Column: Glasnow needed in Pittsburgh

Posted on Aug 3 2017 - 7:36pm by Joey Cinello
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After his demotion to Triple-A Indianapolis, Glasnow ran roughshod through MiLB bats. Dave Wegiel/Pinola Photography

PITTSBURGH —  23-year-old Tyler Glasnow opened 2017 by winning a spring training rotation battle over Steven Brault and Trevor Williams, raising hopes of a successful big league campaign. Needless to say, the 6-foot-8 Goliath stumbled early on in 12 MLB starts before ultimately receiving a demotion to Triple-A Indianapolis. Since then, Glasnow set the world on fire. And with the current losing wave the Pirates are riding, there’s no rhyme or reason the right-hander shouldn’t be back on the bump in Pittsburgh.

April 10, 2017, a fitting representation of Tyler Glasnow’s time with the Pirates early on. In 1.2 innings against the Cincinnati Reds, the highly touted prospect surrendered five runs, five walks and four hits. This start was also his first of the year, which seemingly set the tone for his next three months.

What led to Glasnow’s demise in the majors?

He couldn’t find the zone, walking 4.8 guys per nine innings. When he did find the plate — more often than not behind in the count — he missed over the heart of the dish, leading to 12.4 hits per nine innings against him.

However, there’s a new Glasnow emerging in the minors. His statistics are nothing short of dazzling —  6-0, 1.46 ERA, 31 hits, 24 walks and 85 strikeouts in 55.2 innings. One number rears its ugly head, though: 3.8 walks per nine innings during his most recent run with the Indians. A stat such as this pushes forth the point that Glasnow proved everything he can in the minors, and that it’s time to “sink or swim” in the majors.

“When he pitches with confidence — he’s not thinking about balls and strikes — he’s just thinking about making pitches,” said Stan Kyles, Triple-A Indy pitching coach.

A new outlook on attacking hitters and slight adjustment in his delivery are two key facets for his recent success.

“I made some changes when I got sent down. I looked at old video of my Bradenton days and Double-A days and went back to doing that,” Glasnow told media members. “I’m quicker, just moving everything much faster. I’m only in the stretch now.”

Yes, that right. Glasnow, unlike nearly every other starting pitcher in baseball, solely works from the stretch now.

Glasnow looked to get back to the basics in the minors, and it’s safe to say he’s doing just that so far.

“Get my stuff back, get my [arm] angle back,” said Glasnow of his key points. “I wasn’t the same guy up there that I was in the Minor Leagues.”

Currently, Glasnow’s next start is scheduled for Saturday against the Louisville Bats.

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Joe Cinello covers Pirates material for Pittsburgh Sports Castle. Connect with him on Facebook (Joey Cinello), Linkedin (Joseph Cinello) and Twitter (@JCinello).