INDIANAPOLIS – This week, I might have been the envy of every Pirates fan. Rather than watching Jeff Locke, Jon Niese, and Juan Nicasio, I was watching Tyler Glasnow, Jameson Taillon, and Chad Kuhl. And yes, that last guy belongs in the group of starters who could help in Pittsburgh, as I wrote today. Indianapolis Manager Dean Treanor agrees, offering up Kuhl today as a guy who is emerging in the picture.
“I think you can throw Kuhl in this mix, too,” Treanor said, while talking about Glasnow and Taillon. “There’s talk about Glasnow and Taillon, but Kuhl is stepping forward, stepping up.”
At this time of year, Pirates fans want these starters up immediately. There are Super Two concerns involved with each player, but there is legitimate developmental work going on with these guys in the minors. The perception is that they’re ready, and the only thing holding them back is Super Two, which is mostly about money. In some cases, that’s mostly correct. In other cases, it’s not accurate at all.
“Are these guys that are going to be in Pittsburgh at some point? Of course,” Treanor said. “And the thing that Neal and Clint try to do is make the timing right, no matter what everyone is saying.”
A big focus for the Pirates is making sure that these guys are absolutely ready to be called up. Neal Huntington has mentioned to me in the past that they’d rather call a guy up when he’s further developed, rather than the instant he might look ready for the big leagues. This way, they can try to avoid situations like what happened with Gregory Polanco, where the player struggles for a long period of time. Or, there are the more extreme cases like Pedro Alvarez and Jose Tabata, where the player struggled, and had to be sent back down. That last part is what the Pirates try to avoid the most.
“When these guys go up, they’ve got to be ready,” Treanor said. “You don’t want guys to come back.”
From my perspective, it seems the divide here is the value people place on developmental time in Triple-A. People were calling for Glasnow and Taillon to come up in April, after very little time at the level. It’s almost like Triple-A is seen as meaningless. Meanwhile, the Pirates see a lot of value in developing players at the top level.
“Everyone looks at why is Glasnow not up here,” Treanor said. “With Polanco, the same thing. When Marte was here. I don’t know if it was so much when McCutchen was here, but when these guys come through here, there’s a lot of clamoring for them to get up there, and there’s a lot to be said for having experience at this level.
“You have to learn how to pitch here. You’ve got a higher level. You’ve got guys who have played in the big leagues here. They’re going to let you know that you need to pitch, and that’s what we’re trying to get them all to do. Obviously, everybody’s stuff is very good, but how it plays at the next level is knowing how to use your stuff, what works for you, what doesn’t. Those types of things.”
So what do these pitchers need to learn at their current level, before being ready for a call-up?
I’m going to start out by saying that I don’t think Glasnow is ready, and I don’t think the Super Two deadline passing will change that. The common joke is that players magically figure everything out right after the Super Two deadline, but I’d be surprised if Glasnow gets it figured out by then.
The biggest thing he needs to work on is his changeup. The Pirates mandated recently that he use the pitch more often. When I saw him on Tuesday, the pitch didn’t look good. He still has the fastball and curveball to dominate Triple-A. But the fastball command can be shaky at times, and the overall package won’t be effective in the majors, especially if the changeup isn’t there.
“He’s got to use it,” Indianapolis Pitching Coach Stan Kyles said. “He’s been reluctant to use it in the past, but now he’s getting to the point where he understands the importance of it. It’s just a matter of using the pitch now, and understanding when to use it. He’s doing those things. He’s gotten better at it. He’s not that far off with it. He’s just going to get better.”
One issue with the changeup on Tuesday was that the velocity was high, in the upper 80s and touching 90. That didn’t give much separation from the fastball, which was down on that day. But Kyles feels the bigger issue is the command of the pitch.
“I don’t think [the velocity] is really a huge factor for me,” Kyles said. “It’s just a matter of being able to command the pitch. If he commands the pitch at 88-90, then that’s fine. If he commands it at 85-86, that’s fine. The biggest thing is to command the pitch, and not the velocity at this point.”
This is where the subject of calling up prospects gets confusing. If we’re talking about the guy who could be the best pitcher from this group over the long-term, Glasnow would be that guy. But if we’re talking about the guy from this group who is the best option right now, Glasnow isn’t that guy. Maybe that will change by the end of the season, but I don’t see a guy who is just two or three weeks away from being ready for a call-up.
