Yesterday’s Morning Report was about the improvements we have seen in the last two starts from Nick Kingham. It was also about where he stands for next year. Tyler Glasnow pitched brilliantly on Sunday and he also has a good reason to talk about his current minor league status.
I’ve watched all of Glasnow’s Triple-A starts, this year and last year (only missed one of the eight in 2015). He clearly has a different mentality on the mound now than he did last year. He is also clearly a better pitcher than what we saw in Pittsburgh this year, and that could be due to his better mentality. There is also the fact that he ditched the windup throughout the entire game, so that in itself makes his time in Indianapolis different.
What we are seeing from him since he was sent down in early June is someone who attacks hitters. His velocity is the best we have seen from him, hitting 100 multiple times and 99 MPH has been a regular guest on the radar gun. It’s not just in Indianapolis, other parks have the same numbers. He hit 99 a few times last year during the season, but he’s now hitting it more per game than he did all of last year. When his velocity drops later in starts, it’s now in the 94-97 range, instead of 92-94 we saw late in games last year. Part of that could just be him throwing more strikes, so he isn’t having as many strenuous pitches throughout the game due to long innings. In fact, longer innings are rarely showing up anymore, when they would happen 2-3 times a game last year.
The fastball isn’t just faster, it’s around the plate more. He was all over the place last year in Triple-A, often getting help from impatient hitters, which wasn’t happening when he went to the majors. Now he is blowing fastballs by batters in the zone, instead of them chasing the pitches. His curve is being thrown more often for strikes and he is using his changeup effectively. In yesterday’s game, the pitch was getting a swinging strike in the zone almost every time. He kept catchers very busy blocking pitches last year, but that isn’t happening this time around. Of course there are some wild pitches here and there, but it’s a huge difference.
You’re not seeing or reading about the same Glasnow as last year. We were critical of him because he had high standards as the top prospect back then and he wasn’t living up to them. The results were there, but it wasn’t pitching that could carry over into the majors. What he is doing now is something that could carry over to Major League success. The big issue is just figuring out if he’s going to keep that same attack mode once he gets to the majors. Trusting his stuff all of the time is key, even though it will get hit sometimes because he is facing the best hitters in baseball. Can he carry this stronger mentality over to Pittsburgh? That is something we will find out once he comes back up.
That brings up the big point and it’s something I mentioned before. With Glasnow starting last night and Indianapolis off today, he next scheduled start is Saturday. That is 22 days before the Pirates could pick up an extra year of service time by leaving him in the minors. If he is turned around, or at least to the point where you will get more good than bad, it would be nice to have him for the next six years instead of five years.
So the question now is, do the Pirates see if he is ready at this point, which he really looks like deserves a shot now…or do you let him make another four (or more) starts for Indianapolis and then bring him up? Indianapolis could make the playoffs, so while that’s a far cry from the majors, Glasnow has had some of his worst minor league outings during playoff games over the years. That would actually be a good test for him, to see if he can conquer those ghosts of playoffs past.
** A couple current Pirates broke ties on the all-time team lists on Sunday with some semi-recent Pirates. Andrew McCutchen was tied with Jason Kendall for 16th place in hits with 1,409 each. He hit three homers yesterday, as I’m sure you all know. Next up for McCutchen is Bill Virdon at 1,431 hits…and yes I’m assuming today isn’t his last day with the club. McCutchen is just four games played behind Manny Sanguillen for 16th place. He’s also one extra-base hit behind Dave Parker (524) for the seventh most in team history.
The other tie going into yesterday was Gerrit Cole, who was tied with Bob Walk for 22nd place in strikeouts with 650 each. Cole struck out eight batters, putting him one behind the man who was traded away at this time last year, Francisco Liriano.
** I was going to do Prospect Status watches every Sunday, but Max Moroff and Jordan Luplow are the only ones on the team and who knows if either of them will be around for Tuesday’s game. The team could look exactly the same later tonight or be totally different. So I won’t bother mentioning that Moroff is still 58 at-bats short from graduating and Luplow has started his big league career 0-for-7 with a walk.
PIRATES GAME GRAPH
Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the San Diego Padres on Sunday evening by a 7-1 score. The Pirates have off today, as they travel home for a three-games series against the Cincinnati Reds, which begins an eight-game homestand. Jameson Taillon will go up against Homer Bailey in the opener.
