Each week we run our “Top Performers” series, looking at the best pitchers and hitters from the previous week. We also recap each month in order to award the Pitcher and Player of the month. Below are the average pitching Game Scores* in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ farm system from the month of July. The rankings include every pitcher who made at least four starts for a Pirates’ minor league affiliate, with no limitations on whether the starting pitcher has prospect eligibility. The Game Score listed is the average of all of their Game Scores for the month.
*Game Score is a stat created by Bill James used to determine how good a pitcher’s outing really was. The formula for game score is simple: Start with 50 points, add one point for every out recorded, add two for each inning completed after the fourth, add one point for each strikeout. Subtract two points for each hit, four points for each earned run, two points for each unearned run and one point for each walk. There tends to be an advantage for pitchers who can go longer in the game, as they have more time to pile up strikeouts, while getting bonus points for extra innings beyond the fourth frame.
Pitcher of the Month
Last month was a close race for pitcher of the month, with Nick Kingham barely edging out Tyler Glasnow. This month was another close race, but this time it was Glasnow who edged out Adrian Sampson, making Tyler Glasnow the Pirates Prospects Pitcher of the Month for the month of July.
Glasnow had an impressive month of July, combining for a 1.82 ERA in 29.2 innings, with a 40:9 K/BB ratio. The walk rate was especially impressive, considering the struggles Glasnow has had with his control throughout his career. While he did end the month with four walks in 5.2 innings, and started August with another four walk outing, Glasnow went four straight starts in July with two or fewer walks, and three of those starts had just one walk.
The strikeouts are nothing new for the tall right-hander, who recorded double-digit strikeouts twice in a game this month, and just missed a third time after striking out nine batters on July 27th. Glasnow led the minor league system with his 40 strikeouts, with the next closest pitchers coming in with 32, while both having more innings than Glasnow.
Last year, Glasnow broke out with a 2.18 ERA in West Virginia, along with a 164:61 K/BB ratio. This year he has a 1.63 ERA in 94 innings at a higher level, with a 111:49 K/BB ratio. His strikeout rate dropped from 36.3% last year, but is still at an amazing 29.3% this year. His walk rate has only seen a slight decline, going from 13.5% to 12.9%. He was showing improvements on that front until his last two starts. Glasnow should get a look at Altoona by the end of the year. He’ll likely spend most of the 2015 season at the Double-A level, getting a shot at Indianapolis by the end of the year, which would put him on pace for Pittsburgh by the middle of the 2016 season.
Minor League Affiliates
Here were the Pitchers of the Month for each minor league affiliate.
Indianapolis Indians (AAA) - Rafael Perez, LHP (0.44 ERA, 10:6 K/BB, 20.1 IP)
Altoona Curve (AA) - Adrian Sampson, RHP (2.20 ERA, 22:9 K/BB, 41 IP)
Bradenton Marauders (A+) - Tyler Glasnow, RHP (1.82 ERA, 40:9 K/BB, 29.2 IP)
West Virginia Power (A) - Buddy Borden, RHP (2.93 ERA, 32:11 K/BB, 30.2 IP)
Jamestown Jammers (A-) - Frank Duncan, RHP (2.60 ERA, 20:4 K/BB, 27.2 IP)
Bristol Pirates (RK) - John Sever, LHP (0.75 ERA, 24:5 K/BB, 12 IP)
GCL Pirates (RK) - Dario Agrazal, RHP (2.66 ERA, 19:4 K/BB, 23.2 IP)