The best comparison I can give for Glasnow right now is Juan Nicasio. Nicasio has a plus fastball, but struggles with command of the pitch at times. He has a plus slider as well. But he has no changeup, which means that he has no pitch to fall back on when one of the other two isn’t working. You could send Nicasio down and he’d post amazing numbers in Triple-A with the stuff he has now, just like Glasnow is doing. But in the majors, the lack of a changeup really hurts.
That’s the situation Glasnow is in right now. He’s got two plus pitches, with some command issues on his fastball. He doesn’t have a changeup, and this has been his first real effort at developing the pitch. You hope that he’s ready at some point this year, but until that pitch comes around, I’d ignore the stats, because they aren’t reflective of what we’d see from Glasnow in the majors right now.
I’ve been saying since Spring Training that Taillon looks ahead of Glasnow in terms of stuff, and the only thing holding him back was the lack of playing time the last two years. What I saw out of Taillon today was a pitcher who looks ready, and an example of a guy who will “magically be ready right after Super Two passes”. I talked to an NL scout in attendance who also said he looked like he was ready for the big leagues. But that time off with his injuries makes this situation complicated.
“Taillon with the two years off, that’s a factor for me,” Treanor said.
It would be a completely separate article to explain the impact of Taillon’s workload limits this year (and that article is coming tomorrow morning). He does have some things to work on, but it’s mostly getting everything sharp for his eventual promotion, while saving pitches and innings for the end of the season.
“He’s just continuing to refine a lot of the things that he’s been working on,” Kyles said. “He understands that he needs to get more consistent with his pitch execution. He needs to work on holding runners better, and being able to make pitches while he’s doing it, and continue to incorporate the changeup into his repertoire. He’s doing all of those things, but now is just a matter of sharpening it up, and being able to consistently do it.”
I talked about the changeup with Glasnow, and that’s a key reason why Taillon looks ready. Today, Taillon struggled with his curve. He was throwing them for strikes at times, but it wasn’t consistent, and he couldn’t battle back with the pitch. He then turned to the changeup, and had some good results, thanks to a pitch that has actually been developed. Kyles felt that he showed a good mentality as well, on a day where he didn’t have his best off-speed pitch.
“I think he threw some good curveballs, but consistently it wasn’t there for him,” Kyles said. “What I liked best about him today was he was able to will some things. A lot of times, we just look at the pitches and the results of the game, but often in a game there’s one or two defining moments that those guys show some real growth. I thought he had a couple of those. He had them first and second, and nobody out. I thought he willed the inning to a close. Those are the types of things we look at, as well. Sometimes it’s not about the technical stuff. A lot of it is tactical, and a lot of it is being able to go out there and exhort yourself over guys. I thought that was good for him today.”
Of this group, Taillon looks to be the guy who is not only ready right now, but who could provide the biggest impact. But don’t expect that to happen until after the Super Two deadline passes. The one consolation here is that Taillon will get less stressful innings the next few weeks, making it more likely that he’s able to pitch through September, and hopefully into October.
Dean Treanor’s praise of Chad Kuhl didn’t stop at the above comment. He went on today about what makes Kuhl so good, and why he’s in the conversation with the other two guys.
“Hitters don’t get very comfortable against him in the box,” Treanor said. “He’s the one guy on our staff who will pitch inside and knock you off the plate and tell you whose plate it is. That’s worked very well for him. His slider has gotten better. I think at times it’s a wipeout slider. And he’s developing his changeup. When he gets all three of those pitches going, that’s why I put him in the conversation with those other two. He deserves to be there.”
That mentality for Kuhl, where he just attacks hitters, is one of his biggest strengths. He’s a sinkerball guy, and his sinker has a lot of movement and good velocity, making it a very tough pitch to square up on. But Treanor feels that mentality only adds to the effectiveness.
“When a hitter feels that this guy is attacking, and will come in off the plate, nobody digs in, nobody has big swings,” Treanor said. “You can tell the difference when he pitches and somebody else pitches. Taillon is getting there. We’ve had that conversation with him. He was throwing so many strikes, not walking anybody. All that tells a hitter is that I can get in a box and get comfortable.”
