BRADENTON, Fla. – By this point, I think I’ve covered almost everything involving Tyler Glasnow’s new changeup. There’s the fact that he has a new grip. Then there’s the complete history of the changeup, going into extreme detail on the pitch, and how he got to this point. I’ve written over 5,500 words on the subject in the last week, to the point where you might even start getting sick of hearing about it.
But there’s one thing I haven’t written about yet, and that’s the other side. Glasnow threw against live hitters for the second time today, going up against Josh Harrison and Gregory Polanco, among others. Polanco is left-handed and Harrison is right-handed, so I talked with both after practice, getting their opinion on what they saw from the pitch.
Gregory Polanco From the Left Side
Polanco had some issues with Glasnow, especially with the changeup. If you saw my Facebook Live video, Glasnow was getting some swings and misses against Polanco. I asked Polanco about the changeup, and he offered a lot of praise.
“The changeup was good today,” Polanco said. “I tried to hit it, no chance. He got me two times with the changeup. It’s pretty good. His fastball was moving too. It’s moving a lot. Hopefully he can get it better everyday before the season starts.”
Polanco did note that he picked up on the changeup once when Glasnow broke his hands out of his glove. He didn’t hit the pitch, but recognized it was coming that time, giving him an early advantage. He said that Glasnow was moving pretty quick though, and he didn’t see the upcoming pitch other times.
The action of the pitch was working as it should, in terms of breaking at the right time and looking like a fastball.
“It was breaking at the right time. I saw all fastball, then no, changeup. It was pretty good. He got me pretty good,” Polanco said. “When you see arm speed, his release, it was like the fastball. He did the same thing with the fastball and the changeup.”
Those are all encouraging signs, especially since the key goal of the changeup is to assist against left-handers.
Josh Harrison From the Right Side
Harrison didn’t see as many changeups as Polanco, since he hits from the right side. He watched Glasnow from behind the cage, and noticed he was showing his grip when he broke the ball from his glove.
“We talked to him a little bit about it, but as far as the ball coming out of his hand, it’s coming out nice,” Harrison said. “Whatever he worked on this offseason, slowing down a little bit, I think worked for him. He was in a spot to where I could tell he had an idea of what he wanted to do with everything he threw. That’s always encouraging, especially from a young guy. You know the potential that he has, but just coming in, taking it step by step and just being slow, you could tell that whatever he worked on, you could tell it was a big difference. He’s got a good idea of what he wants to do.”
Harrison was actually able to help Glasnow with another pitch, his curveball. Glasnow was “babying the curve” according to Harrison — slowing down his delivery to try and place it perfectly, which was tipping the pitch.
“You can throw a curveball down and away, but if you slow down and a guy sees it, he’ll hit it,” Harrison said. “If you throw a curveball and it looks like a fastball, you might throw one that is good to be hit, but if it looks like a fastball, that’s what pitchers do. It’s not a matter of trying to have that perfect placement. Obviously they want to locate the ball, but at the end of the day, you want to make your pitches come out of the hand looking the same. Hitters at this level are pretty advanced, and they pick up on things.”
Harrison said that all three pitches were coming out looking like a fastball, which is a good sign.
I talked with Glasnow after talking with the hitters, and got some input on the feedback they gave him. The issue with tipping the pitch from breaking his hands early comes from his slide step.
“I have a new slide step. I feel really comfortable with it,” Glasnow said. “I’m breaking with my hands earlier, because with the slide step I have to. I just need to bring it in closer to my body and hide it. It’s an easy adjustment. Takes no time to fix.”
As for the advice he received, Glasnow was really open to hearing what the opposing hitters had to say.
“It’s good to have guys like that, teammates to let me know. This is what Spring Training is for, making those adjustments, and then fixing them before the season starts.”
Clint Hurdle also discussed how the Pirates now have an atmosphere where hitters and pitchers are having conversations to help each other out, and seeking out that input. He noted that Jameson Taillon was seeking that out specifically today.
“There’s been some very direct conversation,” Hurdle said. “There’s been some comments in the past that are made around the cages, and I just say ‘Talk to him. Not going to help me.’ The conversations have started. Actually, even Taillon made the comment that he just wanted to get out there today, whatever they put down he wanted to throw because he wanted some direct feedback from the guy that would face him. I think it shows some growth, some maturation. It’s information.”
There are some positive signs on Glasnow’s changeup from the reaction and results he got early against hitters. He does have some things to work on, obviously with the biggest thing being disguising his pitches. He’ll also need to show consistency with the changeup from outing to outing, and show the same results in games. But right now, this is just more encouragement from the new pitch.
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