The Pirates Prospects 2017 Prospect Guide is now available for pre-sales. The book will be released the week before Spring Training, and we are currently in the process of making the final changes with editing and formatting.

The book features prospect reports on everyone in the system, the 2017 top 50 prospects, and the most comprehensive coverage of the Pirates’ farm system that you can find. Subscribers to the site get discounted books, with Top Prospect subscribers getting $10 off, and Annual subscribers getting $5 off. The eBook will be released when the book is released, and will also come with discounts. Details on the promotions can be found on the products page, and you can subscribe to the site or upgrade your current plan on the subscriptions page.

While the top 50 prospects are exclusive to the book, we will be releasing the top 20 prospects over the next few weeks as a countdown to the start of Spring Training, and to give a preview of the release of the book. We will be wrapping up on Monday, February 13th. The reports will only be available to site subscribers, including those with a monthly plan. You can subscribe here, and if you like these reports, be sure to purchase your copy of the book on the products page of the site to get much more analysis on every player in the system.

To recap the countdown so far:

20. Alen Hanson, 2B

19. Luis Escobar, RHP

18. Edgar Santana, RHP

17. Elias Diaz, C

16. Max Kranick, RHP

15. Trevor Williams, RHP

14. Braeden Ogle, LHP

13. Clay Holmes, RHP

12. Steven Brault, LHP

11. Nick Kingham, RHP

10. Gage Hinsz, RHP

9. Taylor Hearn, LHP

8. Will Craig, 3B

7. Ke’Bryan Hayes, 3B

6. Cole Tucker, SS

5. Kevin Newman, SS

4. Josh Bell, 1B

We continue the countdown with the number 3 prospect, Tyler Glasnow.

3. Tyler Glasnow, RHP

The Pirates were expecting Glasnow to come up and help the rotation in the second half of 2016, to the point where they let his potential arrival impact their offseason plan. That didn’t work out, as Glasnow had a difficult year where he didn’t trust his changeup, had continued control issues with his fastball, and saw poor command of his curveball. He only ended up pitching 23.1 MLB innings, most at the end of the season.

Glasnow still has the highest ceiling of any pitcher in the system, and arguably one of the highest ceilings of any pitcher in baseball. The 2016 season raised some concerns about how close he could actually get to that ceiling. He’s far from being a bust, and still projects to be a very good MLB starter, but it might be difficult for him to reach that high ceiling with all of his current issues.

There is some hope that he is headed in the right direction. Glasnow worked at the end of the year on shortening his stride a bit, which he feels will help get his command back, especially with the curve. He’s throwing the changeup more in flat grounds, but it remains to be seen how he will use it in games. He also is adding a two-seamer, which he threw before in high school. That should help him when the fastball and curveball aren’t working, since this year shows he sorely needs a third pitch.

Glasnow will get another shot at Pittsburgh in 2017, although he might have to spend some time in Triple-A to show he’s made improvements. He could still end up an impact starter, with number three upside or better. We’ve got him as a strong #3, but his ceiling is still around a 7.5, which is just shy of being an elite talent. The changes he makes going forward will determine how close he actually gets to that ceiling.

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  1. From a Pgh paper this morn….I sure hope Ray is right!!!

    ***Take Glasnow, for example, ranked by Baseball America as the Pirates’ No. 3 prospect. The kid looked a little rattled in the majors last season, a bit unprepared, but his stuff is golden. Searage has this vision for Glasnow that something is going to click this spring, and he’ll settle in.

    “I think maybe about halfway through [camp], you guys are going to be going, ‘Holy Schnikes! What the …’ ” Searage said. “That’s all he’s got to do. No matter what happens, turn the page and work on the next hitter. That’s one of the biggest things with him, the maturity level.”

    • just read the article too…………
      That makes four members of the organization touting him for a contribution this year and that can’t be a coincidence.

      • I think the only people really down on him are fans who expected him to come to the big leagues and dominate. I think we did a great job here last year trying to lower those expectations. Some chose to believe what we saw, some didn’t and found out by finally seeing him.

        The problem with lowering future expectations based on his MLB debut is it ignores everything leading up to that debut, including the fact he is just 23 years old. Some people see him dropping to #3 in the system and don’t realize that going by BA, who also has him ranked 3rd in the system, he would still be the top prospect for 13 teams.

        It’s entirely possible he never dominates in the majors, but that has always been a possibility.

        • Well said.
          He was unhittable in AAA, and BA rates both his FB and curve very high…………….very few pitching prospects come with tools rated as high as his.
          Let’s hope he finds whatever it takes to make him the pitcher he can be.