Kuhl is another guy who looks close to being ready. He’s just now getting to the point where he’s stretched out, with the ability to go six innings and beyond, and approach 100 pitches. The key here is the effectiveness of his slider.
On Monday, I saw a great slider from Kuhl. He used it early in counts for strikes, and he used it as a strikeout pitch. If that outing is what Kuhl can show consistently, then he’s a guy who is ready for the majors right now.
“The last outing was one of his better ones,” Kyles said. “I thought he used his whole pitch selection together well. Not just every time he went to a certain count he’ll throw a slider. He’s going to throw it early and late in counts. He’s going to have to throw it in middle counts as well. When you put it all together, it was one of his best outings. He pitched in nice sequences.”
Kuhl is going to need to show this ability in more starts going forward. When I asked Treanor today for the biggest thing that Kuhl needs to work on, it was the consistency of that slider.
“If he’s going to be in the picture as a starter, he’s got to develop that third pitch,” Treanor said. “What we talk about is you really need three sliders. It can’t just be a slider. You’ve got to know how to locate it, locate it early in the count, be able to have a wipeout slider with two strikes. It’s just not throwing a slider over the plate early. It’s being able to locate that pitch down and away.
“He’s got a wipeout slider. And when he’s able to command the different sliders that he needs… I like this guy. I like him a lot. That’s why he belongs in the conversation.”
Unlike Taillon and Glasnow, Kuhl isn’t really a guy who would be impacted by Super Two. He’s got the upside of a number four starter in the majors, and maybe higher than that. So if he does start putting together more starts like the last one, showing good command of his slider, then it will be interesting to see if the Pirates make him the first guy called up. Of course, the flip side to this is that after a few more starts, the Super Two time frame might have already passed.
Just a Few More Weeks
A few weeks from now, teams across baseball (not just the Pirates) will start calling up their top prospects after the Super Two time frame passes. Without Super Two, I think Taillon could be up now, although I’m not sure how much the innings/pitches limitations would impact that. The benefit here is that he gets a few extra weeks to sharpen his stuff, while having easier innings in the minors to reduce his overall workload. I don’t think Kuhl is really impacted by Super Two, but is impacted by the consistency of his slider, which looked great on Monday.
I don’t see Tyler Glasnow as a guy who is ready, and don’t expect that to change in just a few weeks. I could see it changing at some point this year, but he definitely falls behind the other two pitchers in terms of being ready now. I’d expect Taillon to get the call in a few weeks, and wouldn’t be surprised if Kuhl was the guy joining him.
**If you’re not a subscriber of the site, you’re missing a lot this week. We’ve got a lot of coverage from Indianapolis, and I have features on Taillon and Glasnow coming up, along with a few other interesting looks at the Triple-A squad. Subscribe today to get all of our content, at a very low cost.
**Chad Kuhl: The Rotation Help From Indianapolis That You’re Overlooking. My article on Chad Kuhl today, and why you shouldn’t overlook him as a rotation option for the Pirates this year.
**Prospect Watch: Jameson Taillon Takes a Step Forward. Brian Peloza with a live report on Taillon’s outing today.
**Pirates Activate Starling Marte, Recall Boscan, Send Down Hanson and Luebke. Wilfredo Boscan got called up, and he actually pitched this time. Nice debut. I’m not sure if he can be a guy who can pitch meaningful innings, but if he can pitch in this role tonight, and avoid the need to use Mark Melancon for a one out save in a situation where you didn’t expect to see Melancon at all, then I’m all for it.
**Morning Report: Could the Pirates Stray From Their Recent Draft Strategy? John Dreker looks at Keith Law’s recent mock draft, which has the Pirates interested in a reliever who could be in the majors this year.
Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.
I rarely agree with Tim- I agree with this entire article from start to finish, except that I would say that Kuhl is probably equally about as Taillon right now to get out major league batters effectively enough to be an improvement over what we have- he doesn’t need to show anything else.
Has anyone who really is really complaining about Niese and Nicasio realize the Pirates are 11-5 in their 16 starts so far this year?? Granted the stats are not great but replacing them right this second would not make a whole lot of difference in W-L right now. The Pirates are not stupid. Any of the prospects in AAA would be in the bigs if manage thought they were drastically better and would make a huge improvement in the record.
