Top pitching prospect Tyler Glasnow will be making his 2014 debut on Friday for Bradenton against St. Lucie. Glasnow missed the start of the season after having lower back tightness during Spring Training. He was recovered by the end of Spring Training, but needed time to build up his innings.
In his final rehab start, Glasnow was hitting 100 MPH, hitting that number seven times, according to Jim Callis. The right-hander had hit 99 MPH a few times last year, so the one extra mile per hour isn’t a huge difference. The frequency in which he hit that number is more significant.
“I know I hit it that day,” Glasnow said. “I didn’t know I hit it that many times though.”
Glasnow did mention that his control wasn’t as good in that start. The control is going to be the biggest test for him going forward. Last year he saw his walk rate slowly declining as the season went on, going from a 6.28 BB/9 in his first ten games of the season, to a 3.06 BB/9 in a ten game stretch that ended in the middle of August. Continuing that improvement will be huge in his attempt to be a top of the rotation starter.
A big focus this year for Glasnow will be on the changeup. The Pirates have him focusing on improving that pitch, and throwing it more frequently.
“I’ve been throwing the changeup a lot more,” Glasnow said. “That’s been feeling a lot better.”
This is the same level that Jameson Taillon started working on his changeup more frequently, getting challenged by the Pirates pitching coaches to throw the pitch 20 times per start. Glasnow has a plus fastball when his command is on, and he’s got a plus curveball at times. If he can develop a good changeup, he’ll have a dominant three pitch mix to work with.
Glasnow will be pitching every five days in the Bradenton rotation. Currently that rotation has five guys who are all performing well. I wouldn’t be surprised to see one of the current rotation members sent up to Altoona to replace the recently injury Zack Dodson.