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.

The Adjustment

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.

**The 2017 Prospect Guide is now available in both paperback and eBook form. Top Prospect and Annual subscribers get discounts. Check out the products page for more info.

**Nutting: “We need to have a commitment never to back away on the amateur draft again”. The owner discusses the increased budgets for the amateur markets, and how the Pirates will approach that while also spending near $100 M in the majors.

**Bob Nutting Discusses Kang, McCutchen, 2016 Struggles, 2017 Expectations, and More. The rest of the key topics from Nutting’s chat with the media.

**Josh Bell Returns to Full Practice, While Francisco Cervelli Makes Progress. Good signs from Bell today, and Cervelli continues to progress.

**Full Spring Training Television Schedule from MLB Network and ROOT Sports. A listing of every time the Pirates will be on TV this spring.

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  1. Hearing about whiffs might be good for Glasnow, but it’s disheartening if we’re worried about Polanco! Such is the dilemma of inter squad games.

  2. Tim’s pinpoint coverage isn’t just showing us the evolution of Glasnow, it’s showing us the evolution of this organization.

    We now have a mechanical change, new pitch grip, and overhauled running game since Glasnow was promoted less than nine months ago, which all begs the question of what the hell were they doing with him in AAA for the last year and a half?

    Correlated with Glasnow’s time in developmental purgatory was the loss of Jim Benedict and now the ascension of the Mitchel/Meccage duo to replace him. Maybe it’s premature, but I’m sold. They’ve filled Benedict’s loss, and have their top pitching prospect back on track.

    Now I wonder when Meccage will begin teaching Glasnow to throw like a motherf*cker? That’s how development works, right?

    • I disagree that Dean Treanor was the reason for Glasnow’s wasted year, I agree the reason was that there was still a void left by Benedict that Meccage and Mitchell hadn’t filled yet. But the blame is on the FO for not filling the void faster, not Treanor for failing in what shouldn’t have been his job.

      Dean wasn’t supposed to be fine tuning a pitcher like Glasnow it wasn’t his job to focus solely on one guy. His job was to manage the Indians and assist in the development of all of the top prospects.

      I don’t think Hurdle worked with Volquez or Liriano directly, Searage and Benedict were the guys who helped them fix their mechanics.

      Treanor as manager was supposed to develop a healthy competitive mentality in the clubhouse and send reports to the FO and play whoever the FO says to play.

      If we’re passing around blame I think the only thing that can be laid at Treanor’s feet is his failure to identify the problem with Glasnow’s running game which is something he should’ve easily spotted. Besides that though I think the poor pitching development staff in the minors is at fault for Glasnow’s wasted year of development which is the FO’s fault but even then like you said I think Meccage and Mitchell are filling that void effectively.

      • “Treanor as manager was supposed to develop a healthy competitive mentality in the clubhouse…”

        When the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

      • Bendict, Treanor, Mitchell & particularly Mecciage, knew when Glasnow was in Altoona he had no clue as to controlling the running game. That wasn’t something they were concerned about even when he got to Indianapolis. Control and command were their priorities.

    • It wasn’t just Glasnow. Brault and Kuhl suffered some problems with their usually pinpoint command. It seemed like when a guy’s mechanics got a little off, they were powerless to suss it out last year. Fortunately, Taillon’s are so sharp and consistent, that never happened with him.

      Fingers crossed the organization filling the Benedict void will not only help Glasnow, but also Brault and Kuhl reclaim their best skill, and get Hutchison back on the track he looked to be on when he debuted in the Majors three or four years ago (much too early).

  3. Thanks Tim. My talent level took me to one year of Pony Leagues, so what do I know? However, from the pictures you posted it did look like Glasnow was telegraphing the change-up grip when the ball came out of his glove.

    • The thing about my pictures though is that I’m standing on the side. That means a runner with a really big lead off of third base would get a good look, but the batter wouldn’t get that same look. The pictures are going to be extreme, taken at that angle so that they can show the grips.

      • Enough about this article, although very good. I just got my PP guide……Woo-woo. Now i can refresh my bathroom magazine rack. Now, that’s good news.

  4. queue up the comments of the Pirates won’t be able to hit and Polanco is a bust in 3…2….1….
    I can’t wait for the season to start, lots of fun storylines to watch this season. I think the Cards are about done, the Cubs come back down to earth (but still probably win the division) and the Bucs take another Wildcard then who knows what happens.

    • Polanco still has a lot of potential he needs to reach. Right now, his last two years of OPS+, is 92 and 107. Let’s hope the ascension continues.

      • I think it’s more staying healthy, he had a 128 wRC+ for the first half of 2016 and a 80 wRC+ in the second half after dealing with those nagging hamstring issues. We just need him to keep him in bubble wrap and we’ll be fine.

  5. Great article Tim. This is very exciting and encouraging. I’m still being cautiously optimistic about this season and if Glasnow can win a spot in the rotation out of spring training then that’ll be huge.

    • I totally agree; if it’s below average we have have a #5 starter, if he gets it to League average or better we have a middle of the rotation starter, and if he gets some control to go along with the changeup we have a really special pitcher on our hands.

  6. I was just glad to hear that tipping of the change-up only seemed to occur when he was using a slide step delivery, which I am not sure he ever used at the MLB level, and only used it very rarely in AAA. A total shift in his approach to becoming quicker to the plate from the stretch?

  7. Awesome coverage guys.
    I don’t particularly like hearing that Polanco is missing any pitches but good for Tyler. Really hoping for the big jump this year from both!

    • Really nice coverage, particularly with info from hitters.

      TG appears to have stepped up, mentally and physically. You would think he’s headed for a big season… the major league level. Good for him!

  8. Very encouraging to hear he was inducing swings and misses from Polanco. Can’t wait to see him make Votto, Carpenter, and Rizzo look foolish with his new toy.

    The season is looking more promising all the time.

  9. That’s pretty cool to hear this type of thing from Spring Training. I don’t know if I’ve ever heard reports of guys giving each other advice. Ice always assumed is happened but never heard it like this. Good stuff Tim.

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