This Chart Shows the Steady Decline in Tyler Glasnow’s Walks This Year

Tyler Glasnow is having another amazing season. After six shutout innings last night, his ERA dropped to 1.64 in 82.1 innings. The six shutout innings extended his streak of not allowing an earned run, with the streak now reaching 18 innings, spanning back to July 5th. That would be impressive, except earlier this season he had another streak where he went 26.2 innings without allowing a run at all — a streak that lasted over a month.

He struck out 11 batters last night, making that the third time in his last ten starts that he’s recorded double-digit strikeouts. On the season he has a 10.6 K/9, which is down from his 13.3 rate last year, but still very impressive. He had a 36.3% strikeout rate last year, and is at 29.3% this year.

The one downside to Glasnow’s game has been the control. He has a 4.5 BB/9 ratio on the season, which isn’t a huge improvement over his 2013 numbers. His BB% has dropped from 13.5% to 12.4%, although you’d like to see it much lower. However, a look at Glasnow’s trends shows some big improvements in this area.

Last year I noticed that Glasnow’s control got better as the season went along. After his first ten games, he was walking more than six batters per nine innings. By mid-August, he was walking just over three batters per nine innings in his last ten games. After last night’s outing, Glasnow had walked two or fewer batters in his last four starts, and two or fewer in nine of his last 11 starts. I wanted to do the same study, looking at how his walks have dropped as the season has progressed. He doesn’t have as many starts this year as he did when I ran a similar article last year, so I looked at five game averages to get more data points.

 

TylerGlasnowBB9Last5

Once again, Glasnow got off to a bad start to the season. A lot of this was due to a horrible start on April 30th, which was his second start of the year. He walked seven batters in two innings that game, which spiked the totals in the first two data points. The early control problems could have been due to rust as he was returning from a back injury during Spring Training.

The control was still a problem through the month of May. He walked four batters in five innings on May 10th, followed by three batters in six innings in his next outing. After that, he started seeing improvements. Since those two games, he has had that stretch where he walked two or fewer batters in 9 of 11 starts. That doesn’t include a cancelled game where he walked one in four innings, before the game way postponed and eventually wiped off the books due to rain.

There have been some bad outings in the process. The May 22nd start only saw two walks, but he only pitched four innings. The next start saw four walks in five innings. He really started picking up the pace in early June, and you can see that in the chart above, as his average BB/9 rate starts to see a huge decline starting in July. He has a 3.02 BB/9 since June 12th, spanning 45 innings.

Glasnow still had one bad outing in this stretch. He’s also had some bad innings, but has done a better job of recovering quickly, and not letting one bad inning snowball into multiple bad innings. There are still some control issues there, but the results lately have been fantastic, especially when combined with the fact that he doesn’t give up hits, and strikes out over a batter an inning.

You’ve got to think that Glasnow is close to a promotion with these numbers. He’s eventually going to need to show this control from day one, rather than starting off strong and getting better as the season goes along. I’d wouldn’t be surprised if he sticks around in Bradenton for another start or two, but I would be surprised if he remains in Bradenton the rest of the year. At this point he’s probably going to be in Altoona for most of the 2015 season, and won’t be in the majors until mid-season 2016, which would be his age 22 season. Moving him up right away isn’t going to speed up his timeline, but it would be nice to give him a taste of Double-A by the end of the year.

Tim Williams

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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  • deacs

    If he doesn’t get promoted after last night I don’t know what it would take. I will admit though that there seems to be a checklist of stuff we’re not privy to and that these checklists are made by people much smarter than myself. I haven’t seen him but I imagine the fastball control is better, the walks are down, so why not get him starts in AA at the end of 2014? He’s probably up June 2016 barring injury or 5 straight no-hitters to open next season so it’s not like it matters that much. Does the Altoona Roster effect promotions or do they promote Glasnow and worry about the ripple effects later based on how good he is?

    • freddylang

      I was thinking it would be nice for him to go to AA for a few starts and then go back to Bradenton if they are in the playoffs for a start or two. But I’m sure it all depends on where they think his arm is fatigue-wise. I think with his injury he will be ready for a few extra starts and maybe even AZFL…but only the fo knows exactly where his total pitch count not including official starts is. He had one start that was very good wiped out by rain also.

  • TimF

    Any concern about how long he’s lasting in games, only averaging a little more than 5 in/per?

    • deacs

      I have nothing to back this up with but it seems like he’s gone 6 innings more often this year than in the past and went 7 innings once for the first time. Someone I’m sure will chime in. People on this site keep crazy stats in their back pocket it seems. I’m never surprised.

      • Lee Young

        they’re not crazy stats if they make sense.

        😺😎😺

        • deacs

          I meant more of people seem to be able to whip out OPS and ISO and whatever else as if they have it memorized. The numbers come quickly here.

    • WTM

      He’s coming out due to pitch counts, and those are getting inflated by him going deep into counts a lot. It’s NOT bad control, at least not based on the one game I saw him pitch. I think it’s a result of hitters not being able to put the ball in play against him. He’s focusing now on command and learning a change, and not on strategies for putting hitters away quickly. I’m sure they’ll work more on the latter as he moves up.

      Bottom line is, I’m not concerned. It’s a heck of a lot easier to take a guy people can’t hit and teach him how to get them out more quickly than it is to take a guy people CAN hit and teach him how not to get hit.

      • smurph

        Right on, WTM. It makes sense that if hitters can’t put the ball in play, they are likely to take more pitches, foul off more pitches, elevate pitch counts, and get more walks, agains a strikeout pitcher, than against a pitcher who wants the batter to put the ball in play on the first or second pitch.

    • http://www.acme-tv.com LongJohnSilver

      Perhaps pitch count? With a lot of strikeouts, pitch count goes up quickly.

    • http://www.piratesprospects.com/ Tim Williams

      Until the last month, he was limited to around 85 pitches. The June 24th start was the first one where he went 100 pitches. He also went 7 innings. Since that time, he has reached the sixth inning in five of his six starts, and has reached the seventh in two of six starts. The one start he went less than five innings was when he walked 4 in 2.2 innings, and was pulled due to a single inning pitch count limit.

  • http://batman-news.com NMR

    Well done, Tim.
    Looking forward to seeing how his stuff plays against experienced hitters. I think a bit of adversity will be needed to turn control into command.

  • Andrew

    Good stuff, I’m always skeptical of hard throwers who struggle to throw strikes, but that trend is very encouraging.

    • stickyweb

      No doubt. If there’s going to be a trend (instead of consistency), love seeing the trend in the right direction.

  • veinteuno

    Curious who where the C,s in the starts?

  • Simon Weaver

    I almost feel it’s OK to have him in Bradenton. He’s filling in and the command is there. Give him an offseason and dominate AA