I want to believe that Tyler Glasnow has figured it all out in Tampa.
I’m not really worried about the impact of how the Chris Archer trade looks, or how that would look for the Pirates if one of their former top prospects figured it out elsewhere. I’ve covered Glasnow long enough that I’d want to see him have success no matter what team he was with.
So when he got off to a hot start after 12 innings over three starts, I did what a lot of people did and thought that he might have seen a change. The Pirates traded Gerrit Cole away and he put up almost instant results as a top of the rotation guy, and now it looked like Glasnow was going to do the same thing.
I wanted that result from Glasnow, but remained just as skeptical as I would if I was still covering him in the system. I checked his stats on the same day that I broke down the latest hot streak from Trevor Williams and said that he would see regression again due to a severe lack of home runs, and an extremely lucky strand rate.
I looked at the numbers from Glasnow and saw a lot of similar red flags. There was an almost perfect strand rate, a suddenly extremely low BABIP, and a low amount of walks — something that doesn’t point to regression, but is a sudden overnight change from Glasnow. He was also seeing more strikeouts suddenly in Tampa, and working in the zone more often.
The problem was that I couldn’t find a reason that stood out for his success in a small sample size. Digging deeper into the numbers, he was doing everything he was doing in Pittsburgh. There was no change to the pitch usage like there was with Cole. He had stretches with the Pirates were he would sit in the zone that frequently, and they didn’t last. This wasn’t like Gerrit Cole. There was nothing that Tampa did that the Pirates overlooked.
I was set to write about Glasnow before his latest outing, but then Kevin Newman came up and rode the bench, so I pushed the Glasnow article back a day. In that time he put up a start that was more familiar to his time in Pittsburgh — 6.2 innings with five runs, four earned, on three hits, three walks, and four strikeouts. It was mostly the result of a bad first inning, but I don’t think it would fly to dismiss that for a Pirates pitcher, so you can’t dismiss it for Glasnow.
I’m not going to say that this one start means more than the previous three, because I don’t think the four of them combined mean much due to being such a small sample size. I cringed when I saw all of the articles about how he was fixed after 1-2 starts, and wouldn’t want to do the same here. But this one start could be a reminder that conclusions shouldn’t be drawn in such a small sample.
Glasnow turns 25 in a few days. He’s far from a guy who should be written off. He still has a ton of upside with his stuff, and there’s a reason the Rays wanted him and stuck him in the rotation immediately, rather than working him into their bullpen mix. He still has the chance to be a starter, and hopefully can get close to his upside.
The Rays added him with those hopes, but that’s not a change that will happen overnight. He’ll probably see some inconsistent results, and isn’t guaranteed to ever figure it out. I hope that he does, and feel that he’s in a better situation for that in Tampa, only because he’s got more time to work through the inconsistent outings without having to worry about being on a team that is immediately trying to contend (ironically, the Rays have a similar record to the Pirates right now, but their division and Wild Card races are a nightmare compared to the NL and NL Central).
If Glasnow does figure it out eventually, I have a feeling it will be more due to opportunity, rather than something the Pirates overlooked. It would be similar to Joe Musgrove having success with the Pirates as a starter so far, after not having success as a starter with the Astros. That’s what the Rays traded for, with hopes that Glasnow could finally figure it out with increased playing time.
The Pirates have an opportunity to do the same with some of their younger players at this point — both with inconsistent-so-far guys like Gregory Polanco, and with new guys like Kevin Newman. Perhaps they could have had a spot for Glasnow in the rotation as well, but that’s part of the cost to get a top talent like Chris Archer.
The key thing in this process is that sample size matters. A run of success in a small sample size doesn’t mean that a guy has figured it out for the long-term (which we’ve seen with Polanco a few times), and the first sign of struggles doesn’t completely undo the good results from the previous sample. Good or bad, you want to wait and see what the results are over the long-term before drawing any conclusions and figuring out how it happened.
The Pirates are in fourth place in their division, trailing by ten games with 38 games left on the schedule. They trail the second wild card team by six games.
Indianapolis is tied for first place with 15 games left in their schedule.
Altoona is in second place and trails by 1.5 games with 17 games left in their schedule. They lead the race for the second playoff spot by 3.5 games.
Bradenton is in sixth place and trails by 14.5 games with 15 games left in their schedule.
West Virginia is in fourth place and trails by 12.5 games with 17 games left in their schedule. They trail the second place team in the overall standings by 3.5 games and could make the playoffs if Lakewood wins the second half title and the Power finishes second.
Morgantown is in sixth place and they trail by 12 games with 16 games left in their schedule.
Bristol is in third place and trails by 4.5 games with 11 games left in their schedule. They trail the second place team, which also gets a playoff spot, by two games.
The GCL Pirates have been eliminated from the playoff race.
The DSL Pirates1 have been eliminated from the playoff race.
The DSL Pirates2 have been eliminated from the playoff race.
Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pittsburgh Pirates won 3-1 over the Chicago Cubs on Saturday night. Jameson Taillon will get the start today, coming off of his outing on August 14th when he gave up three runs over six innings against the Minnesota Twins. The Cubs will counter with left-hander Jose Quintana, who has a 4.46 ERA in 125 innings, with 110 strikeouts and a 1.38 WHIP. He has allowed five earned runs in each of his last two starts.
