Morning Report: New Top 50 Prospects List and Thoughts on Tyler Glasnow

Keith Law posted his updated top 50 prospects list on Thursday morning. Usually we post an article for those, but he an interesting decision for his list, which I didn’t have explanation for, so I’m posting it here instead.

Law had Mitch Keller ranked 10th overall and Kevin Newman ranked 44th, and that was it for the Pirates. I wasn’t sure if he just left Austin Meadows off because he was currently injured or did he really think he wasn’t a top 50 prospect? He answered it later in his chat and it was a little bit of both, with injuries over the years piling up, he knocked him from #8 in early April to off the top 50.

I’m not sure how many people you could find who think Newman is a better prospect than Meadows, but it’s his list, so he can do whatever he wants on it. Keller is up two spots from the April list and Newman dropped 18 spots.

Baseball America had their updated top 100 prospects list last week and they had Keller 15th, Meadows 22nd and Newman 87th. Baseball Prospectus did an updated top 50 and they went with Keller 17th and Meadows 21st.

MLB Pipeline has a bunch of updates coming up soon. Before the July 31st trade deadline, they plan to update their top 100, the top 30 for each team and the top ten for each position. So expect a few articles when those come out.

* Tyler Glasnow makes his sixth start tonight for Indianapolis. Many people asked when he was sent down, how long would he have to stay down to get an extra year of service time. That was obviously not the reason he was sent down, but I don’t think anyone who watched him pitch in the majors thought it was the goal back in June either. He’s been down for a little while, so it is something we can look at now just for reference.

Glasnow picked up 66 days of service time last year, partially helped by his trip to the disabled list while in the majors. He picked up another 69 days this year from April 2nd to June 9th. A full year of service time is 172 days, which means he reaches it with 37 more days.

That means that if he was called back up on August 27th, he would fall one day short of one full year and the Pirates would still have six years of control. As I said, that wasn’t the goal and he could definitely pitch his way back sooner, but it wouldn’t exactly be the worst thing for the Pirates if he keeps improving and they get an extra year out of him. It also wouldn’t be a bad idea because if they need a starter, Steven Brault is the most deserving and ready option right now. Since Glasnow is starting tonight and then wouldn’t be available for five days (same schedule as Gerrit Cole too), you’re really talking about five more weeks of starts in Indianapolis for this to happen. Just something to think about.


The Pirates were off yesterday.


Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates have been on the All-Star break since Sunday. They open a series at home against the St Louis Cardinals tonight. Gerrit Cole will be on the mound for the series opener. He is making his 19th start. Cole has a 4.41 ERA at home in eight starts. He has faced the Cardinals twice this season, allowing three runs over 12 innings. The Cardinals will counter with right-hander Mike Leake, who has a 3.12 ERA in 109.2 innings, with 74 strikeouts and a 1.15 WHIP.

In the minors, Tyler Glasnow makes his sixth start for Indianapolis. He has struck out at least seven batters in every outing and allowed two or fewer runs each start. Pedro Vasquez starts for Bradenton. He ranks sixth in the Florida State League with a 2.52 ERA and his 1.13 WHIP is ninth in the league. Eduardo Vera has allowed four earned runs over 24 innings in his last four starts combined.

I have given up on Morgantown because they have no clue who is starting for them apparently. It says Scooter Hightower, but he was also supposed to start two days ago. It could also be Stephan Meyer, who was listed for yesterday, or just some random third person like what happened on Tuesday when they whiffed on both guesses. Bristol will go with Travis MacGregor tonight and the GCL Pirates should be Shane Baz making his third start, which should be three innings.

MLB: Pittsburgh (42-47) vs Cardinals (43-45) 7:05 PM
Probable starter: Gerrit Cole (4.43 ERA, 27:94 BB/SO, 107.2 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (51-39) vs Louisville (35-55) 7:15 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Tyler Glasnow (1.84 ERA, 15:49 BB/SO, 29.1 IP)

AA: Altoona (46-42) vs Bowie (48-42) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Austin Coley (3.12 ERA, 20:67 BB/SO, 86.2 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (49-37) @ Clearwater (48-41) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Pedro Vasquez (2.52 ERA, 18:69 BB/SO, 89.1 IP)

Low-A: West Virginia (38-48) vs Augusta (33-53) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Eduardo Vera (2.76 ERA, 8:62 BB/SO, 71.2 IP)

Short-Season A: Morgantown (14-9) vs Staten Island (17-6) 7:05 PM  (season preview)
Probable Starter: TBD

Rookie: Bristol (7-14) @ Johnson City (8-13) 7:00 PM

GCL: Pirates (5-11) vs Yankees East (9-4) 12:00 PM

DSL: Pirates (20-15) vs Rangers1 (22-13) 10:30 AM  (season preview)


Here are two highlights from Bligh Madris, who seems to be a very popular subject for the Morgantown highlight man. This is the second time we are featuring two highlights for Madris.  Nothing against Madris mind you, but he has .670 OPS and there are as many highlights of him as everyone else on the team combined.

