BRADENTON, Fla. – This week saw Tyler Glasnow struggle with his command against the Dominican Republic World Baseball Classic team. That team is pretty much an All-Star team, but you’d still like to see Glasnow have better results in the command department.
I was very critical of Glasnow last year, saying that he wasn’t ready for the big leagues due to his command issues and lack of a changeup. He is working on fixing the command with some delivery adjustments this spring, and is also working on a new grip for his changeup, which helps more to bail him out from the control issues.
I’m much more encouraged by Glasnow’s progress and his chances to reach his upside at this point than I was last year. His development and approach this spring is a good thing to see. That said, I’m not sure he will be ready for the majors by Opening Day, as we’re seeing right now. There’s also no need to rush him, since there are other options currently in camp who could be just as good as Glasnow without the fixes.
There’s no question that Glasnow has a higher upside than Drew Hutchison, Steven Brault, or Trevor Williams. There’s even the chance that he could be better than Ivan Nova this year. But I do think he will need some time in Triple-A at the start of the year to get comfortable with the new mechanics and the changeup.
I think everyone would love for Glasnow to have his upside right away, but there needs to be a separation between what you hope to see from Glasnow, and what is actually realistic. The hope for what he could be is pretty much the same as last year. The good thing is that the realistic expectation has changed. He didn’t look like he would be ready at all last year, and didn’t have a great debut in his brief time in the majors. This year he looks like he could be ready — but maybe not right away.
A Need For Angel Pagan?
There was a rumor yesterday that the Pirates were one of many teams who made an offer for Angel Pagan. It’s not a surprise that teams are interested in him. He’s coming off a 2.1 fWAR year, and has posted a 1.4 fWAR or better in three of the last four years as a bench player. The Pirates don’t have a true fourth outfielder right now, instead relying on super utility players to fill that role.
Clint Hurdle said the team is fine with this approach, and that they have more prospect depth this year than ever, which led to fewer veteran NRIs and more prospects in camp. Between guys like Adam Frazier, Alen Hanson, Josh Harrison, and even minor league guys like Jose Osuna, the Pirates should have some good options for the outfield. They also have top prospect Austin Meadows waiting in the wings. But as we saw last year, it can’t hurt to have a veteran in the clubhouse who could still be productive.
The Pirates had a lot go wrong in 2016, but it could have been a lot worse if it wasn’t for the performances of Sean Rodriguez, David Freese, and Matt Joyce off the bench. They had that depth, and still had to turn to Adam Frazier for a good amount of at-bats.
Pagan would be a nice luxury, giving the Pirates some additional depth and experience, which is a nice thing to have. But the Pirates have enough depth that he wouldn’t be a need.
**Edwin Espinal had a walk-off home run yesterday, giving the Pirates a 4-1 win over the Rays. Espinal was over as a filler from minor league camp. He’s a guy who has a shot to make the majors one day, although a lot needs to go right, including applying his power more consistently in games. Espinal is a big guy, although not as big as he once was. When he entered the system, he was a third baseman who had the nickname “Tank”. He’s still a big guy, but has slimmed down, including over the last offseason. He now has the nickname “Papi”, and is a very popular player in the clubhouse. The McKechnie clubhouse was filled with bro hugs and “Hey Papi!” greetings when he came over from Pirate City yesterday morning, with most of the greetings coming from guys who played with him in the minors.
**Casey Sadler said that he expects to pitch in a game this weekend. That could come tomorrow afternoon.