In his first two starts this spring training, Tyler Glasnow hasn’t walked a batter.
It’s a small sample-size so far, but something looks different about the former top prospect. He looks comfortable on the mound and is using his pitches to attack the strike zone which might come as a surprise to anyone who watched him pitch last year. If Glasnow keeps it up, the Pirates might have a good problem on their hands when it comes to the rotation. He might just force them to give him a spot.
Glasnow has shown a ton of improvement in many areas of his game. The first being his four seamer. His four seam fastball has always been his go to pitch throughout his time in the minors and majors, but until this year his velocity with it has steadily been 95 mph. This spring, he’s consistently hitting 100. Mixing that velocity spike with the control that he has shown in these two games is a deadly combination.
He has also impressed with his level-headedness. Take the Pirates 10-8 loss against the Orioles. After giving up a run-scoring double to Machado in the first and a homer to Rasmus in the second, the old Glasnow would have been fuming on the mound. In his time in the majors, he would always let his mistakes get to him. This year, he has a new approach: think of every inning as a reliever. He only thinks about getting out of the inning he’s in not the inning before or the inning after. He puts his mistakes behind him and just plays baseball. So when Glasnow came out for his third and final inning that game, he struck out three batters while only giving up a single. This new mindset looks to be huge for his success in the majors. If he doesn’t let his emotions get to him, his control will improve and we won’t have games where he falls apart after giving up a walk or a homer.
Probably the most exciting prospect of Glasnow’s spring training so far is his willingness to throw his changeup. For most of his minor and (albeit short) major league career glasnow has relied on his fastball and curve with lesser use of his slider. His fastball and curve have always been plus pitches, but if he wanted to stick, he had to develop a third on that level. Over the last two years, Glasnow has tried to implement his changeup as his third pitch, but he’s never looked comfortable throwing it and at times abandoned it completely if the game wasn’t going his way. Through spring training so far he’s thrown his changeup not only willingly but confidently. He himself said “I’m getting more comfortable with the changeup, I’m throwing it a lot more in bullpens and as the games progress and the innings go on that’s when you start to find other pitches” after the loss to the Orioles. Getting a third pitch has always been one of his goals. It looks like he may finally have it.
The rest of this year’s spring training is key for Glasnow’s future with the team. If he keeps up what he’s doing, the Pirates will have no choice but to start him. For the first time in his career, he looks like he’s actually ready to face the majors and not just a quad-A player. He’s faced some good bats so far in spring training and will face many more before it’s over. It’s up to him to prove that he can match up. It’s going to be an exciting few weeks in Bradenton. That’s for sure.
Photo Credit: Matt Freed/Post-Gazette