Clip #2


7/13: Dany Hernandez promoted to Bristol. Will Reed assigned to GCL Pirates from Bristol.

7/13: Pasquale Mazzoccoli promoted to West Virginia.

7/12: Luis Escobar activated from temporary inactive list. Nick King assigned to Morgantown.

7/11: Hector Garcia assigned to GCL Pirates on rehab.

7/10: Starling Marte assigned to Bradenton on rehab.

7/8: Antonio Bastardo designated for assignment. Phil Gosselin recalled from Indianapolis.

7/8: Dan Runzler activated from disabled list. Justin Maffei assigned to Altoona from Indianapolis.

7/8: Luis Escobar placed on temporary inactive list. Nick King assigned to West Virginia.

7/8: Cody Dickson placed on disabled list.

7/6: Pirates recall A.J. Schugel. Elias Diaz optioned to Indianapolis

7/6: Gift Ngoepe activated from disabled list.

7/6: Pirates release Jared Lakind

7/5: Hunter Owen assigned to West Virginia. Nick King assigned to Morgantown.

7/5: Adonis Pichardo assigned to Bristol from GCL Pirates.


Six former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, including one of the better pitchers from the early years of the Pirates. Jesse Tannehill pitched for Pittsburgh from 1897 until 1902, starring on the first two teams in franchise history to finish first in the National League. Tannehill was a star during his day, going 197-117 in his career and 116-58 during his time with the Pirates. No one in team history with more than 650 innings, has a better winning percentage. From 1898 until 1902, he won at least 20 games in all but one season. That one year he didn’t, he won 18 games and led the NL with a 2.18 ERA. One interesting note about his career can be found on Baseball-Reference, where they list the most comparable players. For Tannehill, the top five are: The other three pitchers in the 1902 rotation, Sam Leever, Deacon Phillippe and Jack Chesbro, plus Babe Adams and Ed Morris, who both made their name with the Pirates.

As for the other five former players, we have third baseman Jose Hernandez (2003, 06), pitcher Earl Francis (1960-64), pitcher Bob Purkey (1954-57, 1966), utility fielder Jack Farmer (1916) and 1913-15 pitcher Joe Conzelman. More on them can be found in the link above.

Also in the above link, there is a recap of a wild game between the Pirates and Cincinnati Reds from the 1974 season that turned the year around for Pittsburgh. They were 12 games under .500 going into the game and went 51-25 the rest of the way. You can find the boxscore here.

  • I just talked to Keith Law at an appearance promoting his book. I asked him about dropping Austin Meadows and he bluntly said he’s “just not good.” He said that his AAA numbers are very concerning and that the Pirates would be smart to not bank on him being a solid replacement for Cutch.

  • There’s no doubt (to me at least) that persistent hamstring issues will sap Meadows speed – which takes away a major tool and impacts his value in the field and on the bases. Combined with his average arm, he would project best now in RF at PNC Park.
    This increases the need for his hit and power tools to carry his value – and the power isn’t there yet.

    I could see that dropping him to the 30-70 range with the lower adding in the risk that he won’t be able to stay healthy enough to stay on the field making him a platoon OFer.

  • If glasnow ever turns it around he will be easier to sign long-term

  • John … I meant to ask this yesterday but who was the player to be named later for Ludwick?

    Also, your title made me think this was the mid-year update!

  • I agree with your thoughts on Glasnow. Right now the rotation is fine as is. If someone gets injured or Williams has a few bad outings in a row, then Brault has earned the next opportunity. After Brault I’d go with Hutchison because he’s out of options after this year and we might as well find out if he can be useful moving forward.

    The only way I’d call Glasnow up before September is if they get in contention and feel like Glasnow can make a difference in the bullpen. But for them to get into contention, things will probably be okay in the pen.

    • The Pirates stand to lose several starting pitchers due to being out of options. I wonder if they’ll just let Hutch go, given his salary and options.

  • For Meadows – I think a change of attitude might help some too. See this quote from April (doesn’t seem like an optimal approach to swing plane) – ““A downward angle on the ball to generate backspin has always been my philosophy,” Meadows told me prior to a recent game. “That’s what I learned, and it’s what I’ve stuck with. It’s got me to where I am today.””

  • I have no doubt Pirates will take service time into consideration when contemplating when to promote Glasnow. As they should if they believe he will eventually become the Pitcher he has been projected to be.

    As for Meadows dropping off Law’s list, I’m not surprised in the least. The simple truth is he hasn’t had the results expected from him as of yet. Still time to turn it around. And I highly doubt he has forgotten how to swing the bat. Just needs to get healthy and stay that way.

