First Pitch: Top Stories This Week Included Glasnow, Hayes, and Injury Returns

Last week, we started a new feature on Sunday night, recapping all of the top prospect features from the previous week. We started this feature simply because we have too much content on the Pirates. We’ve posted 45 articles since the last version of this post went up, which is an average of just over six articles per day. For that reason, things easily get lost in the mix, and we never want that happening with the top stories.

Here are the top stories from this past week, with a lot of analysis on some of the top prospects in the system, along with some looks at a few guys who were ranked lower at the start of the year:

10. Luis Heredia is having success out of the bullpen this year, after looking like he completely lost any chance of being a prospect or making the majors coming into the year. His chances are still low, but he’s emerging as a potential middle relief option in the future. I wrote about why that’s the case, detailing a few changes he made to his style of pitching.

9. The Pirates went over-slot to sign Erich Weiss in the 11th round of the 2013 draft, and have been playing him at second base ever since. Their decision to go over-slot might be starting to pay off, as Weiss is off to a hot start in Altoona. Sean McCool details what is working for him this year.

8. Nick Kingham is returning from Tommy John surgery, and took the next step in his rehab on Friday, facing live hitters for the first time. I talked to Kingham after his outing, detailing his future progression in his rehab, and how things are going so far.

7. Stephen Tarpley will make his 2016 debut with Bradenton on Tuesday, after missing the start of the season with an oblique injury. The left-handed starter is one of the best pitching prospects at the level this year, and looks to carry over his success from West Virginia last season. I talked with Tarpley, previewing his season ahead of his first start.

6. Continuing with the injury updates to top prospects, Cole Tucker made his return on Sunday and went 1-for-4 with West Virginia. I’d expect him to be at the level until Kevin Newman gets promoted to Altoona. At that point, I think he moves up. Before he left for West Virginia, I talked with him about his rehab, and his impressively quick return from labrum surgery.

5. Brandon Waddell made his Double-A debut this week, and while it wasn’t as dominating as his outings in Bradenton, he did get off to a good start. As for those starts in Bradenton, I talked to Marauders manager Michael Ryan, who said that it looked like Waddell was bored in High-A, and needed a new challenge.

4. Speaking of Waddell, our monthly awards came out at the start of the week, with Waddell winning Pitcher of the Month award over some tough competition. He was also the Pitcher of the Month for the Florida State League. Josh Bell won our Player of the Month award, and I detailed how he’s doing much better from the right side this year, while also hitting for power.

3. Switching over to MLB coverage, we had two big features this week. James Santelli had a special feature on Jake Arrieta, looking at what led to Arrieta going from being a struggling prospect to one of the best pitchers in baseball, and how this all applies to the pitching prospects in Indianapolis. Ed Giles took a look at what was leading to the struggles from Jon Niese, going into detail with his pitches.

2. Ke’Bryan Hayes has been one of the better stories in the lower levels so far this year. I saw him over four games in West Virginia recently, and talked with him about his offensive success so far, and some of the changes he is working on with his swing in order to maintain consistency. I also looked at his baseball family, and how that helps him in his pro career.

1. Tyler Glasnow is going to be one of the biggest topics each week, especially if he continues pitching well. He did just that on Saturday, striking out 11 batters in seven shutout innings. Ryan Palencer was at the start, and broke down what was working for Glasnow, while also discussing his focus on the changeup and the running game.

If you aren’t a subscriber, then that means you missed all of these articles. Fix that now by subscribing to the site, and read up on all of the great analysis from last week.

  • Tim…the ONLY reason that you’re doing this recap is to show that you give us WAY more stuff than we deserve for the pittance we pay you. 🙂 🙂

    (I joke, but there is a lot of truth in what I wrote).

    Eddie H.

  • This recap of top prospect articles with connections is a great new feature. PP just keeps getting better, and I’m looking forward to you filling the major league opening.

  • Loved to see the Pirates bounce back in St Louis and to see them starting to change the lineup moving Gregory Polanco up to the No. 3 slot in the order behind ‘Cutch against RHP’s. I think the lineup would be strongest with either he & Harrison rotating at No. 2 and allowing ‘Cutch to go back to No. 3, but moving Polanco up and taking advantage of his hot start and growing power is a positive step. I wonder how much of his early season positioning in the lineup was a subtle negotiating ploy on the part of NH? If so, another great job.

    Taillon, Kuhl and Glasnow continued their strong pitching performances at AAA, and it would seem that the Pirate BP will get a lot stronger in about a month as guys like Nicasio and Locke become excess in the Rotation in favor of at least 2 guys from AAA – JT, TG, and/or CK. Locke flashing 95 at times as a SP make me wonder if there is more available in short bursts out of the BP.

    Yesterday’s outing from Vogelsong may signal the end for him with the Pirates, and especially if Luebke continues to do well at AAA.

    • I think bullpen issues need to resolved quickly. Not to change you topic but how filthy good are the Cubs playing right now? Baez was amazing in yesterday’s game. I really hope this team experiences gravity soon.

      • Scott Kliesen
        May 9, 2016 7:16 am

        Things are never as good or bad as they appear. Applies to Cubs, too.

        • Cubs are good….they may approach Mariner 110 win level?

          • In 30 games they have 4 shutouts, 6 games where they only gave up 1 run, another 8 where they gave up 2 runs, and 5 where they gave up 3 runs – 23 games at 3 runs or less – that is phenomenal baseball.

      • It’s like the Cubs and probably the Mets are playing at a different level and the Pirates just need to take care of business in their category which includes St Louis, SF, LA, Wash, and the D’backs. Miami and Philthy are playing well now, but reality will catch up with them.

        This is a transition year and they are doing better than expected, although nobody could have imagined the difficulties we have had so far in the BP. I think the Pirates took 40 games to start to get it together in 2015.

      • I agree with you Bill W. Bullpen continues to be a MAJOR concern. For the Cubs, you know gravity, it is a law and the Cubs must obey the law. LOL

      • Once TG and JT are up starting, we can move Nicasio back to the pen and get Niese out of the rotation (where he has given us one good start and taxed the bullpen in all the others).?

        Hopefully, Luebke will be more reliable than Lobstein?

        Time will tell.