INDIANAPOLIS – It has been well documented the plethora of top level prospects starting the season in Indianapolis and the full house that there is at a lot of positions. The entire starting rotation will be top 25 prospects in the system once Chad Kuhl joins the team from Extended Spring Training. The position players, once Elias Diaz returns from the disabled list, will include six of the top 27 prospects in the system.
While seeing those prospects developing within the organization is a treat, it can also be a curse to the man filling out the lineup card and finding spots for those stars. However, this is a role that Indianapolis manager Dean Treanor is excited about.
“It is exciting for Pittsburgh and exciting for the organization [to have the high level prospects],” Treanor said. “This is a very young team. That is another aspect of this, is that we have young players here and they are going to make young mistakes. They are going to look at things a little bit differently. They are going to look at Pittsburgh instead of here. I don’t like clichés, but I like ‘you are where your feet are.’ We are in Indianapolis and there are things that we have to take care of here. We have some exciting players.”
But he does know that the development comes with work. With the youth on the roster, Treanor knows that the work put in will help develop the skills that each player may be lacking, which is why they are at the level and not in the majors.
“There are some high level prospects, but on the other hand, they are still missing something,” Treanor said. “Whether that is maturity. Whether that is their consistency. I think it all starts with a consistent work day and your mentality for that day.”
As for the top prospect on the squad, Tyler Glasnow, Treanor admitted that he would like to see the command a bit more consistent. Glasnow really struggled at times with Indianapolis with getting the ball across the plate. He walked five in one outing, while recording just one out, and allowed six free passes in another.
“I think it is consistency [that is lacking from Glasnow],” Treanor said. “I saw a couple of his starts in Spring Training and then at the end in Minor League camp. It was indicative of him being here and he knows this. He has to come out there and throw strike one. It is that consistency, and I know that he is trying to attack hitters. His mentality has to be that he is probably his own worst critic and he beats himself up a little bit. That is a maturity thing and understanding that it really is pitch to pitch. If he comes out and shows that he can pound that strike zone, that is going to push him forward for sure.”
Along with Glasnow, pitching coach Stan Kyles is salivating at the opportunity to work with such a dynamic starting rotation.
“I think, with this particular group, I have never had a group that had so much action on the ball,” Kyles said. “Either that be with velocity, which Taillon and Glasnow are capable of throwing the ball plus-95. With Trevor Williams and Steven Brault, those guys are able to move the ball around. They have great action and get the ball down with sink on their pitches. Chad Kuhl came up last year and pitched a great game for us in the playoffs. He is a guy with very plus stuff as well.”
Remaining confident at the level, while getting acclimated to the level in the first six to eight weeks, is the main key that Kyles pointed to for the rotation.
While he pointed to Glasnow for some needed consistency, Treanor also thinks that there are more players who need to show the same.
“[Alen] Hanson was one of the most exciting players in the league last year,” Treanor said. “He had a tremendous month of May. Again, he did not maintain that over the season. There’s the consistency that we talk about. He has to show that on a consistent basis.”
Hanson is one of four players who could be rotating between second, third, shortstop and the outfield with Indianapolis. This group also includes Gift Ngoepe, Adam Frazier, and Max Moroff. Versatility is something that the Pirates organization has been putting an emphasis on over the past few years, and this will be no different in Indianapolis.
“The thing about guys playing different positions and the versatility of it, we play 144 games in the regular schedule,” Treanor said. “I would not be surprised if we have 144 different line ups because of that fact. They talked about Houston and their different combinations of lineups last season. I think we are going to have the same here. We are going to plug guys in different spots and different positions just for the versatility of Pittsburgh.”