Again, that’s an interesting stat but it’s somewhat misleading.
While the Pirates do seem to have a decent won-loss record when those two pitch, their bloated ERAs and other peripherals suggest it’s being done in spite of them rather than because.
More to the point, the Pirates have an overall record of 22-18, only four games over .500, which wouldn’t be terrible in another division but has us sitting 6.5 games behind the Cubs. And a lot of the games we’ve lost were the fault of a struggling bullpen.
Maybe it isn’t fair to bump Nicasio, Niese and/or Locke from their spot in the starting rotation because Caminero, Vogelsong, et al, have pitched poorly, but using Taillon, Glasnow and Kuhl in the rotation would allow you to put the veterans in the bullpen where they’d have a hard time not representing an improvement over what we’re using now.
So in that sense, yeah, despite their current record on the nights they actually DO pitch, the team as a whole could very easily improve its overall win total by making a change that does little or nothing for the starting rotation but drastically upgrades the relief corps.
I appreciate your analysis of what, if anything, each pitcher has to work on. And everything else being equal, they’d do so in the minor leagues. But that argument totally ignores the question of whether Taillon, Glasnow and Kuhl are better than what the Pirates currently have in Niese, Nicasio and Locke.
If the answer is yes, then it’s their Super 2 status, not how quickly their change-ups are developing, that keeps these guys in AAA.
Early in the season, you could conceivably make an argument in favor of the veterans. But with every mediocre start they turn in, that logic is exposed.
To be clear, I’m not suggesting all — or any — of the three should be in the majors now. But that’s because I recognize the limits of being a small-market team and I’m trying to think about what’s in the Pirates’ long-term interests, not because I don’t think they represent an upgrade in our present rotation.
Absent the Super 2 concerns, does anyone really think we’d be having this discussion?
Based on what Tim wrote in this article and others previous, he does not think a rushed prospect is better than the 3 pitchers you have mentioned. In spite of Niese’s ERA, the Pirates have won 6 of his 8 starts. Locke had 2 horrendous starts but had the Bucs bullpen did not help much in most of his starts either. Nicdasio started 8 games and the Pirates won 5. I would agree with Tim that you keep the young guys down until they can come in and be a force, and not just equal to the vets in the lineup know. 11 wins in 16 starts between Nicasio and Niese is pretty good.
It’s all speculation at this point, since there’s no way of knowing what the youngsters would do in their place. But you’d have a hard time convincing me any them would match Niese’s 5.28 ERA, 11 HRs surrendered and opponent batting average of .295.
And even if they were no better, you could still argue it makes more sense to go with youth because they at least have upside while Niese, Nicasio and Locke are pretty much all they’ll ever be.
Lastly, you mentioned that the bullpen was bad in two of Locke’s starts and, in fact, they’ve been bad in a lot of other games, too. But that’s another argument in favor of bringing up the kids because it could conceivably allow you to replace the underperforming relievers with Nicasio and Locke.
That might not improve things, either, but it makes more sense than sticking with the status quo and simply hoping for better results from the same people.
Great insightful piece about how these development decisions are made.Kuhl seems to get little love with all the chatter about him being a 4 or 5 starter or a middle reliever when all the analysis and stats seem to say otherwise. Could he be the prize in the Cracker Jack box no one expects?
I agree big time with you.
I believe that Glasnow should be brought up after Super 2 status if that is what HE wants. Maybe he’s bored at AAA. Let Ray work with him and let him have cervelli call/catch his games. I believe everybody will be pleasantly surprised by the results.
That’s not the case. Players who are bored at a level have no challenges. Glasnow has a challenge with his changeup. Also, they’ve got a good pitching coach in Triple-A in Stan Kyles.
Funny story. When I was in Syracuse last week I went to the Indians game. I got there early to take pictures of players in warmups, and saw the usual round of autograph vultures hanging outside the Indians dugout. They banter with the guys they get autographs from to try to act like they’re just regular fans, so they asked this one guy if he thought he’d get a callup in September.
The guy they asked was Stan Kyles. He said, “Kind of doubt it, since I’m a coach.”
