when taking highly projectable prep pitchers. He increased his fastball velocity in his first season, hitting 96 MPH consistently by the end of the year. In 2013 he was sitting mid-90s, and touching as high as 99 MPH. What makes the fastball even more impressive is that it is thrown on a steep downward plane, looking to hitters like it is coming in from the sky. The fastball generates a lot of ground balls, leading to a 50% rate in 2013. Glasnow pairs the fastball with a big breaking curveball, which led to some amazing strikeout rates this year in West Virginia. The changeup shows some promise, but is a pitch that he will need to improve upon next year in Bradenton, just like Jameson Taillon did in 2012 at the same level.

The big weakness for Glasnow is his lack of control. The control issues come from an inability to repeat his delivery, which is natural for a young, tall player getting used to his height. Glasnow did show improvements as the 2013 season went on. He was walking batters at a 6-7 BB/9 ratio early in the season, but had that down to a 3-4 BB/9 ratio in his games at the end of the year.

Glasnow has the highest upside of any pitcher in the system. He’s got the chance to be just as good, or better than Gerrit Cole or Jameson Taillon. The difference is that those two have much higher floors, since they don’t have control problems. It’s important to remember that Glasnow would have been a junior in college if he wouldn’t have signed, and likely would have been a top ten pick in the 2014 draft. There is still time for him to continue improving his control.

If Glasnow does improve his control, and improves his changeup, then he could join Cole and Taillon as the third potential ace in the major league rotation. That would give the Pirates one of the best young rotations in baseball. He should start the year in Bradenton, and could move to Altoona by mid-season if all goes well. That sets up a possible jump to the majors by mid-2015.

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Author: Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with AccuScore.com, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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