The 2011 draft is shaping up to be a great class for the Pittsburgh Pirates. They picked first overall that year, so naturally you’d expect good things from first round pick Gerrit Cole. They also went way over-slot to sign second round pick Josh Bell with a $5 M bonus, which set a record for any bonus after the first round. They set another record when they signed Clay Holmes, with his $1.2 M being the biggest bonus for a ninth round pick. Holmes is currently recovering from Tommy John surgery, and will make the jump to Bradenton this year.
Of course, the biggest story of that draft was the breakout of Tyler Glasnow. He was a fifth round pick, signing for $600,000, and at the time there was very little known about him, other than the fact that he was an extremely tall and skinny pitcher who could throw 88-91 MPH. Three and a half years later, he’s now the top prospect in the system, and one of the top prospects in baseball.
If that’s all the Pirates got from their draft, it would be more than enough. Two potential top of the rotation guys, the first baseman of the future, and a potential middle of the rotation guy. But there’s another pitcher who gets over-shadowed by this group, and that pitcher is eighth round pick Jason Creasy.
Creasy was another projectable prep pitcher when he signed, receiving $250,000 to break a commitment to NC State. He threw in the upper 80s at the time, touching 90 MPH. In 2014, his four-seam fastball was sitting 90-93 MPH, touching 95. He also boasts some of the best control in the system, seeing his walk rate drop from an 11.1 BB% in 2011, to 8.1%, 5.2%, and 3.5% in the next three years, respectively. While the walk rate has been impressive, the strikeouts have never been high, with a 15.9% strikeout rate last year.
He’s got the upside to be a back of the rotation starter, or a strong reliever. That doesn’t sound like much in comparison to the upsides of some of the other 2011 picks, but any team would take that from any eighth round pick.
The 2015 season will see Creasy make the jump to Altoona. His focus right now is improving his breaking ball to have a better out pitch, and pitching down in the zone. I talked to him in the video below about this focus, along with recapping how his Spring Training has gone so far.