Tim, how does a top pitching prospect, which is what Tyler Glasnow has been viewed as for at least the past two years, get to AAA without developing a changeup or some third, and perhaps, fourth pitch to compliment his fastball and breaking pitch? It seems to me that the ball was dropped by the Pirates player development system if Glasnow is just now working on developing an off speed pitch. Your thoughts please.
He had some serious control problems, and spent all of that time focusing on fixing the fastball. It’s not like he never worked on the changeup before. It just wasn’t priority number one, and he didn’t have a lot of chances to use it when pitching behind in the count so often.
Very well; thank you!!
If a pitcher can’t command his fastball, throwing an average change up won’t matter. I think early career A.J. Burnett is a much better comparison for Glasnow (stealing from ZiPs), league average innings would be a welcome addition to the rotation if a bit disappointment given the hype. Sliders have large platoon splits, curve balls don’t.
Financial issues aside I think the redemptive power of additional time in AAA is being oversold. Facing challenges and failure is paramount and at some point that can’t be found in AAA.
It’s been mentioned before but I do really like the Burnett comp
I really appreciated this article. I agree with the comments about not rushing Glasnow, and I don’t like the thoughts mentioned about bringing him up to pitch out of the bullpen. That makes no sense to me. If he’s a potential front line starter in the future let him stay down in Indy and work on the change-up.
If neither Kuhl or TG are deemed ready, perhaps they can be used out of the bullpen in Sept like David Price was?
Don’t rush TG!! He has the potential to be an incredibly valuable property, there’s definitely a downside to bringing him up before he is ready to dominate 3/4 of his starts. And I am so looking forward to seeing the unsung Chad Kuhl up here.
On another note, Boscan was really good last night. Do you think he might end up as a #4 starter for us down the road?
Finally, I think people are underestimating the trade value of Locke, Niese, and Nicasio. It would be silly (especially with Niese and his paycheck) to shuffle them off to the bullpen; they could each be traded for a good ML reliever and low-level prospect based on their current performance. And we all overlook the fact that, as good as Searage is a working with pitchers, his curriculum isn’t a one size fits all thing; some of our struggling guys could be really good with coaches who emphasize other methods.
I think the best you can hope for from Boscan is a middle reliever.
“On another note, Boscan was really good last night. Do you think he might end up as a #4 starter for us down the road?”. Don’t get lulled into a false sense of security. Remember, he was facing a AAAA lineup. We are going to have to see many more outings from him before we conclude that he has a long term opportunity in Pittsburgh.
Exactly why did it take the FO so long to mandate Glasnows use of his changeup if it’s such an important hurdle to overcome? Why wouldnt they make him use it more in the lower levels where he can get a better feel for it and have more time to develop the pitch?
Well up until roughly last year it was far more crucial to get him consistently throwing strikes. The change is important, but his first focus for awhile was command of the FB consistently. Thats no different than any SP the team deals with, FB command is always what they want being worked on at lower levels.
Once Glasnow worked that out, they started telling him he needed to use the change more. He just didnt do it on his own, thus them basically forcing him to do it. Always better when a player gets the idea sooner, but such is life.
The Pirates almost always use the lower level to have guys work on commanding the fastball, and Glasnow took awhile to get to a good place with consistent fastball command.
This would be my answer. Glasnow’s control issues really didn’t get better until last year in Altoona. Then, he struggled in Triple-A, and has occasional issues now. He’s still working on control, but is to the point where he can put more focus on the changeup.
lets be honest the current front office has drafted and developed 1 starting pitcher and he was the 1st pick overall.So maybe they don’t have the right plan in developing starting pitching ,that being said it is really important that tallion ,glasnow, and khul get the call up this year ,so they don’t have to do the super two shuffle next year.
Chad Kuhl was a 9th round pick out of college who signed for slot, and he’s knocking at the door. Tyler Glasnow was a 5th round prep pitcher who no one had heard about, and he’s one of the top prospects in the game. They can develop pitching.
Not to mention, Cole wasn’t even considered a slam dunk at the time. There were questions as to whether Trevor Bauer was better, and Dylan Bundy also entered that conversation. Those two have been very disappointing, while Cole is living up to his potential. So the idea that Cole was a guarantee to reach his upside just because of his high draft slot is wrong.
You said no one had heard about Tyler Glasnow.