In the minors, Bradenton was rained out yesterday, so they will play a doubleheader, with Mitch Keller getting the start in the first game. Logan Sendelbach is scheduled for game two and he has allowed two earned runs over his last 26.2 innings. The GCL Pirates are set to send Max Kranick to the mound, and he will likely be followed by Cody Bolton. After telling you all of that, I’ll note that the forecast for Bradenton is supposed to be rain all day, so neither of these teams might play.
Altoona is going with Brandon Waddell, who will try to use the last five weeks to make up for what has mostly been a lost season. His last start with Altoona came on June 4th. West Virginia has a doubleheader today, with Eduardo Vera scheduled for the first game. He ranks just outside the top ten in the SAL with his 3.18 ERA and his 1.13 WHIP. Indianapolis has off today.
MLB: Pittsburgh (51-54) vs Reds (42-63) 7:05 PM 8/1
Probable starter: Jameson Taillon (4.03 ERA, 25:73 BB/SO, 76.0 IP)
AAA: Indianapolis (59-49) @ Columbus (56-51) 7:05 PM 8/1 (season preview)
Probable starter: TBD
AA: Altoona (54-51) vs Erie (54-52) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Brandon Waddell (4.55 ERA, 14:28 BB/SO, 27.2 IP)
High-A: Bradenton (59-43) vs Palm Beach (57-45) 4:00 PM DH (season preview)
Probable starter: Mitch Keller (3.28 ERA, 20:60 BB/SO, 71.1 IP) and Logan Sendelbach (2.88 ERA, 16:40 BB/SO, 56.1 IP)
Low-A: West Virginia (47-54) @ Lexington (49-54) 5:35 PM DH (season preview)
Probable starter: Eduardo Vera (3.18 ERA, 10:73 BB/SO, 87.2 IP) and TBD
Short-Season A: Morgantown (23-15) @ Williamsport (21-16) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: TBD
Rookie: Bristol (9-29) @ Danville (19-19) 7:00 PM
GCL: Pirates (11-18) vs Yankees East (14-13) 12:00 PM
DSL: Pirates (26-22) vs Rangers1 (28-19) 10:30 AM (season preview)
Here are two highlights from Gift Ngoepe over the weekend. First is the rare offensive highlight.
Followed by the not so rare defensive highlight from him.
7/28: Jordan Luplow promoted to Pittsburgh Pirates. Edwin Espinal promoted to Indianapolis. Jordan George promoted to Altoona.
7/28: Austin Meadows assigned to GCL Pirates on rehab.
7/27: Logan Hill placed on disabled list. Justin Maffei assigned to Altoona.
7/27: Steven Brault optioned to Indianapolis.
7/25: Connor Joe activated from Altoona disabled list. Justin Maffei assigned to Indianapolis.
7/25: Jonathan Schwind assigned to Morgantown.
7/23: Adrian Valerio placed on disabled list. Andrew Walker assigned to West Virginia.
7/22: Gregory Polanco placed on the disabled list. Steven Brault recalled from Indianapolis.
7/22: Hector Garcia assigned to Morgantown on rehab.
THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY
Seven former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus 17 trades of note between 1987 and 2011. Also an impressive debut during a season the Pirates won the NL East. Because there are so many trades of note and they have all been covered before, I encourage you to check this link for the full rundown. I was going to copy and paste it, but it’s a long list.
First the game, and Tim Wakefield made his Major League debut on this date in 1992, defeating the Cardinals by a 3-2 score. He pitched a complete game, striking out ten batters. Wakefield threw 146 pitches, both runs were unearned and Barry Bonds hit a two-run homer. More on this game inside the link above, along with a boxscore.
The seven players born on this date include:
JJ Furmaniak, infielder for the 2005 club
Mike Bielecki, starting pitcher for the 1984-87 Pirates and the team’s first round pick in 1979.
Frank Brosseau, pitcher for the team in 1969 and 1971. Made one appearance during that World Series winning season.
Vic Davalillo, 1B/OF for the 1971-73 Pirates. Hit .285 in 99 games during the 1971 season.
Elmer Riddle, pitcher from 1948 until 1949. Won 12 games in 1948 and threw 191 innings, but a leg injury ruined his 1949 season. His brother Johnny was his teammate on the 1948 Pirates.
Erv Kantlehner, pitcher from 1914 until 1916. Threw a four-hit shutout in his pro debut, yet issued seven walks.
Joe Sugden, catcher from 1894 until 1897. Went nine seasons in a row without hitting a homer. Played in famous 1912 Tigers game, in which the team protested Ty Cobb’s suspension, so they filled out the lineup with amateurs and coaches. That game happened seven years after his Major League career ended. Tigers lost 24-2.