Bell and Glasnow Among Top Rookies for 2016

The staff at Baseball America came up with their top rookies for 2016, based on how much they could contribute in the majors this year. Tyler Glasnow is the highest rated prospect in the Pirates’ system, no matter who you ask. In this case though, BA sees a better chance for Josh Bell to get time in the majors with the Pirates’ situation at first base. Bell ranks #14 on their top 20 list, while Glasnow is ranked as the 19th best rookie.

In each of his three spring starts, Glasnow has had an inning cut short due to reaching his pitch count. His fastball/curve combo has look devastating at times, but there is no consistency yet. That’s one of the reasons the Pirates said he didn’t come up last year in September and why he won’t be ready for the majors until at least early June. If his consistency issues don’t improve by June, then there is a chance that Glasnow’s contributions in Pittsburgh this season could be a lot less.

Bell’s main issue is defense and he has made progress in that area since last year. You would still like to see him add power to his game, but his approach at the plate and ability to make contact and get on base, means he should still be a valuable player, even if the defense is average at best.

It wouldn’t be surprising to see Bell have the bigger contribution this year, even if he isn’t the higher ranked prospect in the sysem. There is also a chance Jameson Taillon could contribute the most, depending on how the Pirates handle his innings. He could be the first starter called up from AAA, other than possible spot starters. Injuries could also play a part in who ends up being the most valuable. If Alen Hanson or Elias Diaz has to take a spot for awhile, one of them could end up as the best rookie this year.

  • Let’s all take a deep breath and give the kid a chance to work on what he needs to improve. So if not this year, then next year he will dominate.

  • It’s funny, but in our survey, Taillon was the SP most thought would help in 2016 and not Glasnow.

    • domdidominic
      March 12, 2016 9:20 am

      Taillon seems very close to ML ready. I think he is more in the line of healthy and being able to get through the 6th inning. Sticky situation with Taillon, if he starts off great in AAA and is a better option than any of our 4/5 guys, do you bring him up, have him make 15 starts, then shut him down for an innings limit. Using up his service time. Doubt they will want to put him in the pen to limit his innings.
      Glasnow is going to frustrate Pirate fans for the next 3 years. He will come up and walk too many, give up too many steals, have blow up innings where he totally loses it and be called a bust. Meanwhile he will have a 3.75 era with a 1.3 whip and be unhittable at times. Record will not be great due to sub 5 inning starts and those blow up losses. He’s going to be a #1, but will do so behind Cole and ahead of Taillon.

  • HartHighPirate
    March 11, 2016 4:51 pm

    Tim, I saw the game today. Harold Ramirez is the Pirate ST leading hitter .621 hitting with consistency and power. He is young and should be moved up to Altoona this year. Please comment.

  • I’ve been meaning to ask this for a while. If Glasnow needs to work on improving the control of curve ball, developing his change up, continue to work on inconsistent control of his fastball, and work on other ancillary stuff (holding runners on, etc), how is he so highly rated? And should I have faith that he can help the bucs this year? Is there a chance he ends up a reliever if he can only rely on his fastball?

    More generically, why don’t they have a level where of speed pitch control is the focus like fastball control is at the lower levels?

    • This is an excellent question.

    • Really tough to find any prospect who doesnt have a few things he needs to work on. Saying he needs to work on curveball control isnt a negative overall to his curve, its considered quality.

      Being his height, able to pop mid 90s consistently, with a good curve gets ya a lot of love. He’s gotta work on his control in general to get to his ceiling as a professional, but thats not uncommon even among top tier prospects.

      The FB is a big plus pitch, the curve has shown plus at times, and he’s tough to pick up the ball on at times. Consistency of his command is needed, but you’re talking about that being whats stopping him from being ML ready.

      • To me, all that stuff doesn’t mean much with out “consistency of command”

        • The difference between current Glasnow and Glasnow with “consistency of command” is a #4/5 starter / high leverage reliever and ace.

          I don’t think anyone should expect Glasnow to ever be able to “consistently command” the ball. How many 6’8″ pitchers can?

          But with his stuff, even getting halfway there still makes him pretty f’ng good.

        • If you look up some reviews of Giolito, you’ll see command is the one area most commented on about needing work. Fangraphs:
          “The only question is how consistent he’ll be able to be with his delivery and command. That will determine whether he becomes a true front-of-the-rotation pitcher or more of a high-end mid-rotation arm who slides in and out of dominance.”

          So he’s the best RHP in all of the minors, and he’s still got the command issues that have people saying if he doesnt fix them he’s more mid rotation than all out stud. He’s better than Glasnow, but even he comes with command questions.

          Same thing with Urias, more than one outlet will gush about him but say “he’s got to work on his command”. So even the elite top tier arms have command issues. Glasnow’s isnt so much worse that he’s not a top 25 player with great stuff. All of these guys are great, so its nitpicking as to who is best suited to reach their upside. You could argue against Glasnow, but you could also point out that he’s faced upper level pitching while some of the other names still have that hurdle to overcome. Or for Urias, actually throw enough innings for a ML season.

      • Let me put it this way: I think we all know Glasnow has a very good fastball and curve. But when talking in the category of elite pitching prospects if someone gave me the opportunity today I would definitely switch him out for Reyes, Snell and Urias and probably Giolito. Unfortunately, I think all of those guys are more likely to fulfill their potential and be better starting pitchers in MLB than Glasnow.

    • But where are all of those things compared to other pitchers? No denying the stuff.

      The dudes good man. Could be great. But I’m with you on the early expectations.

      • HartHighPirate
        March 11, 2016 4:25 pm

        It took Randy Johnson 6-9 until age 25 to fit his pitching style into his large body. And Randy was drafted out of college.

        Tyler Glasnow 6-8 is age 22 and was drafted out of high school. His next birthday is Aug 23 when he turns 23.

        Give him time through this development period.

        I think everyone agrees he ‘Could be great’.


    • To answer your last question, is snapping off breaking balls more than 50% of the time really the type of thing you want your young arms doing?

      Because “focusing on fastball control” essentially boils down to repetition, which is exactly what makes the same thing infeasible for breaking balls *and* why the Pirates do try and have their starters focus on the change. Less stress allows more reps.

    • With the height and velocity, you think back to how long it took Randy Johnson to out it all together. The ranking is for the upside. I think you are right and he should probably be ranked lower. I think he needs another year in the minors. Then again he could absolutely dominate in Indy and then you have to call him up.