Prospect Links: Tyler Glasnow, Clay Holmes, Gregory Polanco

Tyler Glasnow is starting to get more hype as a future ace.
Tyler Glasnow is starting to get more hype as a future ace.

Due to the trade deadline, I’ve been behind on my reading on prospect writeups. I had a few reports saved to read from the last week, and caught up on those today. Of course, I could have caught up on them in the last week and I wouldn’t have missed a single trade, thanks to the slow deadline. Below are some good links on a few of the top prospects in the system, along with my thoughts on a few of the players.

**J.J. Cooper of Baseball America talks about Tyler Glasnow growing into a potential ace. The article is for BA subscribers only, but is a good profile on Glasnow. The key parts are that Glasnow is more advanced than most teenagers at his age, and he has also made huge strides this year with his command. A big issue for Glasnow at the start of the year was that he had issues repeating his delivery. He has more control over his body now, and is doing a better job of learning how to repeat his delivery. We’ve seen the results in the stat lines. He has 20 walks in 49.2 innings since the start of June (3.6 BB/9), which is down from 30 walks in 42.2 innings in the first two months of the season (6.3 BB/9).

**Nathaniel Stolz of RotoGraphs also has a good look at Glasnow, including some video. He saw Glasnow on June 14th, and in the article he works to separate the reality from the hype on the young starter. Pretty much everything said is accurate. Glasnow has two plus pitches with his fastball and curveball, although the curve could use more consistency. He doesn’t have any red flags mechanically. The downside is that he needs to work on his changeup, especially providing some separation in speed from his fastball, and needs to improve his control, which he has done a good job of in the last two months, but could still use more work.

**I’ve talked about Glasnow a lot, and anything I say would be repeating my previous thoughts or repeating the above notes. I will point out that I think Glasnow is further along than Jameson Taillon at the same level. Glasnow struggles with his command, but when it’s on he can locate at the knees on a steep downward plane. That was something Taillon couldn’t do in low-A. Glasnow doesn’t have a changeup, but neither did Taillon at that level. He’s also dominating opponents, which is something Taillon didn’t do. We’ve seen Taillon show huge improvements with the changeup, and with his command and ability to throw down in the zone in the two years since he’s been in West Virginia. It’s going to be fun to see how Glasnow improves over the next two years.

**Zach Mortimer of Baseball Prospectus had updates on Clay Holmes and Gregory Polanco last week. I got to see Polanco a lot this year, and the report on BP was a lot of what I saw. Zach notes that Polanco needs to work on his reads in the outfield, and makes up for poor reads right now with his speed. That’s especially true on straightaway shots. He also notes that Polanco has exceptionally quick hands at the plate, which will allow him to hit for power and average. Finally, he notes that Polanco has that “it” factor that very few prospects have.

Zach told me before the article went up that he would be profiling Holmes and that he had a good report. I was more interested in reading that, since I haven’t seen Holmes yet this year since Spring Training. He struggled at the start of the year, but has been turning it around recently. All of the reports I’ve heard on him this year have been good, including this one. Mortimer notes that this is a case where scouting the box score, rather than seeing a prospect in person, can get you in trouble. He says Holmes has easy mid-rotation potential.

One thing about Holmes is that he looks like he could be taking the Nick Kingham path this year. Last year Kingham started off slow in West Virginia, then quietly had a dominant second half. In his final two months he had a 3.03 ERA in 59.1 innings, with a 54:12 K/BB ratio. That was after a 5.37 ERA in 70.1 innings in the first three months, with a 63:24 K/BB ratio. This year Kingham has been great both in high-A and Double-A.

Holmes also got off to a rough start in West Virginia. In his first two months of the year he had a 5.60 ERA in 45 innings, with a 31:32 K/BB ratio. In his last two months he has a 3.02 ERA in 53.2 innings, with a 41:28 K/BB ratio. He’s still got some control problems to work through, but he’s been much better in the last two months. That’s scouting the box score, but all of the reports I’ve received on Holmes have matched Mortimer’s report that his stuff looks good, and he still has that mid-rotation potential.

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Steve Zielinski

Ryan Hafner has also improved greatly after his disastrous 2012 season. I’d bet that the Pirates have him in the bullpen because they want him to work on repeating his delivery in game situations. Hafner’s pitch control may have improved because of this program.


Let him develop!!!!!! – If you need someone, call up Lambo in September. Leave Polanco alone and let him develop more power, give him the offseason to put on a few pounds and we can see what april brings


He has developed and he is about to be 22 years old, he isn’t 18. Machado came up last year and people said the same thing but here he was an All-star already this year. Why can’t his power develop in the majors? Everything else has already developed. Oh and if you want Lambo, why wait until September?


Glasnow’s numbers are insane. And if he really develops a change and continues to fine tune things mechanically. Uhhh, hello? I really think he would be the best of the bunch. I wondered today about a call-up for Polanco. If the Pirates continue to struggle with production in RF and don’t address it this month…. I wonder if they would consider it? They do consistently say they don’t promote based on need (don’t let that trump development needs). But his plate discipline seems to have really taken off since going up a level. 24 BB in 37 games at Altoona vs 16 in 57 G at Bradenton. Strikeouts slightly down at Altoona, too.


Exactly, well said!! Because his plate discipline is so good I do not think he would be over matched at all. He doesn’t strike out much at all and we know his speed and defense would definitely help. There is no way his bat would be any worse than what we have put out in RF all year. I would call him up by late August if an addition isn’t acquired through waiver trade. I doubt they will do that but at least Lambo will probably get a shot.


Well, do any of you think the Pirates will call him up in September? I know we have not been apt to do things like that, but this is the new and improved edition of Pirate Baseball, and if he is that good, we can use him in RF. All I have seen are the stats and the kid seems to hit better as he moves up, and that is very difficult for any prospect. Probably an assignment to the AFL; if he shows well, an assignment to AAA in 2014 for his “finishing touches” and then a June 2014 entry at PNC?

Jeremy J Stein

I think June 2014 (maybe July) is very realistic for Polanco to be playing at PNC.
As far as September call up, I doubt that would happen because the Pirates would have to add him to the 40-man earlier than they would like, which would be during the summer next year.
Now, thats not to say Polanco couldn’t produce at the major league level. With his speed and defense, he could definetly help. I’m not sure how well his bat would play because I’m not sure how well he would hit at triple A level. There are examples of hitters making the jump from AA to majors directly, but not many and usually they struggle at the plate in at least their first year.
I personally think, why rush? Let Polanco learn a few more things in the minors until next summer and then #freepolanco.


Lee,if you watch Polanco over a span of a number of games,you will be be like me : sitting there with my mouth open waiting for him to get to MLB. If I had the space I would tell you about the one plate appearance last night ( Weds. 7/31 ) and how he wound up scoring. It was unbelievable,you had to see it to understand what you saw.


I’ll echo those sentiments. I haven’t gotten to see him much but I got up to Altoona for one series and I am sold on him.

Lee Young

Hopefully, Polanco is working on his reads in RIGHT field….lol

Holmes = Kingham? Kewl!!!!


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