I knew about Tyler Glasnow as I met him at our high school annual reunion age 17, after he signed his bonus contract with the Pirates. You also mentioned Trevor Bauer. He also is a Hart High graduate, as is Bob Walk and James Shields.
That said, It is my hope in 2016 Tyler can start in Dodger Stadium as it is Vin Scully’s final year. Vin knows where Hart is, 25 miles from Dodger Stadium and he has talked about Hart sending 21 players to the major leagues. I love Scully and will miss him after this year.
Tim, I’ve heard you say this about 10 times yet people still make you keep saying it. You need a page to refer people to when the same thing gets said or asked over and over. With that being said, do you think Neil Walker will ever get moved back to catcher or 3B?
started posting the same thing Tim, then my eyes when’t down one post. So, I’ll just vote your up.
1. Nicasio has a very good change up he just doesnt use it.
2. I see no difference between 7 innings in AAA vs 7 innings in MLB. Not sure why that keeps getting mentioned regarding Taillon ‘s innings. They aren’t on a six man rotation there so how is that saving his innings for the year?
1. Nicasio’s changeup this year has led to a 1.771 OPS. In his career, it has a 1.186 OPS.
2. Read my article on Taillon this morning to see the difference between AAA and MLB innings.
They consider AAA innings less stressful because sometimes, they only have pitchers working on certain pitches and not worrying about the results as much as they obviously do in the Pittsburgh. Innings and pitch counts are the same but the type of pitches and sequences in which they throw them makes things less stressful. When Taillon gets called up he will be on a limited pitch count per start with a guy like Nicasio and/or Niese backing him up to finish up other innings.
I personally am in favor of taking the time needed to see Glasnow develop his fastball and change up command, rather than throwing him to the wolves. Thankfully, it appears Pirates have that luxury.
In the pitching-heavy International League, Kuhl is first with a 0.91 ERA, Taillon is 6th with a 1.82 ERA, Glasnow is 8th with a 2.05 ERA, and Boscan, who pitched in relief for the Pirates last night, is 14th with a 2.48 ERA. Has there ever been a team with 4 SP’s in the Top 15 of the IL this late in the season? They have been very successful, and as a result, their innings pitched numbers are climbing rapidly. Steven Brault is the 5th SP and would be up there also except for losing starts due to injury.
Taillon is already at 60 IP – how many will be expected/allowed after two years of injury absence? Kuhl has steadily worked his innings up each year and is geared to 160+. Those two will lead the way into the Pirate Rotation after about 2 more starts apiece at most in AAA.
The Indy rotation has been talked about a lot in terms of how successful they have been. Taillon may have 60 IP but they are AAA starts and it’s not as stressful as pitching in the big leagues. Taillon will get called up right after Super Two passes and Kuhl may join him pretty quick, depending on how our current pitching staff is doing. Taillon’s load can be lightened in Pittsburgh by simply allowing him to pitch on a count that limits his innings. If the count is 80 pitches per start, he may only go 5 but then you have guys like Nicasio, Boscan and maybe Niese in the pen to get through at least 2 more.
I made a mistake – Taillon only has 49 IP right now. The Pirates will limit his innings the next two outings so that he gets to the Pirates with possibly 80+ innings left in 2016.
There’s no plan to limit his outings, and he’ll have more than 80+ innings remaining when he gets to the Pirates.
Hilltopper: I am curious with what the PBC pitching staff will look like on July 1st. You have to think that Taillon will be on site but will he be used every six days? Also if Kuhl comes on board where does he fit? I am also assuming Boscan will stay if he shows movement on his pitches as he did last night. I see Glasnow as a Sept. Call up. So who gets jettisoned from the current roster as these pieces are added? Another unknown is Bat Masterson, what if he does regain his past form?
Bill: 07/01 – #1 Cole, #2 Liriano, #3 Taillon, #4 Niese/Locke, #5 Kuhl, and you could very easily switch Kuhl to #4 and Niese/Locke to #5 . The BP becomes Melancon, Watson, Hughes, Nicasio, Caminero, Luebke, with guest appearances from Boscan, and either Niese/Locke, and I would not count out Stephen Brault.
I think that the success/failure of Taillon & Kuhl could have a major bearing on whether we see Tyler Glasnow at all in 2016. He needs to develop the change, and doing it at the MLB level is not the best approach. He is still simply overpowering hitters and needs to remember the lumps he took during ST. He has to be able to command 3 pitches in order to have a shot at being successful when called up.
