Neal Huntington Prospect Notes: Glasnow, Meadows, McGuire, Tucker

Neal Huntington had his weekly press conference with the media on Sunday, including our own Nate Barnes. During the interview, Huntington was asked a few questions about some of the top prospects in the system. Most of these topics were things that were covered in the past week on this site, but Huntington did add a few additional comments. The quotes are below.

**On Friday, I had a chance to see Tyler Glasnow pitch his first home game for the Altoona Curve. The results were outstanding, and Glasnow looked the best I’ve ever seen him. His pitching coach, Justin Meccage, agreed, as did a long time AL scout who had seen him a few times before. You can read my report on Glasnow here.

Huntington talked about the outing on Sunday. A lot of this was covered in the article above, although Huntington expanded a bit on the mechanics.

“His ability to add and subtract with the breaking ball. He threw it for strikes, he threw it for chase. Still have changeup development that we need to get with. But he throws hard and with the breaking ball as well as he’s throwing it, we’re doing the hitters a favor working on the changeup. That’s something we’ll continue to work with him on. The fastball explosive in the top and bottom of the zone. He’s continued to refine and allow his mechanics to just be his mechanics and not have to spend energy thinking about them between innings or between starts. We’re making good progress and we’re very pleased where he is right now.”

**Austin Meadows and Reese McGuire both received an aggressive push to the High-A level this year, with both ranking among the ten youngest players in the Florida State League on Opening Day. Meadows has been crushing the ball, with a .381/.413/.500 line in 42 at-bats. McGuire has cooled a bit, but has a .294/.333/.412 line, while making solid contact and showing strong defense. It’s the kind of start for both players that you’d want to see after such an aggressive promotion.

“We expect them to continue to grow and get better on and off the field,” Huntington said on both players. “Continue to mature, continue to refine their game. Continue their skills their tools. Continue to get better. There is a challenge for he game that presents itself at every level. There is a challenge of the game that presents itself everyday and they getting ready to handle it.”

**Speaking of young players receiving an aggressive push, Cole Tucker got the promotion to West Virginia this year, even though he’s only 18. Tucker is hitting for a .290/.313/.323 line, showing some potential at times, but also showing areas where he could use some improvements. It’s still early, and it will be interesting to see how he develops this year at the level as the season goes on. Huntington discussed the reason for the aggressive push.

“In Cole’s mind and in our minds, he’s an advanced young man on and off the field. We felt like he was more than ready to handle that level and we may be proven right and we may be proven wrong, but advanced mindset, advanced preparation the skill set we think plays there, despite being that this is arguable his senior season age wise. This should be the year that he is drafted based on his age. But we felt like he was ready to go ahead mentally, physically, fundamentally and personally. And we thought it was the right step for his growth and development.”

**Last week I wrote about the aggressive promotions for hitting prospects, specifically pointing out the three above cases. I noted that it was probably a decision that was made on an individual basis. Huntington confirmed that on Sunday.

“It’s case-by-case, and again it’s just not the tools and the skills. Sometimes the mentally is ahead of the tools and the skills; sometimes it’s behind it. And in this case we felt they were pretty well aligned and he’d be ready to handle this challenge.”

  • Cole Tucker, remember the name.

  • all power pitchers have change up usage under10%, with a 2seamer,4seamer and 2 types of speeds on the curve is plenty of stuff to get major league hitters out, just keep all pitches out of the middle of the plate.

    • So that pretty much answers my question as to whether or not the change up has to be on the same level as the curve and fastball before he gets promoted next year (hopefully).

    • Don’t dismiss that 10%. Very difficult to avoid platoon issues without a change or split.

      Glasnow won’t reach his ceiling without one.

  • Is there any scenario where Glasnow’s change up holds him back? Can he refine the pitch in the majors or are they going to wait until he has 3 formidable pitches? I would imagine control is the biggest obstacle.

    • My guess is that the Pirates want Glasnow to be good to go as a complete pitcher instead of as a flamethrower with a nasty curve who hopes to get by solely on stuff for a dozen starts before the rest of the league catches up with him. From a financial point of view, the Pirates don’t want to start the service or Super 2-clock for short term gains when there is still significant development to occur in AA or AAA.

      • Oh I don’t see him coming up anytime before mid-June of 2016, even in a relief role. I was just wondering if they want his change up as polished as the FB and Curve or if they just want him to get his control to an acceptable level.

  • “But he throws hard and with the breaking ball as well as he’s throwing
    it, we’re doing the hitters a favor working on the changeup.”

    Exhibit #1 in why minor league stats need to be taken with a huge grain of salt.