    • John Dreker
      July 14, 2017 9:15 am

      Law’s last list came out in April after the season already started and that was the worst time for Meadows. He even noted that in his April write-up for him, how bad his start was this year. So if he was still fine with him at #8 then, it’s hard to believe he is out of the top 50 now. There is a huge difference between the #8 prospect in baseball and #50. That’s why I found it hard to believe and didn’t write an article about it yesterday. Was waiting to see if he gave a better explanation. Also the fact that Newman was on the list, made it harder to believe, even though I know Law is his biggest fan.

      • Darkstone42
        July 14, 2017 9:31 am

        “…even thought I know Law is his biggest fan.”

        Excuse you.

      • Scott Kliesen
        July 14, 2017 9:37 am

        Law definitely has a bromance going with Newman.

      • Law said this: Trouble staying healthy and hasn’t performed at all in AAA.

        Meadows had a better month in May which I’m sure Law knows about so my guess is it’s more about how he’s now really doubtful that Meadows will ever stay healthy? Uselton’s injury worries me too because hamstring injuries are notorious for their high recurrence rates.

        • But a shortstop that TJ surgery and is out for the season held at number two?
          Meadows hasn’t been great at AAA, but he hasn’t embarrassed himself either and he’s young for the league.

          • Law didn’t rank Reyes in top 50 because of TJ. Much lower risk for position players to go through TJ than pitchers. And Torres hit much better than Meadows in AAA albeit small sample. So yeah, he’ll be ranked higher than Meadows.

            I’m somewhat optimistic that Meadows will hit but those recurring hamstring injuries are becoming serious problem. And that’s what I wrote – I think Law worries more about his ability to stay healthy than the ability to hit.

    • I agree with leaving Glasnow down until September. He had a major opportunity handed to him in April that, to be quite honest, he didn’t earn.
      Brault gets the first call no matter what. Then I would consider:
      1. Kingham (if he settles down over his next few starts, we need to get him up on the team to see if he is a legit option for 2018 – I believe. He doesn’t have any options left…)
      2. Hutch (one final chance before releasing him)
      3. Glasnow (no reason to bring him up if he hasn’t addressed his control issues)

  • Bill Harvey
    July 14, 2017 8:55 am

    Glasnow is STILL walking 4.5 batters per 9 innings. Unless and until he corrects that, he is nothing more than a RP. So as far as I am concerned, he can stay at Indy for the rest of the season.

    As for Law’s list, I’m not sure why he still has Newman in his top 50 either, that is weird. Other than that, pretty accurate if you ask me.

    • ScottinMass
      July 14, 2017 9:09 am

      Yes, the BB’s are high, but does it matter if the results are there? Aren’t we after results, not stats? I would rather him have some these AAA starts (6 IP, 3 BB’s, 10K’s, 1 ER) when he comes back, than use him for 1 or 2 innings as a reliever. If he did that when he was up, he wouldn’t have been sent down regardless of the walks. His issue is fastball command and trusting his ability to throw 96-99 at the MLB level. If he does, he’ll be good, and I won’t care if the BB’s are high and he throws 100 pitches thru 6.

      • John Dreker
        July 14, 2017 9:22 am

        It does matter, because what works in Triple-A, doesn’t always work against MLB hitters. His stats were great last year, but a lot of it was Triple-A hitters getting themselves out. He is better now than he was last year at Indy just because the control is better. It apparently helps him to go without a windup all of the time because this is the best I’ve seen from him.

      • Bill Harvey
        July 14, 2017 4:09 pm

        But this is exactly what he did when he was in the minors before. He is doing it again. He is the same pitcher as he was, except he throws a bad change-up now. If/when he comes back up, I expect him to be bad.

    • I think he’ll be a September call up and get a start or two, maybe more, especially if Pirates are just playing out the string.

      I’m sure Pirates would love to see him have success at ML level to build confidence going into next Spring.

  • Last Day. Results on Monday!

    P2 ASB Prospect survey

    • Bill Harvey
      July 14, 2017 8:53 am

      I took your survey foo. Could have warned me that it is 10 questions broken down into 30 parts.

  • Haha. Is Madris extra clutch compared to other players?

  • I would be interested in what Tim and Wilbur think about Glasnow at this point. An extra year of control of a late bloomer would not be a bad idea. Some seem to have given up on him but I think his struggles could be expected.

    • Wilbur Miller
      July 14, 2017 9:41 am

      Personally, I think Brault should get the next shot. Barring injury, that’d probably push Glasnow to Sept anyway. He’d be the second guy up, for me, whenever a need arose. I just don’t think Hutchison is a ML pitcher.

      • Thanks!

      • Agreed on all points. With all the SP the Pirates have who will no longer have options when the season is done, is there anyone to add to the 40 man.

  • Wilbur Miller
    July 14, 2017 8:10 am

    Mazzoccoli promoted . . . hmmm. I was impressed by what I saw from him last weekend. I guess it wasn’t just me.