The Pittsburgh Pirates are set to promote yet another one of their top pitching prospects this week, this time being Tyler Glasnow. The 22-year old right-hander will make his major-league debut on Thursday against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Less than a month after promoting another top pitching prosepct in Jameson Taillon, the Pirates find themselves in need of another promotion from the farm. Taillon was just transferred to the 15-day disabled list with right shoulder fatigue. Taillon joins Gerrit Cole and Ryan Vogelsong who were already on the disabled list as well and won't be coming back until beyond the All-Star break.
Glasnow has spent the last calendar year with Triple-A Indianapolis. In his 137 innings at that level, Glasnow has allowed just 29 earned runs on 90 hits including four home runs. Glasnow's approach can get wild at times though. While he has superior swing-and-miss stuff, Glansow has struck out 161 batters, he has also allowed 74 walks.
Heading into the season, Glasnow was the eighth-best prospect in all of baseball by MLB.com's rankings and the second-best right-handed pitcher next to only Lucas Giolito. Scouts believe his fastball and curveball mix are definitely ready to face major league bats, though his command can become an issue at times.
Just at the halfway point of the season, it would be ill-advised to label the Pirates completely out of it. In third-place, the Pirates are 9.5 games back of the division-leading Chicago Cubs. As a team that was supposed to contend, the Pirates certainly face an uphill battle from their narrowly-above .500 record.
After having one of the best pitching staffs last season, the Pirates' starters have faded into obscurity this season, ranking third-worst in the National League by FIP. A total of 10 pitchers have made starts for the Pirates this season and Glasnow will make it 11. Compounding matters further, only Jeff Locke and Jon Niese have pitched more than 90 innings, and only Cole has been worth more than a win by FanGraphs' measure. Their next-closest candidate is Juan Nicasio, who has been converted to the bullpen. In short, the Pirates need pitching help, and Glasnow could help buoy a faltering team.