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.”

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52 COMMENTS

  1. Quick question. Does Dean really have the option of really saying who is in the lineup, or is that more orchestrated by the top brass? Just curious.

  2. Glasnow lack of mental strength gets mentioned often, is starting to worry me a bit, ok a lot.

    • I wonder if history shows that Pitchers can develop mental strength. It’s hard to change ones character. It seems he has mechanically developed fast so it just needs to catch up. I imagine time and a good catcher might help him with that part of his game.

      • He’s also simply a 22 year old kid.

        He’s inconsistent, and when it happens at a new level or in a SSS playoff game people worry he’s not mentally strong. Maybe, or maybe the 21 year old got nervous and showed the same consistency issues he’s seen at times due to lack of control.

        Really overblown imo, since some are actively pondering it as if it’ll alter his career significantly.

    • Glasnow’s “mental issues” are like baseball’s “tanking problem”; both narratives pushed by one place.

      • That’s a great example of someone who did overcome it……and similar stuff and body type too, good job Kozy!!!!

        • ……of course……..we can’t afford to blow 4 years of service time otherwise it will be L.A. instead of Pittsburgh who reaps the benefits of his maturity

        • And *this* is a great example of how irresponsible/sloppy journalism makes a mountain out of a molehill.

          Zack Grienke has clinically diagnosed mental disorders that he’s worked hard to overcome.

          Tyler Glasnow does not.

          End of story.

          • Hard to call replies on prospect website journalism…but if you must it’s still freedom of speech in this country whether you agree with his opinion or not. Please check my spelling and feel free to correct my grammar. It’s just baseball.

            • Oh look, someone on an internet message board who doesn’t understand what freedom of speech means.

              I, for one, am shocked.

              FWIW, I’m not talking about the comments. I’m talking about the article that are inspiring the comments.

          • FWIW, he had/has anxiety which he has managed or overcome and should be applauded for it. “Mental” is being used incorrectly and leads people nowadays to think the worst, such as people with schizophrenic disorder.

            • Well, there is a difference between using a term like “anxiety” and clinically diagnosed social anxiety disorder.

              When we are talking about the clinical definition, mental disorder does cover things such as depression and anxiety issues. So its absolutely correct to say that Greinke suffers from a clinically diagnosed mental disorder, and not in any way mean that negatively.

              Its not an all or nothing situation. Mental disorders arent only intense situations like schizophrenia, but also common issues like depression and social anxiety. The fact that people commonly assume dumb things doesnt make calling what Greinke suffers from incorrect.

              Edit: Assumed this was a response to the first post referencing Greinke obviously. Ma bad if you meant anxiety for Glasnow, who is clearly different. You win again, internet.

              • Incidentally, anxiety and depression can be pretty darned intense, but even with those issues, there is a continuous spectrum of severity, ranging from annoyance to debilitation.

              • You are correct, in the state differences. I should have gone into more detail. I also was referring to Greinke.

          • NMR- there is no story. The fact that Greinke’s problems are so much worse than Glasnow’s means that Tyler can overcome his. NOW, we are at the end of the story.

    • You should just replace the words “mental strength” with “mechanical consistency,” and you might be on to something.

      Glasnow’s limb-iness is well documented. How it impacts the consistency of his delivery is also well documented. When in high-pressure situations and while performing athletics, the heart rate accelerates and more oxygen gets to the muscles, letting them do things harder and faster. Now, if a pitcher’s mechanics are off, but his muscles are ramping up their power, what effect do you think that has? Well, I’ll tell you. It amplifies that mechanical inconsistency in the form of poor control.

      That’s Glasnow’s problem. The problem isn’t in his head, it’s in his muscles.

      Probably flawed analogy: If you swing a golf club, and you have a bad swing and tend to open the club face, you’ll slice. How does your slice change if you swing harder? It gets worse. You’re putting more energy into that flawed mechanic, and the flaw is amplified.

      Pitching is similar in the necessity of mechanical consistency. Slight deviations from proper release point and release angle get amplified over the distance to the plate, and more amplified when more energy is put into it. Glasnow also throws really hard, which probably doesn’t help.

      • Glasnow has publicly discussed his performance anxiety, which occurs during the “high pressure” situations you mention. Anxiety reflects the workings of the flight/fight response that is a prelude to acts intended to manage the actual or perceived threat.

        Find someone with a phobia, and then ask them to describe their experiences of their phobic reactions. This will confirm the claim that anxiety is a physical event as well as a psychic event.

        Fortunately, repeated exposure to the feared object or situation can diminish the anxiety the phobic person experiences. This applies to individuals suffering from performance anxiety.

      • This comment and Steve’s that follows are not inconsistent. If anxiety contributes to or causes mechanical inconsistency then a talented pitcher can lose control. I think the golf analogy is appropriate. I’ve known many great athletes who don’t know whether they are going to break 80 or shoot 100. Mechanical inconsistency. I’ve seen club champions get the shanks when a big bet puts the pressure on…anxiety leading to mechanical disaster.

    • It seems to be more of a confidence issue when moving up to a new level. He has been dominant at each level once he gets past the 1st tee jitters to use a golf analogy.

      More concerning is his curve ball command and mediocre change up.

  3. Ok, here is another of my dumb questions.
    We have quality starting pitchers in Indy.
    Some may be in Pittsburgh at some point in the season.
    How do they keep them from being overworked in Indy?
    Do they only go 5-6 innings at a time?
    Do they go with something similar to a 6 man rotation
    so they are not overused?

    In other words, what will the Pirates do so that the
    starting pitchers in Indy are not as tired as the starters
    in Pittsburgh so they are ready when needed in crunch time.

    • Maybe we need Figurroa to come up with a formula on how much you can pitch them to keep them fresh and still get innings in. After all he said, “I 8 sum PI, and it was good.

    • I will answer this quite differently- Most of these pitchers still have a HUGE need to increase their workload in the minors so that they are capable of pitching a whole year in 2017. Even though we want pitchers to be available to help Pittsburgh, we don’t want to leave innings on the table for guys whom generally haven’t pitched even close to 150 innings yet in a minor league season, especially when we are far more concerned for their ability to pitch a whole year next year. For their development, it’s far more important to build them up, than to worry about them being exhausted at the end of the season and being out of innings. Do to random things like injuries throughout the year and also with callus early enough that you can monitor innings, I don’t think this would be a priority. You don’t really expect minor league pitchers to provide a whole lot of boost to a major league roster in the playoff hunt anyways, as even big time prospects have a tendency to struggle their first 1.5 years or so. Taillon would probably be here earlier, so watching innings in Indy would be pointless.

    • The minor league pitchers are behind the MLB starters by about a couple weeks. The Pirates make sure the MLB starters get up to 100 pitches before leaving Spring Training, while the minor league pitchers start the season five days later at a lower pitch count. That means they have been throwing less since the second week of Spring Training games. They have strict pitch counts in the minors as well, both for pitches in an inning and for the game.

  4. Considering there isn’t as much information on AAA players, Does Treanor start practicing shifts at that level?

    • Yes the Pirates definitely practice shifting to some extent in the minor leagues. It was covered in the book Big Data Baseball, which was a fantastic read. Definitely recommend.

      • Thanks Mike, I’ve heard mamy good things about that book. It probably means as pirchers on other teams are called up during the year the Pirates have some good data on them.

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