The minor league schedule includes Nick Kingham going for Indianapolis. In his last start, he threw four shutout innings before nine straight batters reached to start the fifth inning, with seven of them coming around to score. Altoona’s Dario Agrazal threw six shutout innings on Tuesday. West Virginia’s Travis MacGregor allowed one run over four innings in his last start ten days ago, while walking a career high four batters. Morgantown’s Alex Manasa allowed just one unearned run in his first 11 innings last week before allowing all five batters he faced to reach base (and score) in the sixth inning on Sunday. The GCL Pirates and DSL Pirates1/2 all have off today.
MLB: Pittsburgh (62-62) vs Cubs (71-51) 1:35 PM
Probable starter: Jameson Taillon (3.66 ERA, 123:36 SO/BB, 140.0 IP)
AAA: Indianapolis (67-58) @ Lehigh Valley (75-50) 1:35 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Nick Kingham (3.24 ERA, 54:16 SO/BB, 58.1 IP)
AA: Altoona (66-55) @ Portland (53-69) 1:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Dario Agrazal (2.54 ERA, 34:10 SO/BB, 63.2 IP)
High-A: Bradenton (52-65) @ Jupiter (65-56) 1:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Evan Piechota (5.57 ERA, 25:12 SO/BB, 42.0 IP)
Low-A: West Virginia (61-57) vs Charleston (57-64) 2:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Travis MacGregor (3.36 ERA, 74:20 SO/BB, 61.2 IP)
Short-Season A: Morgantown (23-37) vs Williamsport (25-33) 4:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Alex Manasa (4.48 ERA, 37:21 SO/BB, 60.1 IP)
Rookie: Bristol (27-30) vs Pulaski (29-28) 6:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: TBD (0.00 ERA, 0:0 SO/BB, 0.0 IP)
GCL: Pirates (23-23) vs Phillies West 12:00 PM 8/20 (season preview)
DSL: Pirates1 (29-36) vs Indians/Brewers 10:30 AM 8/20 (season preview)
DSL: Pirates2 (25-40) vs Royals2 10:30 AM 8/20 (season preview)
From Altoona, Bryan Reynolds hits his sixth home run of the season.
8/18: Stephen Alemais activated from the disabled list. Logan Ratledge placed on Altoona disabled list.
8/18: Manny Bejerano promoted to Morgantown.
8/18: Pat Dorrian promoted to Bristol.
8/17: Pirates sign Carlos Canache.
8/17: Sherten Apostel sent to Texas Rangers as the PTBNL in the Keone Kela trade.
8/16: Pirates recall Kevin Newman and Jordan Luplow. Jacob Stallings optioned to Indianapolis.
8/16: Jordy Mercer placed on disabled list.
8/16: Casey Sadler designated for assignment.
8/16: Brad Case promoted to Bristol.
8/15: Travis Swaggerty, Luke Mangieri and Connor Kaiser promoted to West Virginia.
8/15: Dylan Busby activated from West Virginia disabled list. Oneil Cruz placed on disabled list.
8/15: Montana DuRapau placed on disabled list.
8/15: Nick Burdi assigned to Indianapolis on rehab.
8/14: Pirates sign Johan Montero.
8/14: West Virginia assigns Ben Bengtson, Fabricio Macias and Kyle Watson to Morgantown.
8/14: Bligh Madris placed on disabled list. Justin Harrer promoted to Bradenton.
8/14: Shane Baz traded as the player to be named later to the Rays.
8/13: AJ Schugel assigned to Indianapolis on rehab.
8/13: Jackson Williams activated from Indianapolis disabled list.
8/12: Miami Marlins acquire Christopher Bostick for cash.
8/12: Pirates recall Jacob Stallings. Option Jordan Luplow.
8/12: Stephen Alemais placed on the DL. Jin-De Jhang added to Altoona roster.
8/11: Pirates recall Michael Feliz and Buddy Boshers. Clay Holmes and Casey Sadler optioned to Indianapolis.
8/11: Jin-De Jhang placed on temporary inactive list.
8/10: Pirates recall Clay Holmes. Option Dovydas Neverauskas to Indianapolis.
8/10: Afredo Reyes assigned to Altoona. Dylan Busby assigned to Bristol.
THIS DATE IN PIRATES HISTORY
Three former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus three trades of note. Starting with the transactions, we have one that helped the 1909 World Series team. The Pirates gave up infielders Alan Storke and Jap Barbeau for third baseman Bobby Byrne. The Pirates got Byrne for his strong defense at third base, but he was also a better hitter than either player they gave up. He scored five runs during the World Series and stuck around in Pittsburgh until 1913.
In 1983, the Pirates traded catcher Steve Nicosia to the San Francisco Giants in exchange for catcher Milt May, who was a former Pirates player. Nicosia asked for a trade because he wasn’t happy about the limited playing time he was getting behind Tony Pena.
In 1988, the Pirates traded 1B/OF Mike Diaz for outfielder Gary Redus, who played on all three pennant winners from 1990-1992, spending most of his time at first base.
Players born on this date include:
Britt Reames, 2006 pitcher. Spent most of the season in the minors, getting into six games in August.
Terry Harper, 1987 outfielder. Was acquired in late June from the Detroit Tigers for two minor league players. Hit .288 in 36 games, seeing time at both corner outfield spots.
Ike McAuley, 1914-16 shortstop. Played a total of 24 games during his three seasons, occasionally taking the place of Honus Wagner, while Wagner also played third base a few times with McAuley in the lineup.