If Brault stayed healthy I would say yes, but now he needs innings in AAA. Just like the guys ahead of him, time in AAA is very helpful. The Pirates learned from Polanco only having 200 AB’s in AAA. The Orioles should take some pointers from NH with their prospects.
Agree with this. I can see Glasnow in AAA the rest of the season.
Where is Feliz in your scenario?
I hope you don’t mind me taking a stab at this one because I like the question. 1st, it’s every 5 days but Taillon should be up shortly after Super Two(expected S2 date: June 10th). I would think the order in which the Pirates would move guys out of the rotation and what may happen to them is: Nicasio 1st – Bullpen. Niese – 2nd – Bullpen. Locke – 3rd – DFA’d. Boscan will be relief in Pittsburgh and at best the 6th or 7th SP as depth. Glasnow could extend all the way to September but he can still probably be better than Locke even now so all things being equal, Glasnow could be called up when Locke simply can’t get it done anymore. Masterson is simply depth in case the Pirates don’t feel like Glasnow is a better option and they want a veteran guy for #5 . The way I see it, for this year, the order of the Pirates starting rotation is: Cole, Liriano, Taillon, Locke, Kuhl and when Glasnow is ready, swap him for Locke.
Every once in a while I start reading a comment and think – gee – this guy is making sense – then he suggests DFAing Locke…
Irrational Locke bashing is a meme that just won’t die – he may be the starter with the second most trade value right – now after Cole earning just $3M and two more years of team control – a pretty good 4 or 5 starter for a lot of teams…
Locke is a better pitcher this year than Niese.
Eric What I was trying to allude to was they have a concern over Taillon’s innings count. So what I said start him on a six day schedule. Adjust your 4/5th starter to allow for using Taillon less.
Is Locke the same guy who is tied with Gerrit Cole for most Quality Starts on the team at 5? He has had 8 starts and in one of those starts he gave up 8 earned runs – in the other 7 starts he has a 3.54 ERA.
I agree he is hard to wrap your arms around, but he has a knack for winning. I think he is 27-27 since coming up to start the year in 2013.
The issue with binary stats like quality starts is they aren’t very sensitive, it is hit a threshold or not, Cole has a FIP 2.78, Locke of 5.05.
The problem with metrics like FIP is that it hides the fact that until his last outing Cole could not get into the seventh inning due to high pitch counts in most of his starts
So divide innings by games started.
Problem with Locke: he’s hard to watch. He’s one of the league leaders in walks so while the numbers may be pretty good, each start feels like a tooth extraction.
Exactly, and I have been known to swear at the TV a lot – that is why I now have a TV in my office so I can be separated from the regular humans.
I personally find Liriano a lot harder to watch – he is making over $12M a year and we are stuck with him for one more year…
emjay…agree with everything you said.
you mentioned Nicasio needs to develop a change-up. Have the Pirates been working on that with him?
He’s only thrown it 37 times this year, so it doesn’t look like it. Usually, players don’t develop pitches during the season.
I’ve heard Huntington several times state that pitchers won’t work on pitches in the majors, so probably not. And that’s another reason he leaves them in the minors to work on things. Rough quote “once they get here it’s really hard to get them to work on pitches”.
Would Glasnow be more suited for a long reliever this year? Maybe piggyback with someone? Then send him to the AFL or winterball to work more on the his change up and build up innings and have him come back next year as the number 4 starter?
If we don’t allow him to develop his change in the minors, all he is ever going to be is a reliever…..don’t you get that?
That’s a pretty low value role. He’d be better off getting some extra time in Triple-A, and maybe coming up later in the year, rather than a few weeks from now.
No. Stop trying to force things. You want him to be a starter? Then he should be starting.
Why would the Pirates want this to happen and why would you? Allow Glasnow to remain in AAA until he is 100% ready and doesn’t have to “learn” so much after being called up. It makes no sense to just throw him in the bullpen except maybe as a September call up but I think he will be up prior to that anyhow and in the rotation. People get so amped up about seeing a guy in the majors just because they know the name, they forget these guys are in the minors for a reason. Calm down, it will happen eventually.
Or maybe just let him develop instead of rushing him.