        • I feel that seeing Reyes come up and dominate for Stl helped fuel the feeling that Glasnow “is a bust.” Still I like the coverage that you have all done on him and look forward to seeing how he does this year.

  2. Four-seamer, two -seamer, curve could be solid enough to gain confidence. Stop obsessing over the change up at this point… Bruce suggests.
    In the last few days I’ve heard interviews with Taillon, Hurtle and Huntington in which Glasnow came up as a topic. All were extremely high on his ability and future.
    The most encouraging (and unexpected) part was that H and H both indicated Glasnow was so dominant in AAA that nothing more was to be gained there. Hurdle, in particular, gushed on about how Glasnow needs to experience success, failure and growth in the majors.
    The impression I got was that the organization believes he is ready step up, and is going public with that view. Maybe its all part of the overall plan…….to instill confidence in him.

  3. I have suspected the “third pitch” crap was doing him more harm than good…

    Rich Hill throws two pitches 90% of the time – lots of curve balls.

    The other 10% are mostly sliders with a few change ups…

    Would he be better served by focusing on getting fast balls and curve balls over for strikes rather than trying to throw a third pitch that he will use once or twice an inning?

    I ain’t no expert – but my gut says get guys out with your best pitches

    • Agreed. I would add the mechanical change referenced in article is partially designed to help him regain the couple mph he seemed to have lost on his FB last season, too. Regaining the ability to throw 98 will help make his 90 mph change play much better.

      If his control is good enough to be effectively wild, it would make him even tougher to hit. Batters can’t get settled when a guy 6’8″ can throw 98 with marginal control.

    • I’ve been saying the same thing, plus I hope he improves drastically on holding runners, but AJ threw basically 2 pitches, didn’t hold anyone on & his career wasn’t to bad.

    • It’s not impossible to succeed in the bigs with only two pitches, but it makes things more of a challenge. In the case of Rich Hill, he still at least has the threat of a third pitch and thus gives the batter one more thing to think about. I’m far from an expert in player development, but you might be on to something here: refine the two pitches he already has a feel for & worry about the change later? Could work. Then again, that’s pretty much what happened last season as he mostly abandoned the changeup anyhow.

  4. Glasnow has too much stuff to not succeed. I think last year’s performance in MLB will serve hime well and his drive to be the best will force improvement. Remembering the game vs. the Cardinals when he was helpless on the mound with no command and everyone stealing bags? I think that helped him realize that the last thing in the world he wants is to go through that experience again. He’s not done improving. Future CY IMO.

  5. Looking forward to the improvements made in the off season. Hoping this will be Glasnow’s breakout year. Spring training can’t come soon enough.

  6. The other pitches that I know that help against LH hitters for, a RH pitcher are a cutter and splitter. If someone was to learn one of the three (change been the third) which one is the most difficult and which one is the most dangerous (TJ)?

    • Not sure of there is a consensus in baseball, but to me it seems like the Cutter is more difficult for the average guy to develop. There is on the other hand a strong consensus the Splitter is a Tommy John pitch, they won’t teach it to young pitchers.

  7. BA’s Top 100 Grades

    6. Austin Meadows of, Pirates

    Hit: 60. Power: 60. Speed: 60. Fielding: 60. Arm: 55. ETA: 2017.

    22. Mitch Keller rhp, Pirates
    Fastball: 70. Curveball: 55. Changeup: 50. Control: 60. ETA: 2019.

    23. Tyler Glasnow rhp, Pirates

    Fastball: 70. Curveball: 60. Changeup: 45. Control: 45. ETA: 2017.

    35. Josh Bell 1b, Pirates

    Hit: 55. Power: 55. Speed: 40. Fielding: 30. Arm: 60. ETA: 2017.

    55. Kevin Newman ss, Pirates

    Hit: 60. Power: 40. Speed: 55. Fielding: 50. Arm: 50. ETA: 2018.


        • In the article accompanying the BA ratings they talked about the plus FB and Curve and then out of nowhere is the quote “changeup showing signs of being a third plus weapon.” Since he used that pitch very sparingly or not at all, I cannot figure out where the writer got the input.

          TG may be one of those guys who does not develop an above average 3rd pitch until he gets to the majors, and it becomes an absolute necessity. If he gains better Command of the FB and Curve, he can be effective.

          Michael Fulmer of Detroit relied mostly on his FB and CB until changing from the CB to a Slider in 2014. He had a changeup, but never threw it because he lacked confidence in the pitch. When he got to Detroit from the Mets his pitching coach and Catcher sat him down and told him he had to start throwing the changeup – now he has confidence enough to throw it 17% of the time in 2016. Nice article in fangraphs.

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